Racine Schools Will Start Year Online

Racine Schools Will Start Year Online



By Jonathon Sadowski

July 24, 2020

Wisconsin’s fifth-largest school district follows the lead of Milwaukee and Madison.

All students in the Racine Unified School District, the state’s fifth-largest, will start school online this year, the district announced Friday.

The district’s roughly 18,000 students will be online through at least Nov. 6, the end of the first quarter, according to a press release. More than 150 district administrators, teachers, and community members, had been developing a plan since May, and the district solicited further input from parents and staff, the release said.

“The decision was not made lightly,” according to the district. Plans for the second quarter will be revealed no by Oct. 19.

Like many things regarding the pandemic, the topic of reopening schools has become a political flashpoint. Many Repubican lawmakers have followed President Donald Trump’s lead in pushing for schools to open quickly, despite the many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus’ effect on children. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, proposed reopening schools in a measured approach and providing them with $30 billion in funding to help fund safety improvements and personal protective equipment purchases.

Racine’s announcement is the latest as school districts across Wisconsin face the reckoning that the coronavirus pandemic will not subside — and perhaps may not even slow — by the time school resumes. The Madison and Milwaukee public school districts decided earlier this month that they would start the year online in the interest of public health, and other districts are considering the same as teachers push for a virtual start along with many parents.

“We know that face-to-face learning is best for our students,” Racine Unified Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien said in a statement. “And we’re committed to doing so when we know it is a safe decision. In the meantime, we are committed to providing a robust remote learning experience for every student.”

Teachers and school staff will still go to their schools and work from their classrooms, the district said, but students will be learning from home on “a defined schedule.”

Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany, who was elected to Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District seat in spring, introduced a bill in June that would federally defund schools that don’t reopen for full in-person learning.

The Centers for Disease Control, in updated guidelines for sending kids back to school, acknowledges that early research suggests the virus poses less of a threat to children and they are less susceptible to catching and spreading it. However, the CDC goes on to note that the research on COVID-19 in children so far is “relatively limited.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push for schools to reopen regardless of the risk was “dereliction of duty.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany inflamed matters again last week when she said “science should not stand in the way of” schools reopening


CATEGORIES: Coronavirus | Education


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