Why Neenah is bringing some students back for in-person classes but not others

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:39 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 8:21 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - After many school districts went virtual because of the growing number of COVID-19 cases, some are preparing to return to in-person learning. This includes the Neenah Joint School District, which made the announcement Thursday.

The status of Neenah High School is still unclear. It will continue to be virtual for at least two more weeks, but all the other schools will hold classes on-site starting Monday, Oct. 19.

Even though the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus continues to go up in the community, school officials say their own numbers are showing some improvement.

“What we found is the younger students, the numbers have gone down, which is what we were hoping for when we took two weeks off online, but for the older students at the high school level, it did not happen and maybe they were still gathering or just other factors," Jim Strick, communications manager for the school district, said.

Which is why elementary schools will resume in-person learning five days a week, and so will Horace Mann Middle School. However, Shattuck will employ a hybrid model of in-person and online learning at least for the time being. A letter to parents advised, “Shattuck students whose last names start with letters A-K will attend school on October 20, 22, 23, 27 and 30. Shattuck students whose last names start with letters L-Z will attend school on October 19, 21, 26, 28 and 29.”

Back in September, the school board passed a resolution asking the community to do their part for preventing the spread of COVID-19 to avoid this type of scenario.

“We’re basically making these decisions on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis," Strick said.

“We don’t want to have kids bouncing back and forth. It’s tough for families. It’s tough for everybody when you’re doing that," he continued, “but at the same time we have to look at the numbers. We have to keep kids safe as possible, keep our staff as safe as possible, and we’re trying to make the best decisions we can every week.”

The high school will continue virtual learning at least through Friday, Oct. 30. The district says it will make a decision on Oct. 29 whether to allow high school students back in the building.

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