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Teachers unions urge Wisconsin governor to move classes online in the fall

Gov. Tony Evers had previously stated he supports classes beginning in-person instruction in the fall.

The largest teachers unions in Wisconsin are urging the governor and state officials to keep schools online in the fall.

Representatives from unions in Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine penned a letter to Gov. Tony Evers, Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm State Superintendent Stanford Taylor.

The letter points to risks associated with sending children back to school in a state with looser COVID-19 restrictions than many others in the country. It also points to the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color.

“… As districts serving majority populations of students and families of color, we cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of illness and death that COVID-19 has had on Black and Brown communities,” the letter reads.

The letter also cites guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that online classes pose the lowest risk for COVID-19 transmission. Schools that do open should avoid large groups of students through hybrid class models or staggered schedules to lower the risk, according to the CDC.

Evers recently said he’s optimistic about reopening schools come fall, according to FOX 11 in Green Bay. He said school districts should use public health guidance to craft their own plans, which could include both in-person and virtual learning.

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Schools in Madison have already announced plans to start the school year completely online.

After deep consideration of all of these factors, we have determined that it would not be safe for us to reopen school buildings in September, even in a hybrid model,” a July 17 announcement from Madison Metropolitan School District Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore read. 

Across the border in Minnesota, guidance for schools is expected to be issued by July 27 at the latest.

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