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G-E-T High School moves to virtual learning after faculty member tests positive

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:14 PM CDT
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GALESVILLE, Wis. (WEAU) -

The 400 G-E-T High School students won’t be walking through the schools' doors the next three weeks.

Instead, they’re learning virtually after two students and one faculty member tested positive for COVID-19.

Families were notified last Thursday of the switch and teachers reached out to students with plans to fully start on Tuesday.

“[The schedule is] instruction all morning with a very specific schedule and then in the afternoon they have work time, but they also can make appointments and teachers can reach out to students through office hours,” said G-E-T District Administrator Michele Butler.

The district was prepared to move virtually with a schedule in place from day one.

Over the summer, every faculty member was taught the same virtual platform to make things easier on students.

District Administrator Michele Butler says that in some respect the high schoolers are serving as guinea pigs.

“If it happens at the middle school or it happens at the elementary schools we’re ready to make it happen real quickly,” Butler added. “We don’t want it to though, we want to keep those kids in-person.”

While the high school only had three confirmed COVID-19 cases, it’s the contact tracing process that left the school short-handed.

“As the contact tracing happens even though you don’t have a lot of positive cases that kind of balloons out real fast and when it’s staff and it balloons out real fast there is no way to cover that many teachers with substitutes for the duration,” Butler explained.

Even before COVID-19 the G-E-T School District, like many others, were experiencing a shortage in substitute teachers.

“With COVID some of our substitute teachers are in that population, that demographic, that are at higher risk,” Butler said. “So, some of them aren’t feeling comfortable coming back, so it makes that small sub pool even smaller.”

The district which has around 1,400 students has spent almost $30,000 on plexiglass this year to keep everyone safe.

Teachers wear face shields, elementary and middle school students have been placed in cohorts and cleaning takes place throughout the day.

G-E-T plans to welcome back high schoolers in-person October 5.

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