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School District of La Crosse postpones in-person learning

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 6:01 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -

“We want to get students back in-person as soon as possible, says Dr. Aaron Engel, School District of La Crosse superintendent. "We know that most of our students learn best through in-person learning.”

Dr. Engel says School District of La Crosse students are no longer returning October 26--the date elementary students planned to start in-person classes for at least two weeks.

“The trajectory of cases was declining since October 1st, almost 14-15 days,” said Dr. Engel.

However, cases are no longer declining.

In the last three weeks, the La Crosse County Health Department says the death toll in the county due to COVID-19 has risen to 19.

“The cases in our college-age students led almost directly to cases in our nursing homes and led to significant deaths,” Dr. Engel added.

Health experts say 79 local patients are currently hospitalized because of the virus.

“La Crosse County, I believe, is the second worst county in the state of Wisconsin per capita of cases of COVID,” said Dr. Robert Freedland of La Crosse.

While elementary age students typically do not experience severe illness, Dr. Freedland explains they can unknowingly spread the virus.

“They get their teachers sick, they get the janitors sick or they come home and get their parents sick," explained Dr. Freedland. “Their parents might be working in an assisted living facility.”

“We have a responsibility to more than just our students and our staff, we have responsibility to our community,” Dr. Engel said.

The district understands this is frustrating for families as it leads to unfortunate impacts for many.

“There are students that may not be able to get a regular meal, there are students that are facing abuse and neglect at home and they don’t have a trusted adult to talk to," explained Dr. Engel. "[There are] families that are facing economic consequences for not being able to work.”

Dr. Engel reminds the community social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks can help when it comes to getting back in the classroom.

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