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Altoona high schoolers stage walkout

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Several Altoona High School students staged a walkout Tuesday protesting Altoona School District’s decision to return to in-person learning four days per week.

Iris Adams, an Altoona High School senior, helped organized the walkout. She said students are afraid of getting COVID-19 at school now.

She said she also feels their concerns are falling on deaf ears. Adams and several other students sent letters to Altoona School Board members outlining their concerns with returning everyone to school.

“We are high schoolers,” she said. “We are leaving public schools to go into the workforce or to go to college and be immersed in our community, like individually as our own person. We can have an opinion that is valued.”

Students sat on the school’s front lawn outside its Seventh St. entrance for about 20 minutes before returning to class.

Tuesday was the high school’s first day of the new in-person learning system. All students will be in school Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. They’ll still attend school virtually on Wednesdays.

Previously, students were broken into two groups. Each group attended in-person classes two days per week.

“Today was the first day I walked in with every student in the building and a lot of my classes felt really weird,” Adams said. “It was a weird felling to have that many people in a room together in such a close quarter. It definitely doesn’t feel right to have everybody back like this.”

The district said school board members received a substantial number of emails before their March 15 meeting when they decided to return to in-person learning four days per week starting Tuesday. More emails supported returning to in-person learning than opposed it. The district also put a survey on its website. While 52.8 percent of respondents preferred the old hybrid model, the district received reports people answered multiple times. School board members then decided to ignore the survey.

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