KENOSHA ⏤ The Kenosha Unified School District will remain open, sticking to its own return plan for the pandemic.

The letter sent to families and teachers by KUSD officials explaining the district’s decision. Image Courtesy: Screenshot.

In a letter to KUSD families this week obtained by the Observer, the district states that, while officials understand the premise of the recent recommendation by the Kenosha County Division of Health to switch to virtual-only learning, it plans to “uphold the district’s Return 2020 plan.”

“This allows us to continue handling each building’s impact on a case-by-case basis as it relates to our outlined thresholds,” the letter, signed by superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis and KUSD Board President Tom Duncan, states.

Thresholds

According to the email, those thresholds include:

  • Greater than 3 percent positive cases in a school within the last 14 days; 
  • A significant community outbreak is occurring or has recently occurred and is impacting multiple staff, students and families served by the community such as KCDH directs (note: emphasis KUSD’s) KUSD to close buildings;
  • And staff absences, due to individuals personally testing positive or being required to self-quarantine as a close contact, reach a level that has the potential to compromise the safety or fidelity of the learning environment.
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188 positives since Sept. 14

The letter goes on to highlight that since Sept. 14, KUSD has had a total of 188 positive cases reported for in-person staff and students. The districts highlights this equates to approximately 1.5 percent of the entire in-person population.

“Furthermore, a majority of the reported positives are staff members who have contracted the virus outside (note: emphasis KUSD’s) of our schools, which indicates that our comprehensive mitigation efforts are working to prevent spread within our buildings,” the district said in its email.

These efforts include classwide quarantines surrounding a positive; additional close contact quarantines; transitions to all virtual when impact is too great; and a districtwide mask mandate.

District statement challenged by teacher

A KUSD staff member took the district to task on Tuesday over perceived lies in its statement to families and teachers.

She particularly took issue with the district saying teachers were contracting the coronavirus outside of school property.

“I’ve never been so ashamed to work for KUSD,” she wrote. “They state teachers are contracting the virus outside of school due to their stellar ‘mitigation’ efforts. They are lying. I tested positive after coming in contact with a positive student. I notified them immediately. 

“It took them ONE WEEK to quarantine my classes and colleagues. My emails to school board members have gone unanswered.” 

‘Blatantly ignoring’ guidelines

The teacher alleges that the district is “blatantly ignoring health department guidelines.”

“Now my whole house has Covid,” she wrote. “Im (sic) out on an emergency leave I had to apply for in order to care for my family after I spent 10 days teaching from home while sick. I’m supposed to be scared to voice my opinion as an employee out of fear of repercussions. 

“I come from a family that taught us never to fear speaking the truth.”

KUSD staff member

People had shared her post 94 times on Facebook as of Wednesday morning. 

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...