LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Virtual education hasn’t been easy for a lot of teachers, but as First News at Nine’s David LaClair reports, one foundation is giving back to those continuing to stay committed to their students throughout the pandemic.

The hallways at Logan Middle School are empty, but teachers are still hard at work keeping classes going virtually, and as a gift of thanks, the La Crosse Public Education Foundation presented a special thank-a-teacher care box of healthy snacks and fruit to staff on Thursday morning.

Brad Quarberg, La Crosse Board of Education member & Public Education Foundation Board member, said, “Typically, we recognize teachers on thank-a-teacher day in May, but that wasn’t able to happen this year because of the pandemic setting in.”

And with in-person learning postponed through the rest of 2020, the foundation looks to especially acknowledge faculty efforts to stay strong and hard at work.

Dr. Aaron Engel, School District of La Crosse Superintendent, said, “It’s a new way of teaching that we have not had a lot of practice with before this year, so it’s been a real learning curve for a lot of folks. At the same time, I am incredibly impressed by the hard work of our staff, and the resilience of our students and our families.”

Jesse Martinez, Logan 7th grade teacher said, “It’s been a real challenge to figure out how to take an entire curriculum we are always changing and evolving when we’re in person, and then not only change and evolve it to make it better, but change and evolve it to make it work for a virtual setting.”

As much as the staff here at Logan Middle School wants kids to be safe, that doesn’t change how much they miss their students.

Amber Erickson, Logan Middle School Principal, said, “They mean the world to us. We go into this profession because we want to be able to see our students each and every day, but we know we have the support from everyone in the community.”

“You can’t do group work like you’d normally do; you can’t do team games like you usually do,” said Martinez.

We’re into this together, and we’re going to get through it,” said Quarberg.

Engel said, “We’ve really figured out a lot of things out this year, and I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the quality of the teaching and the opportunities for learning for our students.”

The snacks were purchased through a grant set up by a retired La Crosse teacher, which have been distributed to all 15 schools in the district.

In La Crosse, David LaClair, First News at Nine.