La Crosse School District delays restart of in-person elementary classes

Local News

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The School District of La Crosse has not held in-person classes since March. That was set to change next Monday for elementary students. However, as First News at Nine’s Hayley Spitler explains the ongoing case surge and rise in death toll for La Crosse is keeping things virtual.

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

Superintendent Dr. Aaron 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.

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

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.

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

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

Dr. Robert Freedland, La Crosse Doctor said, “La Crosse County, I believe, is the second worst county in the state of Wisconsin per capita of cases of COVID-19.”

While elementary age students typically do not experience severe illness, La Crosse Doctor Robert 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, and their parents might be working in an assisted living facility,” said Freedland.

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

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. The families that are facing economic consequences for not being able to work,” said Engel.

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

In La Crosse, Hayley Spitler, First News at Nine.

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