Multiple Wisconsin school districts on Monday announced a return to remote learning for students, citing a spike in positive coronavirus cases.
School systems in two of the state’s largest cities, Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), detailed that students will be forced to learn from computer screens when the new semester begins.
“Due to an influx of reported positive COVID-19 cases among district staff, as an emergency safety measure it is necessary for all MPS schools to transition to virtual learning beginning Tuesday, January 4, 2022. All district staff that are not in quarantine in accordance with MPS COVID-19 protocol are expected to report to their work location,” MPS Superintendent Keith Posley explained in a letter to parents.
In addition to the transition to virtual learning, Madison Metropolitan School District will push back the beginning of their semester, which will now start on January 6.
“Recently, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has fueled a steep upward trajectory in positive Dane County cases. Currently, total case counts are doubling at the alarming rate of every two days. Local and national health experts are forecasting COVID-19 case counts will continue to climb, peaking in mid-to-late January. This increase in cases will further amplify critical staff shortages locally and nationwide,” claimed MMSD Superintendent Carlton Jenkins.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the harmful impact of remote learning on students. One survey from McKinsey and Company noted that minority students were affected the most during the first wave of online learning.
In Wisconsin, standardized test and proficiency scores dropped significantly over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Consistent with national trends, proficiency rates in ELA (32 percent) and mathematics (31 percent) decreased statewide among enrolled public and Choice school students,” explained a release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
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