With the number of COVID-19 infections rising, and more students and staff in quarantine due to close contact with infected persons, School District of Rhinelander superintendent Eric Burke announced Wednesday that Crescent Elementary will shift to 100 percent virtual learning for a period of two weeks.
The move came one day after Crescent principal Gayle Daniel announced in a letter to parents that another "positive COVID test of a Crescent friend" had led to "additional staff and students having to quarantine, including myself."
According to the letter, discussions between SDR administration, Daniel, and assistant principal Alex Bontz included closing the school "for a time period."
"However, we decided it was in the best interest of our Crescent students and families to continue in-person learning," Daniel said in the letter. "We, along with the support of our SDR district leadership team, were able to develop a plan to fill staffing needs with multiple district personnel."
Burke said the decision to reverse course, close the school and shift to virtual learning was made due to increasing difficulty in finding substitute teachers.
"We had just reached our capacity to fill holes," he said.
As off Wednesday morning, 33 Crescent students, 3 teachers and 5 staff members were in quarantine.
Districtwide, 72 students, 4 teachers and 5 staff had been placed in quarantine, according to numbers supplied by Burke.
"It's hard to tell where exactly staff and students pick up the virus, but it's important that we're all in this together with the distancing and wearing face coverings and washing their hands and practicing proper hygiene," Burke noted. "That goes for school and it goes for our community."
According to Burke, arrangements were to be made so all necessary materials are sent home for the switch to virtual education.
Burke said Crescent students will return to their school building on Nov. 2.
"We're just going to take it one day at a time," he said. "I'm just glad that all the other buildings are doing good. We're hoping it stays that way."
Jamie Taylor may be reached at email@example.com.
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