Op-ed: The KUSD Conundrum | Local News I Racine County Eye

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) reported Monday January 10th that 21 schools (and the Educational Support Center) in the Kenosha Unified School District have switched to virtual learning since the beginning of the year.

On Monday afternoon, the KUSD COVID dashboard showed that 14 more schools had reached the 3 percent threshold for positive COVID-19 cases in the general school population since Friday, January 7th.

KUSD grossly mishandled its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to appease those with the angryest voices. Instead of taking a strong position on the side of science, they chose to ignore what experts say, which has contributed to the amazing numbers we are now seeing in our community.

The school council meets

The KUSD School Committee held an emergency meeting on Jan. 3 to discuss student / staff safety and how the district would proceed in light of the growing number of Kenoshan people who test positive for COVID-19 .

Community members spoke with passion and fervor about whether students should be virtual or in person. Brenda Dahl, a mother of two KUSD students from Pleasant Prairie, questioned the safety measures KUSD proposed last school year, particularly for improved ventilation systems and the provision of appropriate masks in schools, such as the N95 masks.

“I have to say that it is difficult for parents to have confidence in Kenosha Unified when many of the security measures in our district have been ignored,” said Dahl. “As far as I know, there are no plans to modernize the ventilation systems at any school. The COVID dashboard is extremely difficult to interpret and not always up to date. There are no quick test kits in the schools and no KN95 masks that I know of that are easily available in our schools. “

These questions went unanswered. Dahl asked the school board to vote for virtual learning under the current circumstances. Should this not be possible, she asked that families with a high number of cases be given a virtual option. After completing the public comment section, the school board did not have any discussion of these concerns. They didn’t seem to have any other thoughts than the ones they already had in mind.

Dahl also spoke, as she put it, for the people who may not be heard due to the backlash from the highly volatile topic. Many parents have been ridiculed for their choice to adhere to CDC recommended guidelines for their families – including KUSD students – throughout the pandemic. She reminded school authorities that “the loudest voices are not always a majority of the votes.”

Other parents also gave their opinion. Some spoke of the need for personal learning while others cited the need to socialize adolescents for mental health. One claimed that masks suffocate children, while another spoke of the inefficiency of masks. However, another parent emphasized their opinion that virtual learning does not work and that families are being forced to change their schedules and lives to adapt to home learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic in January 2022

While the pandemic has shown many things to our society, it has shown that most of the points above apply to varying degrees. Masks don’t suffocate people. However, they are ineffective if not worn properly.

The facts remain. SARS-CoV2 is still there. It has the potential to harm, hospital, and even kill young and old alike. And with the advent of the Omicron variant, there is much less distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

For those infected with the virus in this new form, the Omicron variant has proven to be far less dangerous. This is typical of the evolution of a virus. However, as a virus continues to evolve, it has the ability to learn to better fight our immune responses, which allows for more dangerous infection. There is still a wealth of unknowns about this virus; As a society, we should treat it as such.

Stunning numbers

On January 7th, the KUSD COVID dashboard showed the following breakdown of data from its schools. Knowing how many schools – nine – were already at 3% or more, as well as those approaching the threshold, the school council voted to keep the schools open despite warnings from the CDC and WHS.

January 7, 2022 – Credit: Kenosha Unified School District Website COVID-19 Dashboard

In comparison, the following image shows the dashboard for January 12th. Schools (including the ESC) that were at or above 3% soared in just five days, from nine to 34.

January 12, 2022 –

The decision to keep schools open for the first week after a major vacation break when it was widely known families would meet, despite warnings from leading experts, only made our situation worse.

The more the public struggles with experts, the more people spread misinformation, the longer the pandemic will continue to rage. The Wisconsin Department of Health tweeted Tuesday: 150% increase in confirmed cases over a two week period.

So what can we do Get a vaccine and a refresher. Not because someone is telling you that it is a magic shot that will keep you COVID-free, because that is incorrect. No vaccine is 100% effective. The vaccine is said to boost immunity, but it also gives us a much better chance of fighting in the event of an infection.

Wearing a mask, even if vaccinated, is important not for the person wearing the mask, but for those around them. Despite being vaccinated, we can still breathe the virus. When the virus is unable to attach to vaccinated tissue, it continues to circulate when you exhale. There is a possibility of transmitting COVID-19 to others, possibly without becoming infected yourself.

The Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens is committed to providing the most current and accurate information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in our Coronavirus section. Check out both the Racine County COVID-19 Dashboard and the Kenosha County COVID-19 Dashboard, which provides real-time statistical reports (updated Monday through Friday) for Racine and Kenosha counties.

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