Wisconsin’s coronavirus crisis has some public school teachers demanding the state take action.
Teachers unions from the state’s largest cities want the state Department of Health Services to order all K-12 schools, colleges and universities move to virtual instruction until community spread of the virus is contained.
Amy Mizialko, President of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, spoke at a press conference in downtown Madison on Wednesday.
Yesterday Kenosha school board discussed whether cheerleaders & fans would be allowed to participate in sporting events. Yesterday in WI, 17 people were reported to have died of COVID19… pic.twitter.com/B81G50YUqf
— MTEA (@MTEAunion) September 30, 2020
“We’re here this afternoon calling on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to do their job, and protect Wisconsinites, protect our students, protect our educators, protect our families. Wisconsin has reached out of control, uncontained, exponential spread.”
The MTEA’s Ben Ward noted that Madison and Milwaukee schools are already doing all virtual learning.
“But we have school districts all over the state . . . where educators are forced to work in person, despite numerous cases. Now, a death of an educator here in Wisconsin.
Mizialko noted that large gatherings in poorly ventilated spaces are being discouraged.
“I just want to be clear. Gathering in large groups in poorly ventilated spaces is unsafe, and the governor has asked us not to do that. Please understand that going to school is gathering in large groups, in a poorly ventilated space.”
The request comes the day after Wisconsin’s chief medical officer said the state is in a crisis with the pandemic, and two weeks after a teacher at a northeast Wisconsin high school died due to coronavirus. The family of Heidi Husli, a teacher Bay Port High School in Brown County, believes she contracted the virus while attending a funeral rather than in a classroom.
Governor Tony Evers and DHS Secretary designee Andrea Palm have said that the decision on whether to hold in person classes rests with Wisconsin’s local school districts.