MENOMONIE (WQOW) – This unique school year has changed the way teachers do a lot of things: conduct lessons, set up their classrooms, and now, even monitor for signs of child abuse or neglect over virtual schooling.
Director of Student Services for the Menomonie Area School District, Tonia Kowieski, said the district recently met with staff to discuss what to watch out for, even through a computer screen.
Behavior such as not wanting to turn on a camera, complaining about being hungry, or being unusually absent from class could potentially all be red flags of abuse or neglect.
Kowieski said virtual learning has made the reporting of these signs easier in some ways and harder in others.
“It has made in some cases may be easier to know what is actually happening in the home but in some cases, I think it’s harder because when a student comes in-person, a school allows for that child to have some confidentiality,” she said.
Kowieski said about 14 percent of the students in the district have chosen to learn virtually while the rest are attending in-person classes five days a week.