WAUNAKEE (WKOW) — Cases of COVID-19 are rising in Dane County children, and that’s a concern for schools and parents. But one Waunakee mom said she doesn’t think the school district has a thorough plan to support kids who miss class because of COVID-19 symptoms.
Friday, the Waunakee Community School District sent a letter to parents detailing a number of cases where a student tested positive for COVID-19 after being at school with allergy-like symptoms.
“If your child has any symptoms that are out of the normal or a
new symptom, or if your child does not feel well, even if not bad enough to impact the ability to attend school, we need you to please keep your child home for a few days,” the letter said.
Alyssa Feidt said she’s more than willing to comply, but she’s worried about her third-grade son missing classroom instruction while he stays home.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get my kid educated and keep him safe at the same time,” she said. “I feel like we’re being asked to choose one or the other in a lot of cases, and I’m just not okay with that.”
Feidt told 27 News she had previously spoken with district administrators about the possibility of her son joining his regular classroom via Zoom if he were to miss school because of COVID-19 concerns.
She said his teachers were willing to do that but district administrators said no.
“I don’t feel like they at all cared,” she said. “It was a lot of arguing a lot of ‘We can’t do this because, you know, it’s too much work to have teachers Zoom kids in and have kids flip flopping’.”
WCSD said in an FAQ document sent to families that students who miss class due to COVID-19 will receive makeup work in the same way as students who miss school for extended periods because of other health reasons.
Anne Blackburn, the district’s communication and engagement specialist, provided more details in an email Saturday night.
“As our elementary classes are not teaching concurrently, it is not automatic that an absent student will Zoom into their in-person classroom,” she said. “The classroom teacher and the family work together on a case-by-case basis to create a learning plan for the missed time in class.”
She said previous plans have included options like joining a remote classroom, viewing recorded lessons, completing asynchronous work, and live streaming lessons.
Feidt said she wants what’s best for her son and she thinks that’s having the option to join his regular teacher and regular class.
“The times that Liam has been able to Zoom in and be a part of his class [have] made a huge difference in his ability to function and do well,” she said. “I mean, way better than them sending work home or him just trying to catch up when he goes back.”
Blackburn said middle and high school students who miss class can “easily Zoom into the classroom” because the learning model for older grades includes concurrent teaching, where each classroom already includes virtual and in-person students.