Safer At Home McFarland
According to the most recent data provided by The New York Times, yesterday, on December 21, Dane county diagnosed 136 new cases of COVID-19. On the same day, the McFarland School Board voted in a 4-1 decision to allow students from grades 6-12 to begin the transition towards hybrid, in-person instruction beginning in late February of 2021. This incredibly important and impactful decision has arrived in the midst of a surge in cases of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In-person learning, at this point of the viral spread and in following the current plans being outlined, not only has the potential to raise safety concerns for students and educators, but may also have a significant impact on the typical school day. The school schedule, under these outlined plans, will be far from the “normalcy” we knew in March, and will place unreasonable pressure upon educators to shift plans quickly and completely. Increased exposure as a result of a return to in-person class also places intense risk upon students with preexisting conditions or disabilities, and thus presents a threat to equity in our school district. As community members being directly impacted by the decision - students and educators - we come together in this moment to take a stand against it.
We are asking that the decision to move to hybrid learning be revisited immediately, and that any consideration of in-person learning be postponed until the average number of new cases is in line with the original guiding metrics established at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Based upon these original metrics developed for our county, we are currently not in a position to return. We feel that it is important to return to school only when our safety can be prioritized by these original measurable and reasonable metrics that fundamentally keep our students, hard-working educators, staff, and McFarland community, safe.