Update: Madison school officials now say they intend to resume in-person learning Monday, January 10, unless COVID spread and staff shortages significantly worsen. Click here for the updated story.
Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is delaying its return from winter break, and return to virtual learning at all grade levels, with virtual instruction beginning Thursday, January 6, according to a school district press release issued Thursday.
School was scheduled to resume in person on Monday, January 3.
All MMSD staff will return to their work spaces, schedule, and routines on Monday, January 3. The release did not specify when in-person instruction would resume.
“Recently, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has fueled a steep upward trajectory in positive Dane County cases,” the district release says. “Currently, total case counts are doubling at the alarming rate of every two days. Local and national health experts are forecasting COVID-19 cases to continue climbing, peaking in mid-to-late January. This increase in cases will further amplify the district’s already critical level of staff shortages.”
“There are no ‘easy’ decisions relative to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendent Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins said in a statement. “We recognize this decision will have a significant impact on our families, especially single parents and essential workers. However, we will continue to leverage our resources to support our families and ensure their safety and wellbeing.”
“Understanding the social, emotional and mental health benefits of remaining in-person has made this decision incredibly difficult,” Jenkins said. “It has always been our preference to have students learning in-person, in the classroom. Our ultimate responsibility is to ensure our return to school buildings for in-person instruction after winter break will be done in a safe and sustainable manner.”
COVID infections are setting records in Wisconsin and across the United States, with more than 1,000 new cases confirmed in Dane County just today.