LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The School District of La Crosse announced Wednesday that they are extending virtual learning for students through the end of the first semester in January 2021.
The district's webpage on reopening schools outlines the reasoning behind the decision. It comes down to the increased spread of COVID-19 cases in the community.
"Weekly case rates and the percent positive test rates continue to rise week over week. They are at the highest levels they have been since the spike in cases related to the return of college students to our area. Cases now are not confined to a single population and community spread is significantly impacting our long-term health care facilities and hospital capacities. With positive test ratios at nearly 30%, it is clear that COVID-19 is present throughout our community and anytime people gather there is a near certainty that the virus is present," the district said.
They also said that they anticipate many plan family gatherings, especially during the holidays. Those gatherings, they said, have been shown to increase transmission of COVID-19. It will lead to continued high rates of the virus in the community according to the district. It was one of the factors behind the decision to extend virtual learning until after the new year.
The website later stated that while the district is committed to returning students to the classroom, "we have yet to identify a model that would allow us to safely mitigate the risks at current levels in our community."
The district cited figures from the La Crosse County Health Department's Wednesday update which showed that all the primary and secondary metrics used by the district were in the red.
They also said that between October 26 and November 1, the district saw 11 positive cases and 22 close contacts of positive cases between students and staff. To date, the district said they've had 33 positive cases and 63 close contacts. There are also ten active cases in the district.