Madison, WI – Amid reports that some school districts are moving to cancel all in-person instruction, state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R – 20th Senate District) urged school leaders to declare teachers to be “essential workers.”

“It is important that we not lose yet another year of educational instruction,” Stroebel said. “Declaring teachers to be ‘essential workers’ would be a good way for school boards and administrators to manage the expectations of staff and parents. We need school staff to demonstrate the same commitment our communities have seen from first responders and healthcare professionals.”

One school district in the 20th Senate District, Hartford Joint 1, has seen enough of an uptick in staff testing positive for COVID that it has suspended in-person instruction entirely for the next month. While 17 staff members are currently positive for COVID, only 8 students are currently positive for the coronavirus according to the district’s website.

“The district told my office that they are struggling to keep staff on the job, with over 40 staff absent on any given day due to various types of leave and vacation, not to mention the 17 who are obviously working to get well from the coronavirus. Shutting down in-person instruction makes it difficult for parents and students to consistently plan for and work through this school year,” Stroebel said. “By declaring teachers to be ‘essential workers’ it is my hope that district administrators and school boards will implement the necessary personnel policies to ensure that our state’s children receive the high quality instruction they deserve.”

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