OCONTO, Wis. (WFRV) – The Oconto Unified School District joins the many other Northeast Wisconsin school districts transitioning to virtual learning as the state continues to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

In a letter shared with families, Superintendent Emily Miller says she has met with Oconto County health leaders, local superintendents, and the Board of Education to review current health data for the school district and county.

She says the district has heard concerns from teachers, staff, parents, and the community about the surge in cases in the community and school district as well as the lack of substitute teachers.

“Based on these discussions and our monitoring of local and national trends in COVID-19 cases, we will be moving to a full virtual learning model for all students starting on Friday, October 2. We will continue to monitor health data in our area, to return students to in-person instruction on October 19, if those numbers have shown a declining trend,” Miller says.

She continues, saying virtual learning will allow the district to continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation “until we are confident we can return safely and have the staff support our students’ learning.”

“I want to emphasize that this decision weighs heavily on all of us. We recognize that this change will present challenges to many of our families, and I hope that by informing you now, you will be able to make necessary adjustments to your plans for securing your children a space for virtual learning,” Miller says. “Our schools’ function is a community-wide effort, and the operation of our schools impacts us all. Getting “back to normal” will take all of us working together, staying positive, and following health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing.”

Earlier this week, the Pulaski Community School District announced it will move to virtual learning in response to the ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

According to a letter shared with families by Superintendent Allison Space, virtual learning will begin on Monday, Oct. 5, and will continue until the district has “a better idea of the health of our community.”

Notre Dame Academy shared a letter with families on Monday, saying the move is in response to “health and safety circumstances surrounding COVID-19 in the Green Bay area.” Virtual learning will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The Denmark School District announced its transition to virtual learning in response to new and increasing cases of COVID-19 Monday afternoon. According to a letter shared with families, there are 20 staff members out due to close contact quarantines or positive cases. Student absences have risen above 200.

The Gillett School District has also announced it will transition to virtual learning, as will the School District of West De Pere.

Last week, many Northeast Wisconsin school districts announced they would transition to remote learning.

On Friday, the Ashwaubenon School District announced it will transition to remote learning on Thursday, Oct. 1, in response to COVID-19.

According to a letter shared with families, the decision was based on many factors, “including the significant community spread of COVID-19, local hospitals being burdened by critical numbers of hospitalizations, and the overall safety of our students, staff and community members.”

Across Northeast Wisconsin, Crivitz School District has also announced a transition to virtual learning due to staffing shortages created by mandatory quarantining for staff.

The Howard-Suamico School District says they will transition on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Virtual learning will remain in place “until community health conditions improve.”

The Unified School District of De Pere also announced the transition “due to new cases of COVID-19” and “the resulting need to quarantine a large number of students and staff.” The decision was also based on local hospitals reporting that they have reached a critical stage with the number of hospitalizations they are experiencing.

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