The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting some Wisconsin teachers to quit or retire early — 9/17/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we highlight a story by WPR about Wisconsin teachers who are quitting or retiring early because of the pandemic.

“As many Wisconsin school districts are bringing at least some of their students back into classrooms, teachers have pushed back, citing concerns about their health and the health of their families, Madeline Fox reports. “For some, COVID-19 was enough to push them out of the profession entirely.”

The story cites an NBC 15 report that teacher retirements during the first part of 2020 increased compared to last year. 

Top Stories

Photo courtesy of Janelle Laufenberg

Janelle Laufenberg’s empty Spanish classroom at her La Crosse school. Laufenberg, who was just barely eligible for retirement, decided not to come back this year over concerns about COVID-19.

“I really didn’t feel comfortable going back’: Some Wisconsin teachers quit, or retire early, due to COVID-19 concernsWPR 

Coronavirus in Wisconsin: New cases reach all-time high as state reports more than 2,000 positive testsMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

PSC extends utility shutoff ban through April; 10,000 could lose water service this fallWisconsin State Journal 

Bay Port teacher dies from COVID-19 complications, Howard-Suamico School District saysGreen Bay Press-Gazette

‘We are part of the storm’: virtual schooling takes a toll on children and familiesWPR 

COVID hospitalizations have spiked in the Fox Valley. Health officials warn if behavior doesn’t change, we could be in for a tough fall.Appleton Post-Crescent 

Ron Johnson exposed to COVID-19, won’t attend Donald Trump rally in MosineeWisconsin State Journal 

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Quotable

“Times like these often present the greatest opportunity for change … An unprecedented health crisis, economic challenges and the clarion call for racial and social justice have served to further highlight many systems of inequities. Our schools are not immune.”

— State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, as quoted by the Wisconsin State Journal 

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

Data to note

Coronavirus detections are soaring in Wisconsin and reached an all-time high on Thursday, largely fueled by college students returning to campus. 

The La Crosse tops the New York Times Upshot’s list of U.S. metro areas where COVID-19 cases are increasing the fastest, while seven other Wisconsin communities occupy the top 20 positions on that list. They are all home to universities or colleges: 

  • Whitewater
  • Oshkosh-Neenah
  • Stevens Point
  • Appleton
  • Platteville 
  • Madison
  • Green Bay 

Here are the latest statewide visualizations of COVID-19 cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

Local restaurants find ways to extend outdoor seating during colder monthsWTMJ-TV 

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