With a vote of 7-0, the Kiel School Board voted to keep Kiel area schools open despite recommendations from the Manitowoc County Health Department to have all Manitowoc County schools go virtual.
The county did acknowledge that each district could decide whether to close or remain open based on the area’s current COVID situation.
Over 250 people virtually attended the special School Board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The School Board and Dr. Ebert received over 100 letters from parents, staff, and students regarding the recommendation that schools go virtual. The majority of parents voiced that they want the Kiel schools to remain open.
Brandon Gibbs, a parent, stated that he and his family had recently moved to Kiel from out of state and that the Kiel schools were the reason they picked Kiel to live. “We need each other. I feel we need to keep in-person instruction for the sake of our kids. We shouldn’t live our lives in fear,” he stated. Another parent stated, “Mask them up. Do whatever it takes to keep them in schools. We can beat COVID, but we can’t beat depression. Kids are getting depressed by not being in schools.”
Another parent stated that he felt there was a rapid decline with the kids when they were forced to go virtual in March. He said he feels that the social interaction and in-person learning are very important to the students’ mental health. Other parents stressed that both parents work full time and then they came home and had to be a parent, teacher, principal, and counselor and it got to be too much to handle. The most common concern that parents and staff continued to raise was the mental health of the students and if forced to go virtual, depression would be a major issue.
After the community feedback portion of the meeting, Dr. Ebert presented a special COVID-19 presentation. He started by stating, “We need to come out of this united and do everything we can for our kids.” He went on to say, “Everyone in our organization has really stepped up and I am proud of our staff, parents, and students.”
(Please see the October 15 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)
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