Schools, Child Care Centers Navigating COVID Challenges

Sevastopol and Sturgeon Bay schools have both switched multiple classrooms to remote learning after teachers or students tested positive for COVID-19. 

Both started the school year offering in-person classes. On the afternoon of Sept. 21, Sturgeon Bay announced that a high school student had tested positive. Four grades have had to move temporarily to virtual instruction during the last two weeks. 

Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel informed the community of the latest positive cases by email Monday. 

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“As communicated and discussed over the summer,” Tjernagel wrote, “staff availability and a lack of available substitute teachers are critical components as we navigate this school year.” 

Tjernagel said the first few weeks of in-person instruction have been a test for staff and families. 

“It’s one thing to plan it all summer,” Tjernagel said. “It’s another thing to experience it. It’s exhausting.

“Last spring the focus was all on remote learning. Everyone was on the same model. The challenge now is trying to have an in-person option and a virtual option for families that prefer that. It’s a big challenge to teach in two worlds at the same time.”

And now each week brings a new additional challenge with certain classrooms switching back to remote learning as cases arise. 

On the plus side, Tjernagel said students are acquiring skills that no other generation received in school.

“One takeaway is that these kids are figuring out more about how they learn, about interacting with teachers, about being organized and independent,” he said. “They’re learning things I didn’t figure out until grad school.”

On Sept. 18, Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay notified families that a child in a three-year-old class had tested positive – the first at the facility. The child had last been in the facility Sept. 9 and 10. After talking with the Door County Public Health Department, center administrators closed the center’s three- and four-year-old classrooms Sept. 21-24 to complete a 14-day quarantine. 

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