Pines did Well on Stance Discouraging Staff Travel

By Our View from Vilas County News-Review, Posted on April 7, 2020

The Northland Pines School Board recently encouraged staff not to travel during spring break, making clear that two weeks of self-quarantine would be necessary for anyone entering a state with 100 or more confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus.

But the board didn’t stop there in its attempt to discourage “out of state” travel. They made it clear that after spring break, those who are self-quarantined will take leave without pay and not be able to take sick leave.

Further, any staff member in quarantine with a positive test for the virus would need to produce two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart to be able to return to work.

We’d like to commend the board for taking a rigid stance on yet another circumstance where travelers could be exposed to the virus and bring it back to the North Woods without knowing it and possibly without showing symptoms at all.

Reports from other states show there are thousands of people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 who aren’t showing any symptoms. Their lack of knowledge that they have the virus and can spread the virus to others makes this pandemic extremely dangerous.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin schools are still closed under order of the governor and tentative plans to reopen them in early April are likely to be canceled considering that the Donald Trump administration has called for restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people and social distancing through the end of April.

But Pines and other schools are attempting to use different forms of technology in order to facilitate digital teaching as much as possible until students return to class; a timeline that no one is making projections toward.

Our recommendation is that Gov. Tony Evers suspend school for the remainder of the year and issue waivers to all districts for the lost instruction. The potential gains from returning to class sometime in May would be wiped away by the harm classroom and hallway interaction could bring.

Meals Now broadened to help all food instability

Boosted by $5,000 in donations from the Rotary Club of Eagle River and a community support fund established by Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan, a new Meals Now program will provide nutritional support to food-insecure children during the 10 weekends left of this school year.

The donations were made to Feed Our Rural Kids, the farsighted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to help children and families in the Northland Pines School District.

The Meals Now program was initiated to help a single family that became homeless, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has evolved into a broad program to support all district children impacted by food instability.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and reporters Doug Etten and Michelle Drew.

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