SYRACUSE — Wawasee High School will only be in the virtual mode for a week due to the impact of COVID-19. This afternoon Thursday, Sept. 3, the Wawasee Community School Corporation released the following letter from Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent:
“We are currently in our 16th day of school and are beginning to feel the weight of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in our schools, particularly the impact of close contact mandatory quarantining by the Kosciusko County Health Department. We are approaching 100 students who have been sent home with symptoms of COVID-19, but many more students and staff members have been impacted because they live in the same household, or have been determined to be a close contact of a positive case.
“This is putting a nearly unmanageable burden on our staff as we currently have 14 teachers, five bus drivers, six paraprofessionals, two custodians, and multiple other classified staff members quarantined and not able to attend work.
“As of today, there have only been six positive tests of students or staff within our school facilities. Close contact with COVID-19 positive cases outside of school are having as much or more of a negative impact on school operations as those that occur while school is in session. With the growing number of absences occurring at all levels of our school corporation, we are currently unable to adequately staff all our buildings. We are experiencing a significant shortage of available substitutes for our open teaching and paraprofessional positions, and are unable to get substitutes for some of our critical operational positions to keep the buildings functioning at the level you have come to expect from Wawasee.
“Through ongoing conversations with our school leaders and local county health officials, we have made the decision to move Wawasee High School to a virtual learning environment for a short period of time. This will allow us to use critical staff from that building in other locations throughout the school corporation. In an effort to maintain open facilities and in-person learning at Milford School, Syracuse Elementary, North Webster Elementary, and Wawasee Middle School, it is necessary for us to make this temporary move. On Friday, Sept. 4, Wawasee High School will have an e-Learning day and students will work from home on their class assignments. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 11, Wawasee High School will operate in a fully virtual learning model with students participating in their full schedule throughout the school day.
“Mr. Walmer will be releasing more specific information about the details associated with virtual learning at WHS. It is our hope we will be able to return to normal, in-person learning at Wawasee High School Monday, Sept. 14. We appreciate your flexibility as we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges that are created due to this pandemic.
“It is our priority to ensure all students at Wawasee are given a high level of academic, social, and emotional support through this difficult time.”