Commentary on Madison’s Closed K-12 Schools

Elizabeth Beyer:

A number of the staff respondents expressed concerns for their safety in regard to class size, ventilation and PPE, lack of district evidence that a safe return is plausible, the high number of COVID-19 cases in Dane County and a lack of detailed policies and procedures for returning.

“Our numbers in Dane County do not support a safe return. Our classes are too large to be able to space them out according to guidelines,” one staff member wrote in response to the survey.

District staff also noted a desire for widespread vaccination before returning to classrooms. Gov. Tony Evers said Monday the public won’t be able to receive the vaccine until June.

Madison Teachers Inc. issued a separate survey ahead of the district’s decision last week that asked members if they were ready to return to in-person learning for the third quarter and an overwhelming majority indicated they felt it was too soon to reopen classrooms.

“They asked a different question than us,” Jenkins said, “They asked a question about teachers feeling comfortable coming back, we asked how many felt like they could come back. It was different, from our survey to their survey, and anytime you have two different surveys, researchers will tell you, it is about the question: Was it the same, was it the same intent? And no it wasn’t.”

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.