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Why some parents are pulling out of a Middleton elementary school

A fourth grader at West Middleton Elementary is set to unenroll after the school district decided to remain all-virtual until public health metrics are met.
A fourth grader at West Middleton Elementary is set to unenroll after the school district decided to remain all-virtual until public health metrics are met.(Courtesy of Sara Mann)
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV) - More than ten students at a Middleton elementary school are reportedly withdrawing this week, following a district-wide decision to remain all-virtual until public health metrics can be met.

Multiple parents at West Middleton Elementary told NBC15 they know of students currently in the unenrollment process. Sara Mann said she will officially start the process for her son, who is in the fourth grade. He has already enrolled in a private school.

“Virtual learning is not working for him, so no matter how much we love the school and we love the teachers, he wasn’t doing work,” she said Thursday.

On Monday, the Board of Education voted that all 4K through 12th grade students will continue in the virtual format until Public Health Madison Dane County metrics are met, according to a notice sent to parents.

For many parents, the decision meant that students in kindergarten through second grade would not return to the classroom mid-October. This confirmed for Mann that her younger children, also attending West Middleton, would continue learning from home and that her son would not get the extra supervision he needs.

“The mental strain it’s taking for my husband, me and our caregiver,” she explained, “it’s been a lot.”

But the district had another number to report when NBC15 reached out about how many had dropped out a West Middleton.

“Just one,” director of communications Perry Hibner said, unable to explain the discrepancy.

Using the same data, Hibner said a total of eight students have dropped out this week across all the elementary schools and five in the middle schools. High schoolers, he said, have remained the same.

The consequences of unenrollment include smaller class sizes and potential changes to the budget. Hibner, though, explained board members did not include the possibility of unenrollment in the discussions leading up to their vote.

“If they felt like the right thing to do was to keep virtual and watch these metrics and make sure they improve before we open up, a few students deciding to leave and go somewhere else, if that’s right for their family, I don’t think that was going to influence their decision making,” Hibner said.

Board members also decided that if public health metrics are not met before Dec. 7, they will consider moving to a hybrid model for the next semester.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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