Teachers unions continue calls for Evers to order all-virtual start to school year

MADISON, Wis. — With about a month to go until the start of school, teachers unions from big districts across Wisconsin again asked Gov. Tony Evers on Monday to call an all-virtual start to the school year.

Unions from Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee and Madison drove through their cities and to the state capitol to deliver their message to Evers.

“Until we’re even clear on what this disease looks like … it is very irresponsible to proceed in any way you’re putting large groups of people together,” said Angelia Cruz, the president of Racine Educators United.

Teachers at the caravan protest said right now it’s not safe for students and teachers to return in person, and until the state gets a better handle on the virus or even until the world gets a vaccine, they want the funds and the energy to go toward figuring out virtual school.

“We want to keep our students alive, bottom line,” said Tanya Kitts-Lewinski, a special education teacher and Kenosha Education Association president. “We want to keep our students’ families alive. We want to keep our educators alive, and we want to keep our educators’ families alive.”

State Sen. Steve Nass, R- Whitewater, sent a release to news outlets Monday claiming he’s heard from sources that Evers was going to use his latest public health emergency to prohibit schools from starting in person.

News 3 Now reached out to the governor’s office to see if that is something Evers is considering, and his staff directed to comments the governor made during a news briefing on Thursday, the day he announced the mask mandate.

“I think school districts are doing a good job analyzing what they see as it relates to their ability to hold classes in person,” Evers said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he and other republicans believe kids should be back in school this fall, and republican lawmakers are prepared to come back into session late this week or next week to try and block this latest emergency declaration.