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Two KUSD Staff Lose Spouses To COVID Allegedly Picked Up In Schools

Jan. 7, 2021 7:45p

(WGTD)---A Kenosha Unified teacher and a special education support specialist lost spouses to COVID-19 recently. And both employees are convinced they gave the disease to their husbands after first contracting it themselves on the job. 

At this week's school board meeting, Brass Community School teacher Jeanne Holmes-Hoffman had a statement read on her behalf. In it, she accused the district of failing to protect staff by having a policy that doesn't order COVID-infected staff home until the health department formally notifies the district of a positive test result, even if symptoms have already started to appear. 

Her 62-year-old husband Jim died last Sunday.

In the other case, a Lincoln Middle School teacher lost her husband in November after she came down with the disease and passed it on, according to Kenosha Education Association Executive Director Kendra Koeppen-Mulwana. The man was immune-compromised.

The teacher, who hasn't been identified, had been quarantined on three separate occasions last fall by waves of the disease and exposures that swept through the school.  

At the board meeting, board member Rebecca Stevens said that the district needs to give staff members the choice of either working at home or in school. In recent months, some parents have belittled teachers who have wanted to work from home when they the parents have had to go to work. But Stevens said it's not a fair comparison. "When I go to work I'm in an office space all by myself," Stevens said. "I don't have 20-25 little children that are spreading germs and may be asymptomatic," she said. 

After a break from offering optional, in-school instruction that began at Thanksgiving, the district will return to the policy for grade school and middle school students on Monday. For high school students, that option is being delayed until the start of the third quarter on Jan. 25th.