Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Our Choices Our Dance

School District of Waukesha Board of Education Members Bill Baumgart, Joseph Como Jr., Greg Deets, Patrick McCaffery, Corey Montiho, Kurt O'Bryan, Karin Rajnicek, Amanda Roddy, Diane Voit

School District of Waukesha Superintendent Jim Sebert

School District of Waukesha Deputy Superintendent Joe Koch

Mayor of Waukesha Shawn Reilly

County Executive Paul Farrow

Monday, January 11, 2021

Dear Officials, 

I am writing as a resident and parent to advocate that our schools and community adopt a science-based system with gating against COVID-19 that emphasizes safety for all our citizens, especially our students and teaching staff.

A pediatrician friend here in SE Wisconsin shared the recent article by NPR, How COVID-19 Attacks The Brain And May Cause Lasting Damage with the reflection that they are very concerned about the public not taking this virus seriously enough. We all know today that there is an average 1% chance of death in Wisconsin for those who contract this virus and this now includes 2 of our children aged 10 to 19. In the article, we are shown that there is also the real possibility of developing significant long-term side effects involving the brain. “For many affected patients, brain function improves as they recover. But some are likely to face long-term disability, de Erausquin says.” The damaged brain areas may include parts that control the body, leading to malfunctions in heart rate, blood pressure, and even urinary control. I also recall the Ohio State study in September that showed college athletes with recordable damage to the heart muscle itself after a COVID-19 infection. This virus is NOT the flu. 

I believe the push by some politicians to safeguard entities from potential future COVID-19 litigation is because they know that what they are advocating, pushing to stay open (both businesses and schools) and not adhere to medically-based protocols, are risky and dangerous choices.

We can make different choices. Many scientists and medical professionals have established covid gating criteria for different places around the world. Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden’s has a great one that includes alert tiers for when and where different ages of school children should be as community viral rates change. While our numbers have gone down, our hospitals are still very busy, rates are “very high” per DHS, and appear to again be rising.

We (all adults everywhere) knew this would be a dance. We (all adults everywhere) knew we’d need to adapt. If rates fell, we could relax. If rates rose, we would need to contract. We (all adults everywhere) have done a poor job at that dance so far because too many sat on the sidelines or even put their feet out to trip those out on the floor. To consider coming back together until we have fewer infections and appreciable levels of vaccinations throughout the community is folly.

We should have done this all months ago. However, it’s not too late as we move forward to finish the second half of the school year. Please do what you can to support and protect our children and staff. Please advocate to those you know within other entities at city, town, and county levels to adopt a strong plan. We need to work together. Please.

As a side note, if nothing new is done locally, and the federal government releases plans for vaccinations and/or viral control when the Biden Administration takes over on January 20, I ask that the school board, the city, and the county accept those plans, promote them, and actively put them into practice. Again, we need to work together. As so many have said before: together we rise, divided we fall.

I thank you for your work and your consideration.


Susan Baumgartner

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