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Mineral Point students protest temporary hold on fall sports, switch to virtual school

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6 MINERAL POINT STUDENTS .transfer_frame_14
Matt Behrens/WKOW
Mineral Point student athletes protest a decision to halt fall sports while the district moves to virtual learning.

MINERAL POINT (WKOW) -- There's been a steep increase in the rate of COVID-19 cases in Iowa county.

Since the pandemic started, 309 people have gotten the virus there.

48 new cases were confirmed in the past week, which is more than 15 percent of the county's total cases.

That's why the Mineral Point School Board voted to move to virtual learning for two weeks, as recommended by county health officials.

But not everyone is happy with the decision.

At Mineral Point High School, students and student athletes spent much of the Tuesday afternoon marching and protesting the decision by the school board.

There was no school Tuesday as teachers and staff prepared for the all- virtual switch.

Mineral Point Unified School District was on a hybrid virtual and in-person schedule before.

But according to Superintendent Mitch Wainwright, they had had 4 positive cases in the past four days related to the school district, with multiple other pending cases.

He says the decision to close the school wasn't an easy one to make and the hope is that this will be temporary.

"I know the staff are equally disappointed, they want to be able to work with their kids, they want everybody back every day," Wainwright said. "But obviously with the numbers climbing the way they are, it's just not the safest time to be doing those kinds of things.

Along with two weeks of virtual school, multiple fall sports were put on a two week hold as well.

That was why students, mostly members of the high school football team, took to the streets of Mineral Point, chanting "Let us play."

"Pretty frustrated I would say, we've had zero cases at the high school and zero cases on the team and we've been taking all of the proper precautions so it's kind of frustrating to have it taken away from you when you're doing all of the right things," Will Straka, a senior at Mineral Point High, said.

Members of the football team, joined by volleyball players and other students in the crowd were all wearing their masks, wanting to show the school board that they can be responsible enough to keep each other safe and still play sports.

Superintendent Wainwright said once the two week period is over, the hope is to allow students to resume play.

He also said he welcomed the students rights to protest and make their voices heard, and he hoped this two weeks was all they needed.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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