Less than two weeks after returning to the classroom in early December, Jeanne Holmes-Hoffman, a 20-year veteran of the Kenosha Unified School District, believes she contracted COVID-19 in the classroom and passed it on to both her husband and her mother.
Holmes-Hoffman's husband Jim spent 19 days in the hospital before dying Jan. 3 and her mother, who was living with the couple, suffered a coronavirus-related stroke and was hospitalized.
“Nothing can bring Jim Hoffman back. The void caused by missing his presence is felt every moment by me and my family,” Holmes-Hoffman said in a statement read to the Kenosha Unified School Board on Jan. 6. “This did not need to happen to my husband.”
The Kenosha school district is grappling with how to balance the safety of its staff and their families with the fears of parents that their children will fall behind if classes are online. Holmes-Hoffman is one of two staff members who say they got coronavirus in the classroom and passed the virus on to their spouses who died from it.
The second staffer has not been identified.
The school board voted to go virtual from Nov. 30 to Jan. 8, however, because Holmes-Hoffman works with special education students, which required in-person education, she returned to the classroom in December.