City of Racine to reopen school buildings after Jan. 15, health department says

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Racine Public Health Department released Monday, Jan. 11, a revised version of the city's "Safer Racine" ordinance which will allow schools to reopen buildings and some venues to increase capacity limits. 

"We’ve seen that our case count or our case rate has been decreasing," said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, public health administrator for the city of Racine. "We’re about a third less than we were at approximately Thanksgiving."

She cautions people to still be careful and take preventative measures. 

"Regardless of where we’re at or how we interact, the pandemic is real and it’s not going away," she said. 

Updates to the ordinance include:

  • All school buildings will be allowed to reopen after 11:59pm on Jan. 15. All schools must have submitted and have a health department approved reopening plan
  • Bars, restaurants, indoor recreational facilities and licensed swimming pools revert to phase 4 of “Safer Racine” and will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity as long as 6-foot physical distancing can be maintained
  • Retail establishments have capacity limits lifted

Things of note that will NOT change with the update of “Safer Racine” include:

  • There is NO change to the high-risk recreational category within the ordinance, meaning that many school sports remain prohibited
  • Mass gatherings remain capped at a maximum 50 individuals for special events at private venues
  • Indoor and outdoor mass gatherings in public venues continue to remain closed
“While the COVID-19 pandemic locally, as well as across the state, has slowed in terms of the daily case rate compared with pre-Thanksgiving levels, the number of individuals being tested daily has significantly decreased. This decrease in the overall testing rate may simply be serving to mask the true prevalence of disease within the community and the region.

“While schools now have the option to return to in-person learning, many families and staff members are rightfully concerned about the possible transmission of COVID-19 in schools, and are thankful for the option of distance learning. With that in mind, we strongly encourage schools to offer, or continue to offer, an option for virtual or distance learning for your students and personnel."

- City of Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox. 
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