A student gathering occurred the weekend of Oct. 3-4 in Sauk County that was hosted by DeForest Area School District Associate Principal Matt Bauer, who has since apologized in an email to families of students in grades 11-12.

In his correspondence, Bauer wrote, “I would like to thank those of you who reached out to express concerns, and wish to acknowledge that those concerns are valid. In an effort to give my son and his friends an opportunity to celebrate what would have been our school’s Homecoming, I allowed him to invite a group of friends to our family’s farm property. I should not have done so, and though the event grew larger than I expected it to be, I understand that no gathering is a safe gathering due to the risk of spreading COVID 19.”

Bauer further stated, “It was an error in judgement on my part to allow any type of gathering, knowing that social gatherings come with serious health risks. We did set expectations for COVID-related safety, however, that is not sufficient in these times. I apologize to DAHS students and families for giving the impression that ignoring the guidance for social gatherings is okay. It is not. I know better, and regret the decision to allow this gathering to occur.”

Superintendent Eric Runez has reportedly confirmed that the event, an outdoor bonfire, took place. It was originally supposed to be for 20 people, but it ballooned to more than 30. It was not sanctioned by the school and no one has tested positive for COVID-19 since the event.

Bauer also wrote, “I have already used the awareness that comes with hindsight in conversations at home – the necessity to follow social distancing and mask wearing guidance issued by public health professionals – and will use it to inform future decisions. Ultimately, I am most upset that this gathering created the impression that I am not concerned about student and community safety. This is not the case. I apologize for causing this concern. I assure you that this will not be repeated.”

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