'A safe learning environment:' Temp screenings, masks required as MATC opens for fall term Aug. 24

Officials at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) are preparing for the start of the fall term Aug. 24, and students won't be allowed to enter the building without taking a test. FOX6 News got a firsthand look at safety protocols on campus Sunday, Aug. 2.

Students will receive a different kind of degree when they walk through the doors at MATC. Temperature screenings will be required to get into all buildings, and so will masks. Meanwhile, building entrances are limited, and there are social distancing reminders at every step -- all part of the technical college's plan to keep everyone healthy during the pandemic.

James Weishan

"We're all going to need to work together to make this a safe learning environment," said James Weishan, senior director of facilities development. 

Weishan said while most classes this fall will move online, there are still many that require hands-on experience that can't be replicated. The mechanics room features fewer seats, spaced 6 feet apart.

"It's about half its capacity," said Weishan. "We've been using a 40-50% ratio for each classroom."

Marcel Howard

Desks and door handles will be wiped down hourly. That responsibility falls on Marcel Howard and his janitorial team -- armed with an array of weapons in the fight against COVID-19.

"We have invested in an electric static sprayer, disinfecting sanitizer and a handheld model," said Howard. 

COVID-19 protocols at Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC officials are prepared to shut down a classroom or wing of a building at any time if someone tests positive, and if that happens, Howard is ready for a deep clean so spaces can reopen again when it's safe.

"And if it ever gets to a point where we need to go into a room to treat, we do have full body suit we suit up with, along with goggles," said Howard.

Masks, face shields and gloves will be given to any student who needs them. A donation in late July bumped MATC's supplies of cloth masks to more than 14,000.