'Behaviors need to change:' Waukesha County schools preparing fall reopening plans

With the start of the school year right around the corner, Waukesha County schools are coming together in the fight against COVID-19.

Back to school won't be back to normal in the county. More than a dozen superintendents from school districts across Waukesha County are coming together to layout guidelines before heading back to the classroom.

"If parents want their kids in school, behaviors need to change," said Ben Jones, Waukesha County health officer.

It comes at a difficult time for Waukesha County, which reached 1,900 positive coronavirus cases in July.

"(That) means 60% of all the COVID cases in our county came in this month alone. The month isn't over yet," Jones said.

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Waukesha County Expo center

The county's health officer said people ages 10-29 make up nearly half of those numbers -- even Menomonee Falls little league had to suspend its season this week because kids and coaches tested positive.

School districts in the county stressed physical distancing and proper hygiene as priorities, and while face coverings were stressed as important, it won't be the norm.

"Some of the districts are looking at requiring face masks. I don't have a list of that right now," Paul Farrow, Waukesha County executive, said.

Each district will have its own set of rules.

"We are attempting to build options for families who can come back to school and also serve families who don't feel comfortable or can't send their kids back to school right now," said Mark Hansen, School District of Elmbrook superintendent.

Farrow said the principles of his "Stay Safe to Stay Open" plan apply to schools, offering a daily checklist for parents before putting kids on the bus.

"If you can't answer them in the affirmative, then you need to stay home," Farrow said. "Get tested so we can reduce that spread."

The School District of Waukesha is set to vote on its reopening plan during a meeting Thursday night, July 30.