COVID means 55 MPS classrooms have gone virtual

Just a couple of weeks after returning to in-person learning, dozens of Milwaukee Public Schools classrooms and several schools are closing because of the spread of COVID-19.

Students finally had the chance to head back into school buildings, and COVID-19 has once again pushed many back out. 

"I'm not surprised if I’m being honest," said Angela Harris, chair of the Black Educators Caucus. "We tried to warn the district that this was going to happen."

Harris said she wants to know more about safety protocols after more than 55 classrooms and seven schools moved to virtual learning for 14 days. The shift happens in a classroom for one positive on-site case from a student, teacher or staff member who works in a classroom and for the whole school when three positive on-site cases from a classroom within a school are reported within 14 days.

"After the second and third one, I was glad that they closed," said Chelsea Hopf.

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Hopf's two daughters have returned to virtual learning. 

"It’s a little overwhelming," she said.

She said she understands the decision for safety reasons but is just a little frustrated. 

"I was almost thinking they should have just close for the rest of the year because what’s the point in going back for what, two, three weeks?" said Hopf. "When they do go back, and the chances of there being another case is probably high."

Harris and a group of protestors wanted the district to be aware of those chances.

"We did a die-in and saw that was representative of the number of positive COVID cases," said a parent. "We wanted to highlight what that would actually look like if we lost students and staff members to COVID-19."

"I enjoy being back," said Harris. "I wanted to be back at work. I miss being back in this atmosphere. It’s just a matter of doing it in a way that’s safe for us all."

The Black Educators Caucus also hosted a protest outside of a school board member's home, demanding they call a special meeting to address solutions around safety for the last weeks of school. 

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