MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Public Schools is accused of not fully executing the COVID-19 testing program it had in place for schools to reopen. It's causing quite the concern for many teachers and families.
Eight schools and more than 70 classrooms are now closed because of positive COVID-19 cases. Amy Mizialko, the president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA), believes that number should be higher.
"The city of Milwaukee remains in the red high transmission for the fourth week," said Mizialko.
Mizialko is worried about safety, and said the pool surveillance testing in the district is not going well; 10% of each school is supposed to be randomly tested for COVID-19 every other week.
"On Wednesday, Milwaukee sign language school returned to virtual learning due to a third positive case on-site," Mizialko said. "The MTEA is alarmed at the current testing situation. All 137 schools should have been tested once by now."
MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley said only 66 schools have been tested so far, and 93.9% of the pool tests came back negative. There were seven instances with traces, so those classrooms were closed for 14 days. He said the pool is a sample – not a confirmed test.
"This is pool sampling, not a confirmed test and it lays out on our consent form that it’s not an FDA approved piece and so, therefore, it’s truly sampling," Posley said. "If they go get a test and that comes back positive we will add it to the count."
It is a method MTEA disagrees with.
"Not counting them toward the three case count to take a school virtual, this is outrageous," said Mizialko. "Things aren’t getting better they are getting worse."
Posley attributes some of the delays to having to deal with contracting outside of the administration.
The MTEA said they want the pool testing to be in the equation when it comes to deciding whether a school remains open. In the meantime, MTEA asks for a special board meeting to assess the situation.
Statement from MPS on COVID-19 testing