MILWAUKEE - Masks will be optional for Milwaukee Public Schools students and staff in school buildings starting Monday, April 18. The decision was made after a vote Thursday, March 24 by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.
For the last two years, there's been a number of long, contentious school board meetings about COVID-19 policies and protocols in MPS schools. On Thursday night, the board voted to implement the new mask policy, a change from the original mandate that required masks be worn in all MPS school buildings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
MPS officials noted in a statement after the vote that: "The district does have the option to revert back to a mandatory mask policy if it is determined that there is a significant transmission of the virus within the city of Milwaukee and/or the school district."
Masks will continue to be available for students and staff in school buildings.
Since students returned to class at Milwaukee Public Schools, mouths and noses have stayed covered.
"Just to be on the safe side as a parent, I like the idea that they’re masked up," said Rodney Banks, MPS parent.
Banks says his daughter doesn't mind wearing a mask. He thinks they should stick around even though the CDC has loosened mask guidelines.
"Whatever I can do to keep them safe is what I want to do," said Banks.
Superintendent Keith Posley recommended making masks optional on April 18 to match CDC guidelines.
"By all means, we are listening to the experts," said Posley.
"I think that there are experts in this field, and I am not one of them," said Megan O'Halloran, MPS board member.
Posley noted masks could come back for certain schools or the entire district if cases go up.
Banks said he's worried about the people who surround his daughter.
"I think everyone should take a closer look, especially if they have children in the school," said Banks. "It’s not so much them, but can you assure yourself that everybody else has been vaccinated or is practicing safe protocol?"