MPS COVID policy could change, masks stay

Milwaukee Public Schools is set to reevaluate its COVID policies this week. The school board president acknowledges no matter what decision is made, it will have parents split.

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"Isn’t it time to go back to virtual?  This is too much," said a parent.

MPS parents are doing what they can to influence the school board's COVID policies.

"First of all, that’s too many cases.  I’m scared," said a parent.

It’s the latest in a tug-of-war with the district that’s lasted the entire duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS)

"They learn more when they are in-person than they do at home," said a parent.

Bob Peterson is the school board president, listening to both sides.

"As a board, we are concerned about the health and safety of our students and staff," said Peterson. "That’s a key thing.  We also know in-person learning is superior to virtual learning."

Under the current policy, if 3% or more of a school’s population tests positive, it prompts virtual learning. It recently impacted schools like Alba, Parkside and Fernwood Montessori.  Those metrics will be reevaluated Thursday through Superintendent Keith Posley’s recommendations.

"I’m going to hold on my personal opinion until I hear his recommendations and I hear what the community has to say at the public hearing," said Peterson.

Students at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS)

Posley is asking that the school board align policies with current Milwaukee Health Department and CDC standards.  Peterson said he’s still waiting to hear specifics.  It’s already meeting some resistance from the president of the teachers union, Amy Mizialko, who issued this statement to FOX6: 

"MTEA has been and will continue to discuss reasonable alternatives to the 10-day temporary virtual rule for schools that reach 3% positivity with MPS Administration. It is not helpful that the School Board is rushing into a decision Thursday with minimal public notice and, to our knowledge, no alternative proposal from the board member who requested the meeting."

In late January, Wauwatosa's school board voted to eliminate quarantines and recommend a negative COVID test before returning to school.  Peterson said the MPS decision could hinge on your opinion.

"It will be a public hearing, so any staff member, parent, student or staff member can testify," said Peterson.

FOX6 News asked for an interview or statement from Superintendent Posley, but we were referred to Thursday's meeting agenda instead.

One thing that will not change after Thursday's decision is masks. Peterson says that’s because of the city-wide ordinance already in place.

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