Wisconsin COVID cases: School concerns in Milwaukee, Waukesha

COVID-19 cases are surging across southeastern Wisconsin. Many of those cases are among school-aged children, and parents and school staff are calling for more to be done.

The Milwaukee Teacher's Education Association (MTEA) wants to see a citywide mask mandate, saying it would help in the Milwaukee Public Schools fight against rising cases.

"I’d say that this is a disaster at this point," said MTEA Executive Director Ben Ward. "It’s only the third week of traditional start schools, and we are in a dire situation that just isn’t sustainable for 37 more weeks."

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children make up 26% of nationwide COVID-19 cases.

"I’m worried about what’s going to happen next," parent Kristin Freiberg said. "We need to change the plan because the situation is changing."

"We’ve been watching the numbers rise daily on the COVID dashboard at school and it’s getting to a point where I think it’s going to be hard to keep the schools open," said parent Laura Pinsoneault.

Pinsoneault and Freiberg are parents of children in the School District of Waukesha and members of the Grassroots Alliance for Education – calling for COVID-19 mitigation. Just three weeks into the school year, parents already do not like what they see.

Parents said there have been 226 COVID-19 cases in the district this year. They are calling for things like masking at schools where cases are high, testing resources and HEPA air filters in classrooms.

"I think we definitely need to have something in place to just ensure that these kids can stay in school," said Freiberg.

Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA)

In Waukesha and Milwaukee, the two school districts are seeing rising cases – parents and staff giving efforts a failing grade.

"Education isn’t going to be disrupted, it has already been disrupted," said Ward.

FOX6 News reached out to the School District of Waukesha and did not hear back Wednesday, Sept. 22. The Milwaukee mayor's office referred FOX6 to a Sept. 9 comment made by the health commissioner, saying the city is heavily focused on vaccines as the way out of current COVID-19 problems.

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