Crowd marches to Mayor Tom Barrett's home to call for in-person classes

Posted at 5:34 AM, Jul 20, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Dozens marched to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's home Sunday night calling for schools to have face-to-face classes.

Milwaukee's Phase 4 order does not permit in-person classes for any school.

Plenty of schools outside of the Milwaukee Public School system say they were planning on welcoming students back in the building in some capacity this fall. This week they found out they might have to remain entirely virtual.

"It did come as a surprise to us, especially since we had been working so hard to get ready for face-to-face instruction," said Phil Leyrer, the principal of Wisconsin Lutheran High School.

Milwaukee health officials said on Friday they had gotten questions about this, and stated as long as the city remains in Phase 4, in-person classes aren't allowed. They said they will talk about this more in an upcoming webinar.

Wisconsin Lutheran High School administrator's organized Sunday's march. Dozens of parents, teachers and students showed up. They say they hope the health department can make changes.

"I understand that there are serious concerns about COVID-19, nobody denies that at all," said parent Melissa Wolfgram. "But we cannot live in fear, we need to get back to our lives."

Some parents said they are confident in how hard their school has prepared for kids to come back in the fall.

"They have put a plan together that is beyond what is asked of them," said parent Marty Merrick. "And if it were a bar, a restaurant, a YMCA, it would be allowed to be open."

Two women showed up to the march to make their voices heard. They said they did not want to share their names because they didn't believe their opinion would be accepted. They said they think schools should stick with virtual instruction.

"We want the viewpoint of the health department and the wisdom of the health department to also be represented," one woman said. "We believe COVID-19 is real, we lost a grandparent to it."

Students said they understand this is a really tough time. They said virtual instruction was tough, and they want to get back in the classroom.

"My mom does in-home daycare, so she's taking care of kids and trying to teach my brother, and I'm trying to do my work," said student Alia Goodman.

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