MILWAUKEE — Masks will remain optional at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for the upcoming school year.
The Milwaukee Public Schools Board discussed its mask policies and other Covid-19 safety measures at its meeting Thursday night.
School leaders will now align their new masking policy with the CDC's Community Levels Tool. Therefore, masks will remain optional unless it reaches a transmission rate considered "high."
These are the three tiers MPS students and staff will need to keep their eyes on next year:
Using three tiers, when its at a high level, which is greater than 20%, masks will be required in all MPS schools.
Instead of measuring the COVID-19 spread by looking at City of Milwaukee testing results alone, the district will now use this tool which monitors the spread in all of Milwaukee County.
The risk takes into account the county's seven-day average of new positive cases and hospitalizations.
MPS has been the strictest district in Wisconsin when it comes to masking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mask mandate was dropped for just one day last school year before it was reinstated in April.
MPS board member Megan O'Halloran says she has heard anger and frustration from parents about the school mask policies, adding "I have seen some in my district leave the district over the handling of this."
MPS leaders promised during Thursday's virtual school board meeting they will update whether masks will be optional every Friday.
If a student or staff member tests positive, they will need to stay home for five days and will need to mask up when they return for the next five days.
MPS Superintendent Keith P. Posley made clear the only thing that could cause a school to close next year is if too many staff members call out sick.
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If school started today, masks would be required at MPS. As of Thursday evening, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties are the only counties in Southeast Wisconsin in the CDC's high category for COVID-19 activity.
MPS students on the traditional calendar begin the school year Sept. 6.
You can read the full MPS mask requirements below: