Public, private schools request for a change in Milwaukee's health order to allow them to reopen

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 16:54:37-04

Private schools and higher education institutions in Milwaukee are seeking for modifications in a public health order preventing them from reopening.

In a letter sent to parents, the School of Milwaukee Montessori School urged families to call and write to city officials asking for a change to a public health order that does not allow any school, public or private, to open in phase four of the city's reopening plan.

The order from the City of Milwaukee Health Department states that "public and private K-12 schools shall remain closed for in-person pupil instruction and extracurricular activities until further notice. Schools may continue to facilitate distance or virtual learning."

Monica Van Aken, Head of the School of Milwaukee Montessori School, says she was fully expecting to reopen in the fall.

Then she realized this week that public nor private schools are not allowed to reopen under Milwaukee's Phase Four order.

“It just felt like we were kept in the dark,” Van Aken said.

Now, she’s hoping the city’s health department will allow some changes to allow her school to host in-person classes come the first day of school Aug. 24.

“There are some schools, like ours, that have been practicing these things with children all summer,” Van Aken said. “As I said, we’ve had over 100 kids in the building and no one has gotten COVID-19. That should count for something.”

In a letter sent to Mayor Tom Barrett, college and university leaders of the Higher Education Regional Alliance requested a modification to allow for the reopening of higher ed institutions.

"While we were able to pivot to remote learning for spring and summer sessions, the demand for in-person instruction remains high among our students and their families who are eager to return to Milwaukee this fall," the letter read.

TMJ4 News has reached out to the health department for comment but has not heard back.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.