Seven SE Wisconsin school boards discuss COVID-19 policies Monday night

Posted at 3:51 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 00:27:45-04

Click here to view the latest updates in COVID-19 rules in school districts in southeast Wisconsin.

Grafton, Menomonee Falls, Oak Creek-Franklin, Cedarburg, Germantown, New Berlin and Pewaukee school districts all had board meetings Monday with agenda items focusing on COVID-19 policy.

School boards meeting tonight

Grafton and Oak Creek-Franklin discussed face-covering requirements for summer programming.

Menomonee Falls administration updated the school about information related to learning during the pandemic.

The Cedarburg School Board had a discussion on masks, social distancing and quarantines for the rest of the school year and summer school. They decided to keep masks through the school year including summer academy. Outside, masks are optional.

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Gemantown, New Berlin and Pewaukee each met to talk about masks and other mitigation efforts in their respective districts:

  • Pewaukee decided to keep masks through the end of the school year.
  • New Berlin decided to make masks optional in the classroom for the summer; they already had masks optional during the school year. They also voted to make quarantines optional.
  • Germantown decided to make masks optional for the rest of the school year.
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In Pewaukee, dozens of parents and students spoke to the board for close to a total of two hours demanding it make masks optional immediately.

"Us students are wearing masks for eight plus hours of the day, and we deserve a voice," seventh-grader Brooke Sakalowski said.

"When you talk to people or look at people with their masks on, it is hard to see how you are making them feel," seventh-grader Mia Majeskie said.

A few people spoke out thanking the board in favor of keeping masks in place.

"Thank you for our service to our children," one parent said. "And I ask you to continue to keep them safe by continuing to make policy decisions based on the recommendations of health experts."

Pewaukee School District has offered in-person learning five days per week with masks. Administrators report there have been near or zero infections and quarantines among staff for six weeks. Data from the Waukesha County Health Department shows there are three active Covid-19 cases among students in the school district boundary of school-age children. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 16.7 percent of 12 to 15-year-olds have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, while 36.9 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds have gotten their first dose so far.

Several other Wisconsin school districts have already eased COVID-19 restrictions.

These changes and discussions come as vaccine eligibility has expanded to include anyone over age 12 for the Pfizer dose. But even with that expansion, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) said about 800,000 young people still are not able to get the shot.

Just last week, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk sent a letter to school administrations urging schools to keep mitigation measures in place.

The letter reads:

All students, teachers, school administrators, and staff, regardless of vaccination status, should continue to practice physical distancing and wear masks at school and on the school bus until more people, including children, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
DHS letter to school administrators

The CDC also continues to recommend schools keep their COVID-19 prevention strategies in place for the remainder of the school year.

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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

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