MILWAUKEE — A total of seven MPS schools have switched to virtual learning after detecting COVID-19 cases.
All eligible students who wanted to return to classrooms did as of April 26. That group includes K3-8th, freshman, seniors, and failing students. Since then, Milwaukee Public Schools has been forced to shut down in-person teaching at seven of its 152 schools after the district identified positive cases of COVID-19.
On Monday, MPS COVID-19 records showed these schools have switched back to virtual learning:
- Academy of Accelerated Learning
- Barton School
- Eighty-First Street School
- Garland School
- Manitoba School
- Meir School (Upper)
- Milwaukee German Immersion School
A number of other schools in the system have had to close down classrooms, but have yet to transition an entire school's students back to digital learning.
The closure of schools and switching students back to virtual learning was included in the district's reopening plan. Three positive COVID-19 tests leads to a full school closure, while one positive test closes a classroom.
A spokesperson for MPS said in a statement Monday evening that the district has a number of measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including transitioning a school to virtual learning:
"MPS is following public health guidance, which recommends a layering approach when it comes to health and safety, which includes vaccinations, mask-wearing, hygiene, physical distancing, disinfecting high-touch areas, plexi-barriers and encouraging those who are sick or exposed to stay home. We have mitigation strategies in place to put our students and staff in the best position to learn and teach safely. A part of that is a transition to virtual learning if a situation at a particular school warrants that transition."
The teachers union, Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, has fought back against resuming in-person learning so soon and called on the school board on April 28 to "reassess the situation immediately and communicate to the public how they plan to contain the spread in our schools and in our communities."
Only people 16 years and older are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and adults for all three vaccines. As of April 26, 24.3 percent of City of Milwaukee residents are fully vaccinated, and 31.6 percent are partially vaccinated, according to city health department data.
Teachers and staff have had access to the vaccine since March 1.