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Black Educators Caucus MKE pushes for 14-days of no new COVID-19 cases before returning to classroom

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 19:57:39-04

MILWAUKEE — It is a big week for Milwaukee Public Schools as leaders move closer toward a reopening plan.

The Black Educators Caucus MKE group of educators says it's just too risky to go back into the classrooms.

"Our recommendation is no return to in-person learning of any sort whether it’s a hybrid model or fully in person until we’re 14 days with no new cases. And for sure full virtual learning when we return in September," said Angela Harris, a first-grade teacher and Chair of the Black Educators Caucus MKE.

The group, which is made up of more than a hundred members, issued a letter Monday pushing for a virtual reopening.

It cites the rising number of coronavirus cases in Milwaukee County and schools around the world that opened for in-person learning only to shut down again when infections broke out.

"This isn’t about teachers not wanting to return to classrooms. This is about ensuring we have the safest environment for our students and our staff and our families as we return to school," said Harris.

The caucus says for too long educators have had to provide their own cleaning supplies, and with coronavirus, there is concern over the amount that will be required.

"We need to recognize that we have the zip codes that have the highest incidences of positive cases at this time," said Megan O'Halloran, MPS School Board Director for District 8.

Coming off a weekend where the state reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases, O'Halloran supports remote learning but currently cannot commit to supporting the 14-day no new case push.

"Certainly we should be looking at the trends and the trends are not in our favor to return to in-person instruction at this time," said O'Halloran.

MPS will hold a special board meeting on Thursday to finalize the reopening plan released late Monday. The plan recommends a phased approach to reopening starting with a virtual model.

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