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Concerns rise as some MPS students return to school Monday morning

More than 40 Milwaukee Public Schools head back to school Monday morning
Posted at 11:10 PM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 07:21:10-04

Monday morning kicks off back to school for all MPS middle and high schools as well as a select few elementary schools. While some parents may be relieved sending their kids back to in-person learning, there are some concerns as they prepare.

Angela Harris is an elementary educator and serves as the Chairwoman of the Black Educators Caucus. When she's not working with or for students, she's parenting one.

"There is a little bit of anxiety as my daughter gets ready to prepare to go back tomorrow," said Harris.

Fearing a potential COVID-19 surge, Harris has her concerns about sending her daughter that is not yet able to receive the vaccine, back into a classroom.

"To have a student population that is going back, that is unable to be vaccinated, only requiring 3 feet of social distancing, no regular testing is going to be happening and children will only get tested if they have symptoms."

Also getting to school is a worry for some parents. Friday evening, MPS sent out a mass text and voicemail informing parents of a sudden change in bus routes.

"There was no information as far as a pickup time or her pickup and drop-off location, it just simply stated a route and a bus name. So our plan is to just go out to the bus stop on Monday at the time that she's supposed to be picked up and just wait to see what happens."

But despite it all, she remains hopeful and is excited to step back into a classroom.

"I'm so excited to be back in my classroom and to actually have students in person and to start the school year off in a way that is truly traditional. For some of the first graders that we're getting, they will have never stepped foot in a school space before.

For a mom of two MPS students, Samantha L also shares the same excitement as Monday will be her son's first day of middle school at Rufus King.

"I think he'll be excited. It's a little bit easier with him because it's hard for him to stare at a computer for so long," said L.

But of course, the potential of students going back to virtual learning could unfold. Amongst the mandatory indoor masks, 3 feet social distancing, HEPA air filters, and hourly disinfecting process all students and staff must remain under a 3% positivity rate per school in order to stay in person.

"I can see that happening very quickly," said Harris.

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