MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Public School Board voted and approved MPS' plan to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic this fall.
Earlier this week, MPS administrators released a plan for fall instruction. The plan has three phases. The first is entirely online instruction, with no students inside MPS buildings. The district will monitor the virus and figure out a way to move to phase two, which is a combination of virtual and in-person learning. In phase three all students would return to school once it is safe.
Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley said everyone wants to return to the classroom but says he understands the pandemic and health guidelines continue to change.
"We can make up school hours and days for students to get caught up with their lessons, but we can’t bring a lost life back," Posley said.
MPS administrators are working to put many social distancing measures in place, such as providing PPE and spreading out buses and classrooms. Administrators believe this could cost an extra $90 million.
Close to 90 parents and teachers signed up to speak during the public comment portion of the MPS Board meeting. They expressed a wide range of concerns.
Some parents said they are urging administrators to get their kids back in the classroom.
"Keeping these kids virtual, I just think it’s unfair, the world is proceeding without them," said parent Shanda Norton. "Our kids are the only ones still left behind."
"I just want to make sure that when this plan goes into place, and if we have to go virtual, that people are thinking about these special needs children, who need high impact and need assistance," said parent Serena Buchholz.
Many teachers said they miss their students and want to get back in the classroom. Some teachers said they feared that going back to school would further the virus' spread.
"I'm 100% on board with doing virtual, and I know that that’s not ideal for parents," said MPS teacher and parent Bradley Cramer. "I'm also a parent, too, of a kindergartener and a third-grader, but disease doesn’t care about our social constructs."