'It's all hands on deck:' Milwaukee Public Schools prepare for what's next amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 20:58:35-04

MILWAUKEE — The Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools is speaking out for the first time on coronavirus. He says steps are in place, in case MPS needs to shut down schools at any point.

It's not just a plan to continue student learning if the coronavirus closes schools, but also to continue offering the free breakfasts and lunches that so many MPS students rely on for meals every day.

"We have identified five locations throughout the city that would serve as meal pick-up points, and a number of trucks we will be using to deploy to various neighborhoods," said MPS Superintendent, Keith Posley. "It's similar to what we do in the summer."

When it comes to still providing lessons during a school shut down, Posley says they're working out details that include virtual classes and comprehensive packets of school work for kids to take home.

Posley says the district has received more calls from concerned parents over the past few days. He and school district nurses want to assure everyone that they are increasing disinfecting measures.

"We're making sure all our buildings are stocked with cleaning products, soap, paper towels, sanitizers, and all those kinds of things," Posley said. "We do deep cleaning at night, and then ongoing cleaning during the day. We're really focusing on 'high-touch points' like light switches, table tops, things of that nature."

"It's all hands on deck," said MPS nurse Therese Shepard. "It's not just cleaning staff. This morning I was wiping down rails and doorknobs. Everyone is involved in the cleaning process. We are also going into classrooms and showing students how to properly wash their hands, and going over other precautions they can take."

District nurses are also trying to ease fears.

"Kids have real concerns," Shepard said. "Just like adults having anxiety about the virus, so do children. Usually, the anxiety is about the unknown. But there are things we do know can help prevent all viruses, and educating kids about that allows them to be proactive, and shed some of that anxiety."

MPS is in close communication with local, state, and federal agencies. Right now, there is no indication any public schools in Wisconsin will be forced to close.

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