Milwaukee Health Department says it has received reopening plans from more than two dozen schools

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Health Department says it has received reopening plans from more than two dozen schools. 

Reopening guidelines for private and charter schools were released on August 11

At the time, Mayor Barrett said several schools had already submitted their plans for reopening. 

"We’re looking to do is open in what we call our phase two which is a hybrid model," said Fred Pierce, Head of School at Eastbrook Academy. 

The school has submitted a plan and is awaiting approval, while also flushing out details.

"Because of the fluidity of COVID-19, if we need to start in phase one in virtual learning we are preparing and set for that," said Pierce. 

"None of us found the secret playbook for running schools in a pandemic," said Jim Piatt, President of Messmer Catholic Schools. 

He says they cut the year into six shorter terms and the first term will be virtual. 

"We really want our kids back in the building in October, so we’re working really hard in every way," he said. 

He says they are also working hard to make sure kids have the tools they need. 

"We're using these first five, six weeks to knock down the digital divide. We’ve known for a long time in education to not have access to internet, to not have a working device means that you’re a have not," he said. 

They are still working on submitting a plan to the Milwaukee Health Department. 

"I don’t think it’s just happy talk or rose colored glasses, to say that we can as a community, as schools, come out of this stronger," Piatt said. 

Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, says they've seen a spike in interest in private schools across the state during this time. 

At University School of Milwaukee, which is in the jurisdiction of the North Shore Health Department, a spokesperson said they have seen a significant increase in interest from both public and private school families since their reopening plan was released on July 22. 

"We have had more inquiries in the last two weeks than in any other two-week period in at least the last six years. Families have indicated that they have found our flexible on-campus and distance learning options appealing, as well as our investments in our facilities for on-campus learners, our educational technology for distance learning, and our hiring of additional teachers for this school year. We remain committed to maintaining our smaller class sizes with new health and safety protocols and recommended physical distancing in place," a statement said. 



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