Milwaukee School Board calls on city leaders to reinstate citywide mask mandate immediately

NOW: Milwaukee School Board calls on city leaders to reinstate citywide mask mandate immediately

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- The Milwaukee Board of School Directors is calling on the Milwaukee Health Department and city leaders to reinstate a citywide mask mandate.

"We see no reason that this should not happen immediately," School Board President Bob Peterson said. 

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors is asking that a policy requiring everyone three years or older to wear a face coverings in all buildings accessible to the public be issued right away.

"If there's a citywide mask mandate, infection rates will go down, because masks help prevent infections," Peterson said.

Peterson said he worries that students can catch the virus outside of school and further spread infection among classmates. 

"Obviously, students are at school for eight hours. They go home. They go to public places, and their family can pick up that virus very easily outside of school," Peterson said.

In the first week of early start school, 42 students and 14 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, according to an MPS dashboard.

"[Those numbers] show that we need to take as many mitigations or protocols as possible, not only for the schools, which we are doing, but for the whole community," Peterson said.

"Based on the current situation, the mayor does not anticipate taking unilateral action on a citywide mask mandate. However, he has mandated masks in city facilities," A spokesperson for Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement to CBS 58.

The Milwaukee Health Department couldn't provide an interview on Monday, but said they strongly encourage all schools to follow the CDC's guidance for masking.

"I think it's unconscionable. What are they waiting for," Peterson told CBS 58.

Peterson said MPS is following the CDC's guidance, but hopes the city will also help out.

"We're doing our part. We think the city and the Milwaukee Health Department should do their part," Peterson said.

The mayor's office said it would be reasonable for other venues to establish their own precautions based on public health science.

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