MPS Board approves plan for most students to return to classroom in April

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley started the MPS board meeting Thursday acknowledging the reopening plan is not supported by everyone.

“There is no easy solution or answers that will satisfy everyone," Posley said. "There are many mixed feelings  that have been shared by all of you.”

Some students with disabilities would begin on Feb 8. That earlier return for those students, who benefit more from in-person learning, was mandated by the state in a letter, which pointed out the district could be violating federal disability laws.

Pre-K through second grade would return on April 12.

Grades 3-8 would return on April 19. Grades 9-12 would return on April 26.

One of the biggest concerns was vaccines for teachers, especially for the state mandated Feb 8. return.

“I'm wondering if they addressed the fact that we do not have vaccines available for the staff at this time,” MPS board member Erika Siemsen said.

MPS officials pointed to ways they are getting ready, from increased PPE to repairing windows for ventilation, to isolation rooms.

Some parents said they think the district is ready, and pointed to the CDC recently advocating for reopening with proper precautions.

“I would strongly advocate the schools to reopen," parent Meg Boyd said. "And I hope that we are able to make our decisions based on data and science and not based on fear.”

Some parents pointed to other area MPS schools that have already moved to in-person instruction.

But board members countered that MPS has more students and more challenges.

“What’s happening in other districts is not necessarily applicable to our district because we have busing that other districts don’t have," board member Megan O'Halloran said.

The semester ends June 11, leading some parents to question whether it's worth bringing students back for less than two full months.

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