MPS welcomes back more than 40,000 students for first day of the traditional calendar year

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) welcomed back more than 40,000 students on Thursday, Sept. 2 for the tradition calendar school year. 

It's the second round of students to head back to MPS. Some students started Aug. 15 for the district's early start calendar.

"We are so excited to get started with this '21-22 school year. And I was so happy to see all our families and our students and staff to be here to return to school," said Rogers Street Academy Principle Ramon Cruz.

Governor Evers, Mayor Tom Barrett, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly were among the people at Rogers Street Academy to welcome students back. 

Evers commended state and district leaders for their COVID-19 safety response ahead of the Fall semester.

"And I know everyone masked up, stay safe and continues to be compassionate, kind and respectful neighbors we will not only get through this pandemic but we'll have a great school year also," said Evers.

MPS, like other districts, continues to battle an area-wide bus driver shortage.

Superintendent Keith Posley said they are still about 30 drivers short, and are working with families on solutions.

"Any day one we are going to have bus problems," said Posley. "We have a tracking app that they can track where the buses will be located at all times. We also have a stranded bus number that we have provided to all of our families in the family guide so that they can call."

To help alleviate the transportation troubles, Posley said the district readjusted bus routes, is working to get county bus passes for students and door-to-door services.

He said there will be some late drop-offs this afternoon, and MPS will monitor this process.

About 110 schools throughout the district are returning to full-time, five-day-a-week, in-person learning. 

MPS has new protocols in place for the school year to keep students safe during the pandemic. 

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