To mask or not to mask? Milwaukee schools, buses reverse course on mask mandates within 24 hours

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- To mask or not?

That's a question Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) will ask each week for the rest of the school year. 

"Everything that we have done is to make sure that our students are in school every day," Posley said. 

MPS had one day of optional masking on April 19, before Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley reversed course.

Posley reached out to the Milwaukee Health Department for guidance on April 14.

The health commissioner's recommendation was the same as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), which is universal masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

"I'll be the first to say, I understand frustration that parents and staff face here, but I, what I want to make sure, do everything that we can from a mitigating strategy to make sure all of our students, staff and our community is safe," Posley said. 

MPS will review new COVID data from the city and district dashboards every Tuesday and Thursday. 


"We just got off the tidal wave of omicron, and now we're starting to see an increase again," Dr. Ben Weston said.

Weston told CBS 58 he thinks it's too early to throw out the federal transportation mask mandate.

"This pandemic isn't over. So, I think making sweeping changes against health advice from the CDC and others doesn't necessarily seem advisable at this time," Weston said. 

The Chief Health Policy Advisor for Milwaukee County helped officials decide to keep its mandate on Milwaukee County Transit System buses, despite the federal requirement being lifted earlier this week.

Weston said unlike other indoor spaces, buses lack essential mitigation methods.

"If you need that bus to get to work, you need that bus to get to child care, and you walk on and there's 20 people on the bus, it's hard to distance. So, that's why masking continues to be required on a bus," Weston said. 

Weston said the county will continue to monitor COVID-19 numbers. He said we likely won't see the masking requirement disappear until diseases burden stays consistently low. 

Weston added that people should continue to wear a mask if they feel it is best for their health. 

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