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Milwaukee Public Schools will temporarily transition to virtual learning due to influx of COVID-19 cases among staff members

Hannah Kirby
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Public Schools will temporarily transition to virtual learning, beginning Tuesday, according to a Sunday night announcement. The district's goal is to resume in-person learning Jan. 10.

"MPS was scheduled to resume in-person learning on January 4, 2022, but due to an influx of reported positive COVID-19 cases among district staff, this emergency safety measure is being implemented," the announcement said. 

District staff members not in quarantine in accordance with MPS COVID-19 protocol are expected to report to their work location, the announcement said. 

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association posted on Facebook Saturday that they advocated for MPS to return virtually this week "so that testing can occur and staffing be properly assessed."

Lukas Barnes, a senior at Pulaski High School, gets a COVID-19 test from Alex Martinez, from Summit Labs, out of New Berlin, at Pulaski High School on West Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Milwaukee Public Schools are providing COVID-19 testing for MPS students and staff at six area locations. Due to an influx of reported positive COVID-19 cases among district staff, Milwaukee Public Schools has temporarily transitioned to virtual learning, beginning Tuesday.

Students should log into their learning platforms Google Classroom or SeeSaw to receive further instructions Tuesday, an MPS email to parents said. Families can contact school leaders for assistance with technology needs.  

Student meals will be provided daily at various stop, grab and go locations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to the MPS announcement. More information on this will be posted on the district and schools' websites, as well as social media.

The district will provide COVID-19 testing opportunities for MPS students and staff at six locations from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, the announcement said. Pre-registration is required at register.covidconnect.wi.gov/en-US/. The locations are: 

  • Hamilton High School: 6215 W. Warnimont Ave.
  • Marshall High School: 4141 N. 64th St.
  • Obama SCTE: 5075 N. Sherman Blvd.
  • Pulaski High School: 2500 W. Oklahoma Ave.
  • South Division High School: 1515 W. Lapham Blvd.
  • Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning (WCLL): 1017 N. 12th St.

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When in-person learning resumes, testing will continue to be available for students and staff at each school. 

While individual MPS schools have temporarily gone virtual at different points throughout the fall semester, this is the first time this school year that the entire district has gone virtual. 

"We will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available," the announcement said. 

People waiting in line for COVID-19 testing at Pulaski High School on West Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Milwaukee Public Schools are providing COVID-19 testing for MPS students and staff at six area locations. Due to an influx of reported positive COVID-19 cases among district staff, Milwaukee Public Schools has temporarily transitioned to virtual learning, beginning Tuesday.

COVID-19 halting returns in Greendale and Madison schools

Greendale Schools will not have school on Monday due to "a high percentage of instructional staff in isolation or quarantine due to positive COVID-19 cases," according to an announcement on its website

"We are reviewing the impact and length of these absences to determine a learning plan for students for the remainder of the week," the announcement said.

A plan will be communicated to its community by noon Monday. 

The buildings will be open during school hours, and children enrolled in Bridge for Kids will have access to childcare, according to the announcement. Care 4 Kids will be closed Monday.  

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., free drive-thru lunch will be available at Greendale High School for all of the district's K-12 students, the announcement said. 

Free COVID-19 testing by appointment only is also available at the high school Monday. 

The Madison Metropolitan School District decided to pause its return from winter break due to an increase of COVID-19 in its community and after discussion with local health experts, according to an announcement on its website. 

Instruction will return on Thursday, but will be virtual. An update is expected on that day as well. 

On Monday, MMSD staff will return to their work spaces, schedule and routines to work on adapting and developing plans "centered around students’ academic and social-emotional needs, as well as their current reality," the announcement said. 

Contact Hannah Kirby at hannah.kirby@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.