Health & Safety

The health and safety of all Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students, staff and families is the top priority when making the decision to physically reopen school buildings.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and follows guidance from the Milwaukee Health Department and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on how to get students physically back in the classroom safely.

In an effort to minimize the effects of COVID-19, MPS will implement advanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Visit our Health & Safety Video webpage,  the Health & Safety section of our FAQ webpage, and check out the topics below to learn more.

Additional Cleaning and Sanitation

All schools are cleaned and sanitized daily. Milwaukee Public Schools has hired additional workers for cleaning.

Air Quality and Ventilation

MPS has worked with the consulting company Rivion for a ventilation audit. We are following guidance from the CDC, which uses standards developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), to include:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units are supplying the maximum amount of outside air the unit can safely provide and windows have been made operational
  • HVAC units are running two hours before and two hours after buildings are occupied

Air quality will be tested throughout the district, giving priority to classrooms and schools without window access to outside air. Results will be reported to the Board on a monthly basis.

HVAC Air Filters

MPS uses the maximum rating that will not overburden the ventilation system or reduce air flow.

Air filters are changed monthly to enhance air cleaning and appropriate installation Portable HEPA filtration units are being added to all classrooms for improved air quality.

Building Engineer Staff

  • Additional building engineer staff are dedicated to sanitizing high-touch surfaces including door handles, desks, chairs, handrails, drinking fountains, restroom surfaces, sink handles and more, as well as cleaning and restocking restrooms during the school and work day.
  • All building engineer staff are trained on appropriate sanitation protocol. 
  • Upon hire, all building engineer staff are given four days of basic cleaning training  that includes how to properly disinfect high-touch areas. 
  • Each year, building engineer staff also participate in a training webinar to review basics and expectations. 
  • All building engineer staff will continue to receive training on any new disinfecting and sanitizing procedures.

Practices and Protocols

Health and safety practices and protocols are being put forth to ensure that we are keeping staff and students safe.

COVID-19 Testing and Criteria for Virtual Learning

  • COVID-19 testing permission is required for students and staff to return.
  • 10% of each school staff and students will be tested every other week.
  • MPS has established these criteria for returning classes and schools to virtual learning:
    • Class – For 1 positive case of COVID-19 in a class, the class will resume virtual learning for 14 days.
    • School – For 3 positive cases of COVID-19 in a school, the school will resume virtua learning for 14 days.

Healthy Habits

MPS expects that all staff and students will practice healthy habits as recommended by the CDC and City of Milwaukee Health Department. These healthy habits include:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Practicing physical distancing and remaining six feet apart
  • Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
  • Staying home if you’re sick


  • All staff and students will be required to wear masks. If refused, they must leave the building.
  • MPS offices and school building will not be open to the public. Only MPS staff assigned to that building/school will be allowed to enter.
  • N95 masks will be distributed to the following staff members:
    • All specialized services staff, any staff that moves between classrooms/buildings and staff in isolation rooms or other critical areas.
    • Staff working with students where close contact is necessary.

Physical Distancing

MPS will continue to support physical distancing to the greatest extent possible in all areas of our schools, including the following areas:

  • Meal service
  • Gym classes
  • Libraries
  • Recess as scheduled by schools


  • Appropriate signage will be placed throughout all school and district buildings.
  • Signage will include traffic patterns and how to navigate through school and district buildings, healthy practices and protocols, bathroom and common space occupancy counts and more.

Sanitation Stations

  • Sanitation stations are located throughout school buildings. Although building engineer staff will be cleaning and disinfecting school and district buildings appropriately, staff that wish to disinfect high-touch surfaces, will have access to the supplies to do so. Stations are filled prior to the start of the day and re-filled as needed. 
  • Stations include labeled spray bottles, towels, a trash can, a sign out sheet, and a reminder sheet that all staff should wash their hands after returning items to the station.
  • Sanitation stations are designed for desks and tables, chairs, keyboards, in-room sinks, light switches, and door knobs. Staff using the sanitation stations will be asked to contact the building engineer if supplies are running low.

School Operations

MPS schools will follow new policy changes to implement physical distancing between students. These new policies follow CDC and local health department recommendations.


The MPS Central Services building and schools will not be open to the public. Only MPS staff assigned to that building/school will be allowed to enter.


• School will assign lockers to students.

• Only personal belongings will be allowed in the lockers.

• Protocol for locker usage will be established by schools and communicated to staff and students.

• Sanitation stations will be located in halls for staff and students’ use.


• Students will be encouraged to have recess. Transition to recess will be staggered for safety purposes.

• Specific guidelines will be provided to schools.


Educators will distribute textbooks during classroom instruction if needed. After student use, all materials will be sanitized and clean.


• All students will follow established bell schedule.

• Students will be monitored in halls for physical distancing.

• Elementary students will remain in the same classrooms for instruction.

School Programming

Before- and after-school programming will be available and adjusted to comply with CDC and MHD requirements.

  • All 21st Century CLC programs will be open
  • Select Safe Place and Childcare Camp locations will also open. Please check with your school’s principal for details and availability
  • Transportation protocols have been established for programs such as Head Start, special education, etc.


  • Building engineer staff will ensure that buildings have sufficient amounts of hand sanitizer, soap, tissues, paper towels, masks and cleaning supplies.
  • Ordered supply quantities are based on the size and student count per building.
  • Building engineer staff will work with school principals and bookkeepers to maintain 2-3 months of supplies, then adjust as needed.  

MPS will continue to share updates and resources as they become available. MPS will be here for our students, staff and MPS families every step of the way.