Frequently Asked Questions

How do I inform MPS if I want my child to return to in-person learning or remain with virtual learning?

Families will have an opportunity to select to return in person or stay virtual through an online survey. The survey is open until April 1, 2021.

How will MPS handle in-person learning and virtual learning at the same time if some families remain virtual?

A collaborative process will be used to establish a division of labor between those teaching virtually and those teaching face-to-face. Extra staff will be provided for classrooms with both virtual and face-to-face instruction. Tutoring options will be available for students who need support.

What digital platform will my child be learning on?

Students will primarily be using Google Classroom. In some instances, teachers will select and share appropriate technology platforms to fit the goal of the cooperative lesson.

What does asynchronous instruction mean?

Asynchronous means two or more objects or events not existing or happening at the same time. Asynchronous learning (no planned online interactive meeting or learning activities beyond basic student and teacher progress monitoring, grading, or technical support).

What does synchronous instruction mean?

Synchronous means existing or occurring at the same time. The synchronous interaction (online meeting times or interactive learning activities) of instructors and students in collaborative online learning spaces is the preferred method of teaching to increase student achievement.

What is a formative assessment?

A formative assessment is a way for teachers to measure student understanding. Formative assessments are often not graded or are assigned low point value. They are held frequently to check in on student progress. Examples of formative assessments are quizzes or writing a brief summary of the topic.

What is a summative assessment?

A summative assessment is a way for teachers to formally evaluate student understanding compared to a standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are things like midterm exams, final projects, and research papers.

What is differentiation?

Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet different learning needs of students. Examples of differentiation include asking questions that can be answered with different levels of understanding, using several different texts to teach the same topic, and student independent learning or collaboration.

When will students return to in-person learning?

Instruction will revert to four days of in-person learning and virtual instruction on Wednesdays. In-person learning will begin on the following dates:

  • April 14, 2021: Kindergarten through grade 3
  • April 19, 2021: Grade 4 through grade 8
  • April 26, 2021: High school seniors and students in need of support. All other freshmen, sophomores and juniors will remain in virtual learning for the remainder of the school year.

A virtual option will be available for families who do not wish to return to in-person learning.

How can I stay connected with Milwaukee Public Schools?

MPS will continue to send out information from SchoolMessenger to your mobile devices via text message and call, email, and the Friday Family Newsletter. We also encourage district families to stay up to date with our MPS district and school social media accounts and websites.

How do I opt in to text messaging?

The district is now utilizing the SchoolMessenger system to send text messages to the mobile phones of MPS staff and families to keep everyone up-to-date with important information, safety alerts, school closing and more. MPS staff and families will need to opt-in to continue to receive important district and school messages to their phone. Everyone will need to opt-in by sending a text message to 67587 with “Y” or “Yes.” You can do this step with any mobile phone you would like to receive messages.

How can I find the latest news about COVID-19?

MPS will be sending out regular updates on COVID-19 and will notify the district as this situation continues to evolve. For communication purposes, please ensure the district has your up-to-date emergency contact information. For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit https://city.milwaukee.gov/coronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus. For district-specific updates, visit the COVID-19 Update webpage.

What are the definitions of isolation, quarantine and close contact?

  • Isolation: Keeping a child sick with COVID-19 away from healthy people. This usually means that the sick person rests in their own bedroom or area of your home and stays away from others. This includes staying home from school.
  • Quarantine: Separating a child who was around someone with COVID-19, just in case they get sick. Quarantine prevents people from accidentally spreading the virus to other people even before they realize they are sick. This includes staying home from school.
  • Close Contact: Being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes total in a day AND/OR having physical contact with a case AND/OR having direct contact with respiratory secretions of a positive case (e.g. coughing, sneezing, shared drinking glass, shared food, shared personal items) AND/OR lives or stays overnight with a positive case.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat

What is Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include but are not limited to fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, etc. Recently there are vaccines being distributed to protect against COVID-19 but are only available to individuals in certain categories and age groups.

Please check the city of Milwaukee, https://city.milwaukee.gov/coronavirus or state website https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm for further information. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like wearing a cloth face covering, practicing physical distancing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and washing your hands often.

What options are available for students who are high-risk for COVID-19?

Students who are high-risk for COVID-19 may continue with virtual learning.

Where can my child get tested?

Website for community testing sites can be accessed by the following link: https://city.milwaukee.gov/CoronavirusResources/COVID-19-Testing or call 211 for assistance.

Who is at higher risk of severe illness caused by COVID-19?

Those at higher risk include:

  • People over 60 years of age. The risk increases significantly thereafter and escalates with age, with persons over age 80 in the highest risk category.
  • People, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.

As a parent, what are my choices for sending my child back to school?

Parents can choose virtual or in-person instruction. In-person instruction will be a hybrid model with students returning to in-person instruction four days a week and virtual learning on Wednesdays.

What if we do not have access to virtual learning because of Internet issues?

An Internet connection is required for your child to log in to educational websites. Many phone and television providers are offering free or reduced-cost Internet plans for students. Contact your provider or view our Internet Resources for Families list.

How do I enroll my student at an MPS school?

Enrollment options include:

  • Online: mpsmke.com/enroll. Families may enroll online at any time.
  • By Phone: Call (414) 267-5100 Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Attendance and Missing School

What should I do when my child is sick and will miss school?

Call your school and provide the reason for missing school and your child’s symptoms. If warranted, call your child’s primary care provider for guidance regarding symptoms.

What will happen if my child becomes sick while in school?

Your child will be moved to a designated area away from others. You will be contacted and asked to immediately pick up your child from school, as determined by the school.

When can my child return to school if they ARE NOT SICK AND HAVE BEEN QUARANTINED as a contact to a positive case?

Your child must quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure before returning to school. If the exposure is to a household member and the positive case cannot properly isolate away from others at home, the last date of exposure may be the last day of isolation for the case.

When should I keep my child home from school?

You should keep your child home from school under these conditions:

  • When your child is sick or showing COVID-19 like symptoms.
  • When your child is tested, they should stay home at least until results are received and then follow the guidelines.
  • When they are told to isolate because they are diagnosed with COVID-19 (they are a positive case).
  • When they are told to quarantine because they are a close contact to a COVID-19 positive case.

Cleaning and Sanitation

How often will my school be cleaned?

Schools are cleaned and sanitized daily. Advanced disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces will be implemented when the building is occupied. Additional employees are dedicated to sanitizing high touch surfaces and cleaning/restocking restrooms during the school/work day.

Currently Milwaukee Public Schools has hired 142 temporary workers for additional cleaning. Please see the Additional Cleaning & Sanitation section on the Health and Safety webpage for more information.

Masks and Face Shields

Are masks required when entering school buildings?

Due to the mask ordinance issued by the City of Milwaukee, masks are required to be worn by all students, staff, and visitors in Central Services and school buildings. These buildings are currently closed to the public.

Can my child bring his or her own mask to school?

Students should arrive at school ONLY with a clean mask. All backpacks, Chromebooks, and personal belongings should be left at home.

Is a face shield an acceptable alternative to a mask for students?

No. Face shields are not acceptable for students unless they have a documented medical reason that is approved by the district.

What happens if students forget their masks?

All schools will have disposable face-coverings for emergencies when students forget their face coverings at home.

Will schools provide staff with face masks and/or face shields?

Every school will have face masks for all staff members. Staff members who provide personal, one-on-one support for students will receive a face shield. A face shield must be worn in addition to a mask.

N95 masks will be distributed to all specialized services staff, any staff that moves between classrooms/buildings and staff in isolation rooms or other critical areas. Staff who work with students where close contact is necessary will also receive N95 masks.

Will students and teachers be required to wear masks in school?

In accordance with the governor’s order, anyone over the age of two is required to wear a face covering on school grounds. The district has purchased one reusable face coverings for all students and will distribute disposable masks for emergency use.

Students or staff who refuse to wear a mask will be asked to leave.

Preventing COVID-19 Transmission in Schools

How is the district preventing COVID-19 transmission in bathrooms?

Students are assigned to designated bathrooms and will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. Schools must remind students to wash their hands thoroughly and often and use hand sanitizer anytime they return to their classroom.

How will parents/guardians be informed if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs at a school?

The district will provide communication to individuals who may have been in contact with an individual that tested positive for COVID-19 following Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines to maintain the individual’s anonymity.

School principals will serve as COVID-19 coordinators, reporting cases and supporting social isolation rooms. All MPS schools now have a nurse on staff who will continue to support contact tracing.

How will the district ensure students are washing their hands and using hand sanitizer properly?

In addition to signage and public awareness campaigns that will help all students understand when and how to properly wash their hands and use hand sanitizer, schools will teach health protocols to students directly. Schools will schedule routine handwashing times including arrival, dismissal, mealtimes and after using the restroom.

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, do they need to test negative before they can return to in-person learning?

Students and staff will need to quarantine for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, but current public health guidance does not require retesting for clearance of COVID-19 and returning to school. Students and staff should remain at home if they are still sick or show any symptoms.

What happens if a student is identified as sick during the school day?

If a student arrives at school exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or begins to exhibit symptoms during the day, they will be moved to the school’s designated Isolation Room to wait until they are picked up by a parent or guardian. Parents and guardians will be expected to pick up their child within one hour of being notified that their child is sick.

What will happen if there is a case of COVID-19 in the school?

Those children identified as close contacts to a positive case will be contacted by the local health department and told to quarantine at home for 14 days after the last exposure. Staff identified as close contacts to a positive case will be contacted by the MPS nursing team and told to quarantine at home for 14 days after the last exposure. This quarantine will not begin until an exposure has been confirmed. NOTE: If your child becomes symptomatic during quarantine, the period of time they must remain at home may change.

MPS has established these criteria for returning classes and schools to virtual learning:

  • Class – For one positive case of COVID-19 in a class, the class will resume virtual learning for 14 days.
  • School – For three positive cases of COVID-19 in a school, the school will resume virtual learning for 14 days.

Will I be advised when a case is confirmed at my child’s school, regardless of if the diagnosed student or staff member is part of my student’s cohort?

Yes. MPS will notify school communities—including parents and staff—of COVID-19 cases, and whether or not their child had direct contact with the sick person. Identities of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be disclosed for HIPPA considerations.

If there are three positive cases of COVID-19 in a school, the school will resume virtual learning for 14 days.

Will students and staff be required to get tested for 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.

Will students be allowed to drink water during the school day?

A limited number of drinking fountains will be designated for use with drinking cups or bottles.

Will there be a nurse in each school building every day?

No. Every school has a nurse assigned to them for support. However, current staffing availability does not ensure a full-time nurse in every school.

Physical Distancing / Quarantine

What measures will you take to physically distance students while at school?

MPS schools will follow the new policy changes to implement physical distancing between students. Please see the School Operations section on the Health & Safety webpage for updated information.

Will students and staff maintain at least six feet of distance between each person?

Yes. The number of people who can be in any room at the same time will be based on the size of the room to ensure students and staff can maintain physical distancing.

MPS will maintain a quota of no more than 15 students per classroom. The quota can be increased to accommodate 18 students if the classroom is large enough to maintain a 6 feet social distancing rule.

Who determines when someone can leave isolation or quarantine?

Public health officials and MPS nursing contact tracing team are authorized to determine when someone can leave isolation or quarantine.

Temperature Checks

Will temperature checks be required before entering school?

Temperature checks for students and staff will not be performed when entering school buildings. Families and staff are strongly encouraged to perform temperature checks at home and to stay home upon any sign of illness.

Visitors in Schools

Are visitors allowed on campus?

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

There will also be no assemblies, trips, or large group gatherings of staff or students.

How will meals be distributed for the upcoming school year?

For students returning to in-person learning, breakfast and lunch will be served at schools. The Stop, Grab & Go program will continue for families who wish to remain in virtual learning. See the Nutrition webpage for more details.

What supports are available for my child?

Keeping children at home presents a unique set of challenges. Children may miss their friends, classmates, teachers, and school staff, and may struggle with the feeling of being confined. To help children and adults adapt to the emotions of being confined, we provide resources for social and emotional learning on our Online Learning Resources page.

Many MPS teachers use mindfulness in the classroom to help students focus. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to breathing, the body, and surroundings to shut out stress and gain control. Learning mindfulness is easy and takes only a few minutes. Ask your child if they learned mindfulness exercises in class, or visit GoNoodle to learn mindfulness techniques and enjoy dance videos and more for kids and families.

How do I get a Chromebook for my student?

If your child does not have a Chromebook, please contact your school leader.

How do I recover the username and password to my Parent Portal account?

Parents/guardians should email parentportal@milwaukee.k12.wi.us. Include the parent/guardian name, child’s name, birth date, and a contact number. If you do not receive a phone call or email within 24 hours, please call (414) 475-8159 for further assistance.

Live Parent Portal (Infinite Campus) support is available from 8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday.

How do I set up a new Parent Portal account?

Parents/guardians may call (414) 475-8159 from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday or email parentportal@milwaukee.k12.wi.us.

What support will be provided for parents to help support their child?

A number of tutorials are available on the Family Tutorials webpage. Families can also access additional enrichment materials for each grade level on our Online Learning Enrichment webpage.

What happens if a student who takes the bus becomes sick or the school cannot reach a parent to pick up a sick student?

If a student takes the bus and arrives at school sick, or becomes sick during the school day, the school will contact a parent or legal guardian to come and pick up the student. If a parent or legal guardian cannot be reached, the school must exhaust the list of contacts on the student’s emergency contact form until an adult is reached and comes to pick up the sick student. Students will not be allowed to return home unaccompanied.

What safety measures will be in place for students when riding the bus?

Students must wear face masks while boarding and riding the bus. Seating on the bus will allow for physical distancing. Students may only sit in designated seats.

For specific information about bus safety measures MPS is taking, please visit the Transportation webpage.