Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stay connected with Milwaukee Public Schools?

MPS will continue to send information through SchoolMessenger to your mobile devices via text message, phone call, and email. The district also sends the Friday Family Newsletter weekly through email. We encourage families to stay up to date through MPS district and school social media accounts and websites.

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How do I opt in to text messaging?

The district is using SchoolMessenger to send text messages with important information, safety alerts, school closings, and more. MPS staff and families must opt in to receive messages on their phones. Opt in by sending a text message to 67587 with “Y” or “Yes.” Follow this process for 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. 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.

Are masks mandatory?

Milwaukee Public Schools is currently operating under a mandatory mask mandate in all district schools and buildings. Mandatory masking was reinstated on April 20, 2022, after the district briefly shifted to a mask-optional status.

The decision to reinstate a mask requirement incorporated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines along with input from the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, and the Administrators and Supervisors Council (ASC). A key factor in this decision included data from the City of Milwaukee Health Department COVID-19 dashboard, which has shown an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout April.

During the regular monthly meeting of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors on March 24, 2022, the Board voted to allow MPS administration to make determinations about COVID-19 practices without Board approval. This allows MPS to make agile, informed decisions in the best interests of students, staff, and the community.

MPS will continue its efforts to protect the health of students and staff, including vulnerable individuals who exhibit health conditions and children under age 5, who do not yet have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the MPS guidelines for closing schools as a result of positive COVID-19 cases?

As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise and fall, Milwaukee Public Schools is reviewing its decision-making procedures regarding potential school closures. The district has decided that it will not automatically close schools that reach a COVID-19 rate of 3% among staff and students.

School community and building procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will continue. District administrators meet regularly with members of the Administrators and Supervisors Council (ASC), the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA), and city officials to discuss and review COVID-19 related issues, including school closures.

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

  • Isolation: Keeping a sick person with COVID-19 away from healthy people. This usually means that the sick person rests in their own bedroom and stays away from others. This includes staying home from school.
  • Quarantine: Separating a person who was exposed to COVID-19. 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. Vaccines are being distributed to protect against COVID-19.

Please check the City of Milwaukee or state website for further information. The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions, such as wearing a mask, 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?

Community testing sites can be accessed through 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.

How do I enroll my student at an MPS school?

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

Attendance and Missing School

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 any student arrives at school sick or becomes sick during the school day, the school will contact a parent or legal guardian to pick up the student. If a parent or legal guardian cannot be reached or cannot pick up a student who arrived on the bus, the school will continue to call 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 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. The absence will be excused.

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

Your child will be moved to an area away from others. You will be contacted and asked to immediately pick up your child from school.

When can my child return to school if they are not sick but have been quarantined for being in contact with a positive case?

Your child must quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure before returning to school. If the exposure is with 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?

  • Your child is sick or is showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • A health care provider recommends that your child should stay home.
  • If your child is tested for COVID-19, they should stay home until results are received and then follow guidelines.
  • Your child has been told to isolate after being diagnosed with COVID-19 (they received a positive test result).
  • Your child has been told to quarantine because they have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive case.
  • If your child has been diagnosed with a contagious disease or if any of the following conditions exist, please keep your child home from school.
    • Fever (temperature 100.4˚ or higher)
    • Blistery rash
    • Chills
    • Fatigue
    • Frequent cough
    • Headache
    • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Nasal congestion or runny nose
    • Recent loss of taste and smell
    • Sore throat
    • Vomiting or diarrhea

Cleaning and Sanitation

How often will my school be cleaned?

Schools are cleaned and sanitized daily. 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.

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?

Face coverings are required to be worn indoors by all students, staff, and visitors over the age of two in the Central Services building and school buildings.

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

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

Students should arrive at school with a clean mask.

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 available for students who 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 who move 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.

Preventing COVID-19 Transmission in Schools

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

Students are assigned to designated bathrooms which will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. Schools will remind students to wash their hands thoroughly 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 who 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 isolation rooms. All MPS schools have access to a nurse who will 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 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.

Will I be advised when a case is confirmed at my child’s school?

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

Will students and staff be required to get tested for COVID-19?

Testing is voluntary.

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 access to a nurse for support.

Physical Distancing / Quarantine

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

MPS schools will 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 three 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.

Who determines when someone can leave isolation or quarantine?

Public health officials and the 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 Services building and school buildings are open to the public.

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. See the Nutrition webpage for more details.

What supports are available for my child?

To help children and adults adapt, 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 recover the username and password to my Infinite Campus 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 Infinite Campus 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 their child?

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

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 in MPS, please visit the Transportation webpage.