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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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.
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.
- 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.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
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.
Students who are high risk for COVID-19 may continue with virtual learning.
Community testing sites can be accessed through the following link: https://city.milwaukee.gov/CoronavirusResources/COVID-19-Testing or call 211 for assistance.
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.
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
- Frequent cough
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are visitors allowed on campus?
MPS Central Services building and school buildings are open to the public.
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.