Parents of Milwaukee Public Schools students have a little more clarity about how this school year will play out. Yesterday the Milwaukee Board of School Directors unanimously approved a plan to gradually return students to schools as it becomes safe, but with the state setting records for new coronavirus cases and the curve soaring instead of flattening, it may still be a while before students can expect to learn in the classroom.
The plan has three phases, the first of which is entirely online instruction. As COVID-19 cases fall, the district would move to phase two, a hybrid of online and in-person learning, followed by a final phase that would be full return to schools. Families that are uncomfortable sending their kids back to school would be able to continue to access lessons online.
“To help preserve the health and well-being of our students and staff, we believe virtual learning is the best scenario at this time,” MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley said in a statement. “This was a difficult decision but a necessary one as we work diligently to provide the best education for our students. We look forward to returning to in-class instruction but only when we can do so safely.”
The decision followed hours of testimony from parents who were divided on the plan, with some saying they were frightened for their children’s safety and others arguing the plan forced them to decide between their careers and their children’s education. Even many parents who supported the plan conceded that virtual learning is not ideal.
The school board also approved maintaining the early and traditional start calendars for the school year: Aug. 17 or Sept. 1, depending on the school.
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