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WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

Coronavirus: Milwaukee-Area K-12 School Updates

Emily Files
In response to the coronavirus public health emergency, Gov. Tony Evers ordered all Wisconsin schools K-12 to close. Due to the prolonged school closures, Milwaukee Public Schools set up meal distribution sites, South Division High School is one of them.

In response to the coronavirus public health emergency, Gov. Tony Evers ordered all Wisconsin K-12 schools to close. WUWM will post updates below about how K-12 schools in the Milwaukee area are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

>>The Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

April 20, 10:18 a.m.: MPS expands meal distribution sites from 20 to 25

Milwaukee Public Schools now has five additional "grab-and-go" meal distribution sites for students and families. At Metcalfe School, meals will be handed out between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. At Bruce School, Fletcher Elementary, Holmes School and Maple Tree School, food trucks will be distributing meals at various times in the late morning and early afternoon. Check the schedule here. 

April 17, 3:14 p.m.: Evers extends school closure to end of academic year

On April 16, Gov. Tony Evers extended his stay-at-home order until May 26. Included in that order are instructions for K-12 public and private schools to remain closed for the rest of the school year. Many schools and districts have implemented teacher-led online instruction and others, like MPS, are still developing plans for virtual instruction. 

April 2, 10:10 a.m.: MPS working to implement online learning

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley sent a letterto families Thursday saying the district is working to implement more widespread online learning. Since schools closed March 16, MPS has handed out printed enrichment packets that include links to online education resources. But now the district appears to be creating a more formal learning plan, although Posley says in the letter that assignments will not be graded.

MPS is asking families to fill out an online survey to identify which students may need district-provided devices to access online education. MPS will distribute technology to students later this month. 

March 26, 9:50 a.m.: Wisconsin students won't take standardized tests this year

Standardized state testing for Wisconsin students has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak that has forced schools to temporarily close. The Department of Public Instruction made the announcementon its website Wednesday.

It means elementary and middle school students won’t be taking the Forward Exam or the Dynamic Learning Maps exam for cognitively disabled children. It also cancels the ACT Aspire assessment for ninth- and 10th-graders. Under Gov. Tony Evers safer-at-home directive, schools will remain closed until at least April 24.

- Associated Press

March 23, 10:30 a.m.: Evers suspends some state education rules in emergency order

Gov. Tony Evers issued an order over the weekend to exempt schools and students from some state education rules amid the coronavirus crisis. Evers suspended the rule that requires schools to complete a certain number of instructional hours. That means districts won't need to extend their school years to make up for the lost time. He also relaxed requirements for teachers in training and suspended deadlines for school choice applications and 4-year-old kindergarten grants.

March 23, 9 a.m.: MPS is closed until further notice

Milwaukee Public Schools notified families Saturday that schools will be closed "for the duration of the public health emergency." The district initially planned to reopen April 14. But Gov. Tony Evers extended his directive to close schools indefinitely. MPS is still providing grab-and-go meals for students at 20 school locations, along with printed and online enrichment materials. 

March 18, 6 p.m.: MPS will pay employees while schools are closed

Milwaukee Public Schools will continue paying employees, including teachers, during the school closure. The school board approved a proposal for employee pay at a meeting on Tuesday. It includes substitute teachers and Milwaukee Recreation employees who average at least eight hours of work per week. It does not include limited-term-employees, but some board members expressed a desire to compensate those workers in some way. 

Employees who are working to provide meal distribution for students are being paid double.

There is uncertainty about whether MPS would continue with the same level of pay if the school closure extends beyond April. Superintendent Keith Posley warned the school board of a looming $20 million deficit in the upcoming school year. 

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Emily is an editor and project leader for WUWM.
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