Emily Files

Education Reporter

Emily became WUWM’s Education Reporter in August 2018 after spending four years in small-town Alaska.

She began as a reporter for KRBD in Ketchikan, where she once covered a bear interrupting a high school cross country race. She then worked as a reporter and eventually news director at KHNS Radio in Haines, where she reported on a man in a bear costume harassing actual bears. Aside from the occasional bear story, Emily covered the local politics, tribal issues, hunting, fishing and, of course, education.

Emily is originally from the Chicago area. She studied journalism at Emerson College in Boston, where she reported her very first radio stories for college station WERS. She interned at NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Boston Globe and PRI’s The World. Emily’s work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

Ways to Connect

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

University of Wisconsin campuses will test students living in dorms for COVID-19 every two weeks, under a new plan announced Thursday. The plan applies to all UW schools except Madison, which has its own testing procedures for the fall semester.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 3:48 p.m. CT

On Monday, southeastern Wisconsin teachers’ unions and community groups organized a car caravan from Kenosha to Madison, calling for state action on school reopening.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

A cloud of financial trouble is hanging over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as it plans for its first full semester in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The University of Wisconsin System is forging ahead with plans for a combination of in-person and online classes this fall.

Some universities in other states have walked back their plans for in-person learning out of concern about rising coronavirus infections.

Screenshot / Wisconsin Department of Health Services / YouTube

Updated at 5:18 p.m. CT

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is implementing a second round of state budget cuts as the economy continues to flounder. Evers announced Wednesday that he is telling state agencies to find $250 million in cost savings for the current fiscal year.

Screenshot / City of Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Health Department says schools will be allowed to reopen with in-person instruction if they have a strong enough safety plan in place.

That news comes after an outcry from private schools and colleges in the city. Many of these schools realized just last week that the health department’s current coronavirus order prohibits in-person classes.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 21 at 5:49 p.m.

After some confusion and criticism, the Milwaukee Health Department clarified Tuesday that it does not intend to keep all city schools closed this fall.

Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik says the department will issue a new order that allows schools to open for in-person classes if they have an approved safety plan in place.

Original story

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 17 at 3:12 p.m. CT

Emily Files / WUWM

As coronavirus cases increase in Wisconsin, the state’s largest school district is proposing a virtual start to the upcoming school year. Milwaukee Public Schools leaders are calling for a phased-in reopening of schools — beginning with virtual instruction for all students, for at least the first 30 days.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

Updated on July 14 at 3:27 p.m. CT

The Trump administration dropped its plans to impose restrictions on the number of online classes international students in the U.S. are allowed to take in the upcoming school year. The reversal was announced at a hearing in the lawsuit brought against federal officials by Harvard and MIT. 

Courtesy of Kyle Charters

In June, some local students were named finalists in the national NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

Emily Files / WUWM

Milwaukee Public Schools is seeking feedback from families and staff about how to reopen in the fall, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The survey is available online and closes on July 8. It asks families whether they want their kids to be back in classrooms, stick with virtual learning, or do a combination. And it asks staff whether they feel comfortable returning to schools and what safety measures are important to them.

Emily Files / WUWM

Protests sparked by police killings of Black people are drawing attention to the United States' persistent racial disparities. Those disparities are also widespread in education. Wisconsin has some of the largest test score and high school graduation gaps between Black and white students.

Emily Files / WUWM

There are still a lot of unknowns about how Wisconsin’s K-12 schools will reopen in the fall.

Public and private school leaders testified to the Assembly Education Committee for seven hours Wednesday about the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

>>MPS Considers How To Safely Bring Students Back

Scott Olson / Getty Images

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is hiring one of Wisconsin’s most well-known politicians to the role of system president. Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson will lead the UW System for at least a year, beginning in July.

>>Regents Select Tommy Thompson As Interim UW President

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