Milwaukee Public Schools building
The Milwaukee Public Schools administration building is shown. (Photo via Milwaukee Public Schools/Facebook)

Parents will still be given the option to keep their child in all-virtual classes.

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) will reopen most school buildings, except for children in grades nine-11, for in-person learning next month under the district’s reopening plan, which the MPS Board approved early Wednesday morning after seven hours of discussion. 

The district’s initial plan called for pre-K through 12th grade students to return in phases April 12-26, but the school board amended the plan during the meeting to exclude grades nine through 11 and pre-K and slightly alter the timeline, according to WISN-TV.

Under the amended plan, kindergarten through third grade will return April 14, grades four through eight will return April 19, and grade 12 will return April 26. High schoolers in grades nine through 11 can return on April 26 only if they are failing a class. Wednesdays will still be virtual for all students, and parents will be given the option to keep their children in virtual classes all week.

MPS will limit most classrooms to 15 students under the plan. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, their class will go virtual for two weeks; if there are three or more cases within a school, the entire school will go virtual for two weeks, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In-person learning is generally safe as long as there are proper precautions against spreading COVID-19 and community transmission is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The city of Milwaukee currently has a seven-day average of 54 daily cases, down from the peak of 682 during the November surge, according to local health data.

Almost every other school district in Wisconsin has returned or started to return children to in-person learning, including in Madison. Children in pre-K through second grade have returned in the Madison Metropolitan School District, with the rest of the grades returning on a similar timeline to Milwaukee’s phases.