South Milwaukee School Year to Start Virtually

The South Milwaukee School Board voted 6-1 late Wednesday night to begin the 2020-21 school year virtually.

From the district website and letter from Superintendent Jeff Weiss …

On behalf of our entire staff, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding of the evolving situation regarding the status of school in the fall. We miss your children! Our priority is always to provide the best educational resources to you and your children.

The School Board approved a virtual start to the start of the school year for the first six weeks. The reason for this decision is based on the amount of community spread of COVID19 in our local community and Milwaukee County. We will provide an update by September 25 regarding the learning model for the second six weeks of school. (The written presentation reviewed on July 29 can be accessed here and the presentation from August 5 can be accessed here – sample Middle School schedules can be seen here.)

Thank you for your support. We are committed to providing the best environment for our students, taking into mind their physical safety and their emotional health and well-being.

I support this decision, both as mayor and as the parent of a soon-to-be seventh grader and sophomore. I, too, want students (my kids) to return to school in person, but that is simply not safe to do at this point given the trajectory of COVID-19 in South Milwaukee.

We’re already seeing the potential consequences of a return to in-person school, in places like Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia, where cases are forcing schools and districts to rethink their reopening plans, sometimes in mere hours. I fear that will repeat itself in our area, too.

The ways to reduce risk and limit spread of coronavirus are clear: wear a mask, socially distance, avoid large gatherings, and wash your hands frequently, among others. We, as a community, state, and country need to do better in all of these areas. A scroll down Facebook news feeds illustrates it, and our spike in cases in July proves it. That includes me.

Until we do so, until more of us start doing our part, it’s hard to see our kids returning to school buildings, and hard to see the trajectory we’re on significantly changing anytime soon.

I hope I’m wrong — for my kids’ sake. For all our kids’ sake.

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