Back to School, Virtually

September 1, 2020: It’s the most unusual of back-to-school days for many children today. Including my own.

For South Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and others it was a virtual return. For others, it was a return to school buildings for in-person instruction. Still others are a combination of the two approaches.

I believe the virtual start is the right, and safe, call, knowing that some will disagree with that statement. And that’s OK.

I respect the school district’s data- and public health-driven approach to this decision, and the potential way forward to in-person learning.

I want my kids back in school as much as anyone, but I want to make sure they are safe, along with teachers and staff. That day will come. We are not there yet, and we will only get there by continuing to take the actions necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask. Socially distance where possible. Avoid large gatherings. Practice good personal hygiene.

We are making progress. There are promising signs in some key metrics, and I am hopeful that will continue, to get our kids back in classrooms.

Where they should be. When it’s safe.

Until then, we lean on our educators to do the best they can, and they are, making the most of a difficult situation, as I knew they would.

So far, I like what I’m seeing. It’s a huge upgrade from the online learning in the spring, and I thank the teachers and staff for that first and foremost. These are dedicated professionals who want to see our kids succeed — and are willing to adapt in difficult circumstances to make that happen.

I thank the Health Department, for their close partnership with school leaders as they decide next steps, together.

I thank the kids, for persevering in tough times.

I also thank South Milwaukee families. I know this is a burden, a heavier one for some. But I know we will step up for our kids, and do what it takes to get our kids back where they belong: walking the hallways and filling the desks of our local schools. Go Rockets!

More information on the city’s response to COVID-19 here.

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