Last Updated on April 22, 2022
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) announced Tuesday that it would be reinstating its mandatory mask mandate. The mandate was ultimately lifted for just one day before being reintroduced.
MPS Superintendent Keith Posley had announced in March that masks would no longer be required for staff and students beginning Monday, April 18. School was not in session Monday, but masks were optional when they returned to class on Tuesday.
Posley then sent parents a memo that said the mandate would be returning on Wednesday, April 20, citing rising COVID case rates in the area.
The city of Milwaukee is reporting case levels in the category of “substantial transmission” with about 58 cases per 100,000 residents. A week ago, the rate was about 44, and a week prior it was about 32, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Milwaukee public health officials praised the decision in a statement Wednesday. “The Milwaukee Health Department has continuously supported universal masking, especially in congregate settings, as a layer of mitigation against the spread of COVID-19,” agency spokesperson Emily Tau said. “In school settings, where the goal is to keep students in the classroom where they can benefit from an in-person learning environment, masking is highly recommended by MHD.”
Numerous blue cities have reintroduced mask mandates in recent days. In Philadelphia, a mask mandate was reintroduced on April 18, but was lifted after being active for just a few days. New York City residents are currently required to wear masks on public transit, but face coverings are not mandated in schools.
The Milwaukee School District is the largest in Wisconsin with around 74,000 students. The Madison School district has joined Milwaukee in reinstating a mask mandate, but all other Wisconsin districts have yet to follow their lead, at least for now.