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Milwaukee Health Department to issue new order that would allow schools to reopen with approved plan

NOW: Milwaukee Health Department to issue new order that would allow schools to reopen with approved plan

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's Health Department plans to roll out a new phase as part of the reopening plan and it will include options for schools to reopen for in-person learning with an approved plan. 

"The concern is there needs to be standard guidance on how to reopen safely," said Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik.

Kowalik says the CDC's guidelines have not been released yet, but with the help of guidelines from the Department of Public Instruction, phase 4.1 will allow schools to reopen with an approved plan and limits on capacity. 

Kowalik says phase 4.1 will be issued by next week. 

"Our other point is making sure accommodations are offered and honored. We know that some people are high risk, some children are high risk and we don't want them to be forced into a setting where they might be exposed," she said. 

Kowalik said they also need to see what kind of virtual options are available for those who don't want to attend in person. 

Last week, Milwaukee Public Schools voted on a plan that would begin with full virtual learning, transition to hybrid learning, and then face-to-face with a virtual option. 

On Monday, a group of parents, students and school administrators from private schools in Milwaukee protested and demanded in-person classes. 

Kowalik said when they initially rolled out phase 4, they weren't yet thinking about school in the fall, and thought Milwaukee could be in phase 5 and reopened by the time school would start. 

"We’re heading in the right direction so it should be a non-issue, but that obviously ended up not being the case," said about what they were thinking at the time. 

Dr. Ben Weston, Director of Medical Services for the Office of Emergency Management, says there has been an 84% increase in cases for those age 10 to 19 over the last two weeks. 

"We’re seeing substantial increases in cases in 10 to 19 year old age group and evidence has demonstrated this is an age group that is highly likely to transmit disease," Weston said, citing a study done out of South Korea. 

On Tuesday, 1,117 coronavirus tests came back positive in Wisconsin, a record number for the state. 


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