University School of Milwaukee is excited to welcome more than 1,100 students back to campus on Tuesday, Aug. 31 for another year of in-person learning. This school year will see a return of cherished events and traditions, including off-campus retreats and field trips, small group instruction, roundtable classrooms, and science labs, all designed to enhance our students’ learning experiences. In addition, kindergarten through 12th grade students will be eating in our dining rooms in a 3-foot social distancing model. Parents and guardians will be welcomed into the building for student drop-off and pick-up, as well as other events, and parent-teacher conferences will, once again, be face-to-face.
School administrators’ goal is to maintain in-person learning throughout the entire year, and they have implemented several initiatives to assist in those efforts:
- We are proud to report that 93% of our faculty and staff who have regular student contact are fully vaccinated at this time. We are not mandating vaccinations for students or employees, except for those participating in overnight travel activities. Our few unvaccinated faculty and staff will be required to be tested twice each week.
- Starting on Monday, Aug. 30, the school will re-open its COVID-19 testing site on campus. Testing will be available to the wider USM community starting on Aug. 31.
- Due to the “critical” burden status of nearly every town in the North Shore, masks are required inside the school building, other than for prekindergarten students, for whom masks are strongly recommended, while outdoor activities are mask-optional. See more details on the school’s face mask policy here. We will be looking closely at the COVID-19 information we have access to, both from our surrounding communities and internal school data, and it is our hope to move towards a mask-optional policy as conditions warrant.
These initiatives will be evaluated as the school year progresses. We will continue to seek the guidance and support of our medical team, which includes several doctors from a variety of pediatric fields, who have helped USM to create programs and policies that keep our school healthy and the learning moving forward.
Head of School Steve Hancock addressed the USM community in a video message on Aug. 13, sharing many of these initiatives with them. We are excited to start the 2021–22 school year in-person, which we believe is the best way for our students to learn and grow.