University School of Milwaukee completed a highly successful 2020–21 school year after reopening its campus to students on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 for the first day of school last fall. Throughout the past school year, families were provided with the option of having their children in on-campus classrooms or in distance learning, with monthly surveys affirming those decisions. Face masks were required for every adult and all students from junior kindergarten through 12th grade since the start of the school year (optional in outdoor settings effective May 18, 2021).
In early March, Head of School Steve Hancock announced that the school planned to return fully to on-campus learning for the 2021–22 school year. Among USM’s many learnings during the pandemic, the school reaffirmed that a USM education is most impactful when teachers can deliver it face-to-face with their students.
The school's leadership team met on Monday, June 21 to discuss opening plans for the 2021–22 school year. Members of this team, along with the school's medical partners, are continuing to review and discuss the ongoing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (DHS), and our local health departments, both for the remainder of its summer programs and for the 2021–22 school year, which starts on Tuesday, Aug. 31. We will also continue to closely monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 spread in our own local communities, which has recently been rising in Milwaukee County and all of our surrounding counties. USM looks forward to sharing a final plan for the start of the 2021–22 school year with the community on Friday, Aug. 6.
The health and safety of the entire USM community continues to be the primary driver in all decision making. Should the need to implement distance learning arise again in the future, USM has the technology and experience necessary to make it work for students and teachers.
The links above provide additional information about many of USM’s efforts in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in our community, as well as how the school continues to provide an exceptional educational experience for all students. The spirit of the community is strong, and the systems in place at USM have kept the school community safe. Please continue to support USM as we work together to navigate the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus.
University School of Milwaukee tested all students, faculty, and staff following extended school breaks. Students using distance learning, and any individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous three months, did not need to be tested. This return-to-campus testing was conducted at no cost to families, and families were free to arrange alternate testing if they wished. All individuals tested at USM were given a rapid antigen test; if the result of one of those tests was positive, that individual was then given a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, with that result typically known within 24 hours.
Return from Thanksgiving Break Testing (conducted Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2020):
- 1,156 total tests given
- 2 total confirmed positive results
Return from Winter Break Testing (conducted Jan. 4 and 5, 2021):
- 1,216 total tests given
- 3 total confirmed positive results
Return from Spring Break Testing (conducted March 29, 2021):
- 1,266 total tests given
- 0 total confirmed positive results
Do you have additional questions regarding the school’s COVID-19 protocols, learning modes, or other things related to the school’s operations during the pandemic? If so, please email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.