University School of Milwaukee works closely with the North Shore Health Department to follow their COVID-19 guidance, as well as the guidance of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the school works with other area health departments as needed, as it serves students from nearly 60 different ZIP codes in Southeastern Wisconsin.

The exact steps taken by USM with any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in our school community will vary and be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the following high-level examples provide information about what families can expect in the event of positive COVID-19 cases in our community. Although written in the first person, these actions for each scenario also apply to a family’s minor children.

USM will also share its current data on the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine by division, for students, as well as for the school’s faculty/staff daycare children, and all staff. This will be published at the end of each school day on the home page of this site.

If a USM student is found to have been in close contact (defined as 15 or more minutes within 6 feet or less in any 24-hour period) with an individual who we have been notified has received a positive COVID-19 test, someone from the USM Nurse Clinic will attempt to contact that family by phone and/or email, and a hard-copy letter will also be sent to the family.

Quarantine Protocol Options

In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for individuals having close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. With the approval of the North Shore Health Department, USM now follows the new 7- and 10-day quarantine period guidance. It is important to understand how the two periods differ, and how they will work in practice here at school.

The science of the COVID-19 incubation period (2–14 days) has not changed; therefore, individuals must still observe themselves for 14 days despite the shortened 7- and 10-day quarantine options.

Families—in consultation with our nurse clinic, their local health department, and/or their physician or another medical professional—will be able to follow either of the 7- or 10-day quarantine options, depending on their situation, and this decision (or any changes to it) must be communicated to the USM nurse clinic. In certain situations, it is possible that USM may choose to make the decision to still require a longer (14-day individual or 24-day family) quarantine, again following CDC guidance and the recommendations of the school’s medical team.