The city of Milwaukee announced that it would reinstate its mask mandate in public schools just one day after making masks optional for students and staff in school buildings.
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) first announced in March that masks would be optional starting April 18, but on Tuesday, a day after the new rule was set to take effect, MPS announced that masks would be mandatory. The decision was made “after determining a significant transmission of the virus within the city of Milwaukee,” according to MPS.
The school district told local Milwaukee outlet WTMJ that it would revert back to a mask-optional policy if no more than 1.5 percent of a school building tests positive, a standard that only one school in the district is currently meeting.
Safety procedures will remain in place in the district for the time being, and staff and students are encouraged to take steps to protect against the spread of the virus including physical distancing and following quarantine and isolation practices, MPS said.
The seven day average of COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee nearly doubled from the day MPS announced the decision to eliminate mask mandates to an average of 47 daily cases on April 15, the City of Milwaukee Health Department reported.
The news comes as the BA.2 strain, a subvariant of omicron that appears to be more transmissible, has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.