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Milwaukee School District to Keep Mask Mandate ‘Indefinitely’

AP Photo/Denis Poroy


In light of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) decision to keep the mask mandate, "indefinitely," Tea Party Patriots Action (TPPA) Honorary Chairman Jenny Beth Martin issued a statement.


"Understanding body language and nonverbal cues are an essential part of child development for communication. This absurd policy will cause irreparable harm to these kids’ development as the rest of America’s kids develop normally. Why? So adults can feel less afraid? Since when do we use children as a shield to protect adults? This is government-imposed child abuse and it must end," she said.

Martin had also condemned mask mandates in a column for Townhall earlier this month, while offering some hope that it will help Republicans in the midterms. "Never Ending Mask Mandates Bode Well for Republican Midterms," she wrote, especially considering it looked to have helped Republicans last November in the Virginia and New Jersey statewide elections. 


Last weekend, I highlighted how the Madison School District was one of the remaining to have a mask mandate in place, in Dane County, and in the country. Believe it or not, a crazier story came out of another Wisconsin district this week, as the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system decided to put the mandate in effect "indefinitely," which is supported by Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson, as cited in TMJ4, a local NBC outlet. 


"Absolutely, I think masks are very effective in the school setting," Johnson claimed. "We know that our vaccinations are really low for children in the city of Milwaukee, which is absolutely a consideration for thinking about putting on masks."

"Based on the latest numbers and trends, I am concerned," she continued. "Across the board, numbers in all categories are increasing, so that gives me pause. Would I want to be in an enclosed space with many people without a mask on? No, I would not." Not only does Johnson not want to be around others not masked, she is supporting that decision being enforced on others. 

The district has also been going through a nauseating back-and-forth. Earlier this week, the district had allowed students to go without masks for a single day on Tuesday upon returning from spring break, before reversing the decision. 

From WISN 12, a local ABC News outlet:


By the end of the day [on Tuesday], that choice was no longer an option.

"We made it clear there that if the case burden/positivity rate moved to substantial transmission, which is orange, the district would revert to the mandatory mask policy, and that's what happened," MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley said Wednesday.

He said before making the decision, he consulted with the unions and the Milwaukee Health Department.

Public health officials continue to recommend wearing face masks in schools, but the commissioner stopped short of sounding the alarm.

"We're at roughly 50 cases per 100,000, which is in the medium category of concern of risk, which mid-December we were well over 1,000 cases per 100,000, so when you put it in the context of the overall pandemic, it's not nearly what we've seen previously," Kirsten Johnson said.

Still, the latest case burden moved MPS past its threshold, making masks mandatory again.

"I understand the frustration that parents and staff face here, but what I want to make sure we do everything we can from a mitigating strategy to make sure all of our students, staff and our community is safe," Posley said.

The report went on to indicate that MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley "added that he wanted to assure parents that when the city COVID-19 case burden dips back under the substantial transmission level, they'll again consider making masks optional again."


Given the recent decision to keep the mask mandate in place indefinitely, these assurances do not seem to have amounted to much. 

As bears reminding every time mask mandates are in place, in late February, shortly before President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their masking guidelines, including for schoolchildren. Counties that are considered at "low" or "medium" risk for the Wuhan coronavirus, do not have to wear a mask according to CDC guidelines, though those at "high risk for severe illness" in "medium" counties are advised to talk to their doctor about masking. Milwaukee County is considered to be at "low" risk. 

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