University School of Milwaukee announced today that it will move all its Preschool, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School students to its USM@HOME distance learning option starting Monday, Nov. 16. This move, which is expected to last for seven school days, until the start of the school’s Thanksgiving break on Wednesday, Nov. 25, was prompted by a rising number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines, a shortage of qualified substitute teachers, and more families at the school choosing the distance learning option for their children. USM expects to again offer in-person learning following its Thanksgiving break—on Tuesday, Dec. 1 for students in prekindergarten through 6th grade, and on Wednesday, Dec. 2 for students in 7th through 12th grades.
Monday, Nov. 30, which had been planned as the first day of school following Thanksgiving break, had already been designated as a no-school day for all students. The school had previously announced that it would require on-campus learners, as well as all faculty and staff, to have a recent negative COVID-19 test result, or documentation of a positive test result in the past three months, before returning to school, following any required isolation or quarantine period. USM announced it would partner with Novir, a local, experienced testing partner, to offer COVID-19 testing on campus at no cost to members of its community, with the first round of testing offered Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. This first round is part of a comprehensive testing plan being implemented to help keep the USM community safe and the campus open for in-person learning. The school has planned a virtual town hall meeting for Monday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m., and additional information about that event is expected to be shared with school families soon.