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Gov. Evers directs DHS to order mandated statewide closure of all K-12 Wisconsin schools

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 12:06:23-04

Gov. Evers has directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue an agency order. That order is mandating the statewide closure of all K-12 schools, public and private. This is all part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

You can read the order below:

The mandated closure will begin on Wednesday, March 18th to give school districts enough time to make plans for kids, families, educators, and staff.

According to the governor's office, school districts, particularly those in counties with reported cases of COVID-19, can choose to close earlier than Wednesday. The anticipated reopening date is April 6, 2020, but that could change as we learn more information.

"Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue our work to respond to and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin," said Gov. Evers.

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On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 11 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 19 cases, including one individual who has recovered.

"Kids and families across Wisconsin often depend on our schools to access food and care," said Gov. Evers. "We are going to continue working to do everything we can to ensure kids and families have the resources and support they need while schools are closed."

On Thursday, March 12th, the governor signed an executive order that directs DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidences of COVID-19. It allows the Department to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications, regardless of insurance or other health coverage, as needed to respond to the emergency. It also authorizes state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.

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Decisions about implementing other community measures will be made by state and local officials based on CDC and DHS guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.

People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face;
  • Staying home when sick.

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