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Gov. Tony Evers mandates statewide closure of all K-12 schools, public and private

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MADISON -- Gov. Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on Friday, March 13 to issue an agency order mandating the statewide closure of all K-12 schools, public and private, as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

The mandated closure will begin on Wednesday, March 18, in order to give school districts ample time to make plans for kids, families, educators, and staff. School districts, particularly those in counties with reported cases of COVID-19, may choose to close earlier than Wednesday. The anticipated reopening date is April 6. However, the reopening date is subject to change pending further 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.

On Thursday, March 12, 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.

Decisions about the implementation of 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 handwashing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face;
  • Staying home when sick.
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