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Governor Tony Evers has ordered all K-12 schools in Wisconsin to close. Evers on Friday directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm 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 18th, 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, 2020; however, the reopening date is subject to change pending further information.

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor issued a statement.

“The safety and health of our students, educators, and families remain of the highest importance. When considering the length of school closures, we are asking our local school districts and local health departments to be in close coordination in making these decisions.

We know schools are thinking about the anticipated academic and economic impacts, and unintended impacts of these decisions, and are planning for ways to provide critical supports to kids and families, such as food insecurity.

The DPI remains in constant communication with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Administration as we continue monitoring this evolving situation. We are committed to offering our continuous support to students and educators.”

DHS reported on Friday that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus has reached 18 total statewide, and confirmed that the virus has reached new counties, including Racine, Milwaukee and Sheboygan counties.

DHS chief medical officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said the people who tested positive are mostly adults, and were exposed to the disease through international and domestic travel.

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