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New COVID-19 Guidance, Graduation Message from State Superintendent Stanford Taylor

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Dear District Administrators,

This email provides new guidance related to closing out the school year and upcoming summer activities, additional information from the Department of Health Services (DHS) regarding Pandemic EBT benefits, and a graduation message to students from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor.

New Guidance

These documents represent guidance from the state level, but are not requirements. There may be restrictions or requirements that apply to you based on local health orders. The department recommends you work with your local health authority, insurance carrier, and legal counsel in determining use of your facilities.

Closing out the School Year

DPI, in consultation with DHS, is providing Packing-Up. Picking-Up, and Returning School Items during COVID-19 guidance. This guidance addresses planning for teachers and staff to safely return to school to pack up personal belongings and for students to return school-issued items and retrieve personal belongings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minimizing Health Risks

Interim COVID-19 Infection Control and Mitigation Measures for Schools is meant to support local planning. This guidance was developed by DPI in consultation with DHS and constitutes what is considered promising practice at the current time based upon what is currently known and understood regarding COVID-19. Any decision about the use of the school should be made in consultation with local health authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on the level of COVID-19 transmission in your community, the capacities of your local public health department and health care systems, and other relevant factors. DPI is continuing to work on related and more detailed guidance on reopening schools.

Summer Activities

DHS released Interim Guidance on Summer Camps and Youth Sports. Please contact your local health authority if you have questions about either of these documents.

Application Information for Pandemic EBT Benefits

As shared previously, Wisconsin has been approved to issue temporary food benefits, called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT, to children who attend schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and who would normally receive free or reduced price school meals if school were not closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits are in addition to the free meals being served to students at 447 sites throughout Wisconsin. The P-EBT benefits do not impact schools supplying meals to students. Students can still receive free meals from their schools at this time through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

DHS is leading this work and issued P-EBT benefits by May 10 to families whose information is on file and can be verified. Families whose information is not on file or cannot be verified will need to apply for the benefits. DHS needs your help notifying these families.

Please use this email text, provided by DHS, containing information on the application process. Schools are encouraged by DHS to copy the text, add their contact information, and share with families who would normally receive free or reduced price school meals. For more information about these benefits, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor message to the Class of 2020

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor is thinking of and celebrating Wisconsin’s Class of 2020. Please share her video congratulatory message with your graduating seniors.

If you are seeking other information related to COVID-19, DPI’s COVID-19 web page continues to host the most recent guidance and resources.