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Waiver and Alternative Compliance Information

Waiver and Alternative Compliance Information


Exemptions from School Start Date Law

For information about one-year exemptions from the school start date law, please see Commencement of School Term (School Start Date) Information.

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The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for Wisconsin school districts. In response, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) created a process for districts to accommodate varying and shifting health needs within their communities. The DPI did so in part by granting waivers from certain legal requirements using its authority under Wis. Stat. s. 118.38.

Wis. Stat. §118.38 provides the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) with authority to waive many provisions of state law and administrative rule at the request of a school board, with certain exceptions. The DPI has developed a voluntary form to aid school boards seeking a waiver:

§118.38 Waiver Application

The DPI is available to answer any questions school districts may have regarding waiver alternatives, specifically to identify flexibilities that may already exist for districts to use. The DPI encourages districts to work with their own legal counsel in developing any request for waiver.

Alternative Compliance with the 20 Standards

Information on how to seek approval for a plan for alternative compliance for any of the school district standards found under PI 8.01(2) is detailed under PI 8.01(3) of the administrative code. A school district requesting approval of alternative compliance under this subsection shall submit a written request to the state superintendent by September 1 if the alternative compliance plan is to be implemented during the spring semester; by March 1 if the alternative compliance plan is to be implemented during the fall semester.

Waiver, school start date exemption, and alternative compliance requests should be emailed to