Tuesday, January 11, 2022
State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly backed updated COVID-19 mitigation measure K-12 school guidelines, as announced by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Monday. The guidelines were further highlighted in a letter sent to Wisconsin school administrators.
“We must all continue working together to protect our students and school staff from COVID-19 so we can keep our students healthy and engaged in learning,” State Health Officer and Administrator of the Division of Public Health Paul Tran and Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases Dr. Ryan Westergaard said in the release.
In addition to highlighting resources available to Wisconsin schools, the DHS also announced it supported updated Centers for Disease Control guidance in K-12 schools, which shortens the recommended length of isolation from 10 days to five days for people with COVID-19 who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms have resolved or are improving after five days, followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask to minimize the risk of infecting others.
“We want our kids to be in the classroom and, just as we have from the beginning of this pandemic, our administration continues working to provide the necessary support and resources our kids, educators, and districts need to be safe," Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement.
The DHS also recommended districts require students and staff who are able to properly and safely wear a mask to wear one while inside school buildings, urged schools to offer school-based vaccination and booster clinics, and encouraged schools to sign up to participate in the department’s School-Based Testing Program.
“I fully support this letter and the strategies it recommends, and I call on all district and school administrators to follow these recommendations,” Dr. Underly said in a statement. “As the state official entrusted with the quality of Wisconsin’s public education, I am proud to partner with the Department of Health Services, the state agency charged with protecting the health of all Wisconsin residents.
“We cannot keep our children engaged in learning if we cannot keep our children and our school staff healthy. To that end, in addition to calling on all school administrators to implement these mitigation measures, I also ask all Wisconsinites for their help in keeping our children and school staff healthy and safe. We must work together to achieve the common goal of healthy kids, healthy educators, and safe schools.”
For more information on COVID-19 and Wisconsin K-12 schools, visit the DPI’s website at https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/2019-novel-coronavirus and the DHS’ website at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/schools.htm.