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Information on COVID-19

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​​On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction published Education Forward, a guidance document for Wisconsin district and school leaders to use as they plan for a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school for the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended officials begin review of Education Forward with Infection Control/Mitigation, which is located in the Health and Safety section. Infection Control and Mitigation includes several resources related to ensuring the health and safety of students and staff including:

  • A School Health Services Infection Control and Mitigation Toolkit
  • A Reopening School Buildings Risk Assessment Tool
  • Interim COVID-19 Transportation Guidance
  • Interim COVID-19 Cafeterias and Food Service Guidance
  • A COVID-19 Infection Control Checklist for K-12 Schools

While Education Forward is aimed at supporting schools through reopening, this will be a fluid document. It will be regularly updated in consultation with education stakeholders and the DHS to provide new information and address changing conditions to support school operations and the learning environment.

Guidance for Operating Schools During a Pandemic


Resources for Families and Schools

Families & Students

Families and Students webpage: This page contains family and student resources for learning during COVID-19.



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Featured Video

State Superintendent
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
thanks parents,
teachers, and students
for their hard
work and dedication
during the pandemic.


Department of Health Services (DHS) Orders

On April 16th, 2020, Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #28, which extends Safer at Home and makes some changes to the initial order. The changes from Emergency Order #28 will go into effect on April 24. Safer at Home order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Governor Tony Evers’ office also provided a question and answer document accompanying the order. See the Safer at Home extension FAQ.

While the Safer at Home Order continues to keep buildings closed, it does not close school operations. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) encourages schools to continue what they have been doing to provide continuity of learning and school meals. Please see the statement from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor below:

“The closure of school buildings does not mean the end of services to children. The Department of Public Instruction remains committed to supporting schools and districts as they continue to care for their students, advance continuity of learning, provide meals for students, plan for the remainder of the year, and begin to plan for summer school opportunities and next fall due to COVID-19.”

On March 24, 2020, Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #12, Safer At Home Order. This order became effective at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The order requires all individuals present within the State of Wisconsin to stay at home or at their place of residence, with exceptions.

Schools play an important role during this public health emergency. Under the order, schools may continue to be used for food distribution. Also, schools may be used for essential government functions such as functions necessary to implement distance learning. A school district may determine its own essential government function and identify the employees and contractors necessary to perform those functions. In addition, schools may continue to perform Minimum Basic Operations, including human resources functions such as processing payroll and employee benefits and preserving the physical condition of the school and its equipment. Under the order, public and private K-12 schools remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, except for facilitating distance learning or virtual learning. See Emergency Order #12 Safer at Home Order

On March 17, 2020, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, issued an order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order makes exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants and bars can only offer take-out or delivery, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts. Additionally, schools will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency, or until a subsequent order lifts this specific restriction. See the full order and a list of exemptions.
On March 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm, under the direction of Governor Tony Evers, issued an order closing schools effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, with an anticipated reopening on April 6, 2020. Additionally, Secretary-Designee Palm’s press release goes on to clarify the order goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. on March 18.

View State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor’s statement.

District Administrator Emails from Mike Thompson

new 2/26/21 - U.S. Department of Education Communication on Assessment & Accountability

2/17/21 - Educators Become Eligible for Vaccinations March 1

2/16/21 - ESSER II Funds

2/5/21 - Public Hearing Notices

2/3/21 - Vaccination Planning for Educators

2/1/21 - Instructional Materials & Professional Learning - Update on Annual Survey

1/28/21 - Mathematics Academic Standards Revision

1/15/21 - Time-sensitive: DHS Survey Regarding Vaccines

1/12/21 - Preview Reports in SAFE

1/11/21 - Message from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor

1/08/21 - Updates: Stimulus, Academic Testing, Vaccines

1/05/21- Public Hearing Notices

12/15/20 - Clarification of Virtual Instruction

12/10/20 - Preliminary Joint Federal Notification Packets - available in SAFE

12/09/20 - End of Session Memo

12/02/20 - PI 34 Emergency Rule in Effect

11/20/20 - Special Education Requirements during COVID-19

11/09/20 - Preparing for Preliminary Federal Notifications

11/05/20 - Upcoming Snapshots for Accountability Reporting and Aid Calculations

10/27/20 - Act 185 Survey Reminder

10/12/20 - Updates: ESSER Funds Grant and Digital Equity Gaps

9/28/20 - Updates: DCF Request; ESSA School Level Spending Data Release; Arts During COVID-19

9/22/20 - Governor Evers Issues New Emergency Order

9/11/20 - Updated COVID-19 District Flexibility Application

9/10/20 - Updates on Face Coverings, Meal Programs, and PPE Request

8/24/20 - Regulatory Flexibility Framework Update

8/19/20 - New DHS Guidance, DCF Resources, and Digital Equity

8/12/20 - ESSER and Guidance Updates

8/10/20 - Required Survey Under Act 185

8/7/20 - Regulatory Flexibility Framework

8/5/20 - New Health-Related COVID-19 Resources

8/3/20 - School Reopening Survey Request

7/22/20 - Update - WISEgrants Open for Federal CARES Act ESSERF Application

7/7/20 - Free Face Masks and Thermometers for Schools

7/3/20 - Updates: 1. 2019-20 School Calendar Reporting, and 2. Postponement of the 2021 YRBS

6/30/20 - COVID-19 School Bus Safety Guidance

6/22/20 - Notification of Return to School Guidance

6/15/20 - Administrative Rules Hearing – PI 34 (educator licenses) 

6/15/20 - Mask and Thermometer Allocations to Schools

6/12/20 - Updates Regarding IDEA Funds, School Reopening, and Video Messages

5/29/20 - CARES Act Update, Special Education Guidance, and DPI Waivers

5/29/20 - New COVID-19 Guidance, Graduation Message from State Superintendent Stanford Taylor

5/15/20 - Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision and USDA Waiver Updates

5/14/20 - Supreme Court Decision Regarding Safer at Home Order

5/12/20 - Online Summer School Guidance

​5/7/20 - DHS Guidance for Graduation

4/30/20 - Emergency Rule Expanding Online Summer School Options

4/29/20 - COVID-19 Updates 

4/16/20 - COVID-19 Updates

4/16/20 - Governor Evers Extends Safer at Home Order

4/8/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/31/20 - COVID-19 Letter from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor

3/27/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/26/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/24/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/23/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/20/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/19/20 - COVID-19 Updates

3/16/20 - COVID-19 Updates 

3/14/20 - K-12 SCHOOL CLOSURE FAQs

3/13/20 - COVID-19 Updates and Resources

3/10/20 - COVID-19 - Updates and Resources

2/26/20 - Coronavirus Resources and Updates

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has detailed information about the Coronavirus, including a page with information specific to schools and communities. At this time, much of the information available is about prevention, including distancing measures and good hygiene practices.

Here is the latest information from the CDC for preventing COVID-19 spread in communities.

Department of Health Services (DHS)

The DHS maintains multiple websites devoted to COVID-19. DHS’s COVID-19: Schools and Child Care webpage provides guidance for K-12 schools. The DHS Outbreaks in Wisconsin webpage provides key messages and current data that school districts may use in communicating with students, staff and parents.

What is COVID-19?

What is COVID-19?

SARS-CoV2 is a new strain of coronavirus that had not previously caused disease in humans but has now become capable of infecting people. The disease it causes is called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It was discovered in China in December 2019 and spread internationally. Public health officials are actively investigating this virus to learn more about its impact. ​​​​​​People who get sick with COVID-19 develop mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, or chills, headache, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Illness can begin 2 to 14 days after an exposure.

COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles to follow and are included in several of DPI’s guidance documents. Fortunately, there are a number of actions schools can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread


COVID-19 Questions – Contact DPI


Instructional Areas 

Click tabs below to locate the most current information on COVID-19 and its impact on specific instructional areas.


Statewide Assessments


The Office of Student Assessment has created a webpage to provide you with current updates on statewide assessments.


Other Assessments


Advanced Placement (AP) Assessments - Updates about AP testing and virtual learning/remote instruction can be found at

Language Assessments - The DPI is looking into language assessments for the two most common assessments (AAPPL and STAMP) from LTI and AVANT to fulfill the language requirement for the Seal of Biliteracy. For more information, contact Pam Delfosse at

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides economic stimulus to individuals, businesses, hospitals, and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  For more information, go to the CARES Act webpage.

Early Learning

Wisconsin’s early learning community consists of a variety of individuals, agencies and cross sector systems. For resources and information related to COVID-19 that are specific to the early care and education community, go to DPI Office of Early Learning webpage.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

For information related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including waivers for federal accountability, waivers for regarding funding requirements, and providing ESEA equitable services to private school students during the pandemic, please visit the ESEA and COVID-19 webpage.

English Learners

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) understands that guidance can change quickly as the public health emergency due to COVID-19 evolves. To keep you informed, the Teaching and Learning Team will update the Bilingual and English Learner Education webpage.


Food and Nutrition

The Wisconsin School and Community Nutrition Teams have created a Child Nutrition Program COVID-19 Information Website  to help School Food Authorities and Summer Food Service Program sponsors navigate the options for serving children meals in a non-congregate setting in the event of a school closure due to COVID-19.

Graduation Requirements

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has provided an overview of state graduation requirements and a brief summary of local authority around this issue, including grading and class promotion. In addition, the department provides strategies to deal with the current situation of school closures related to a public health emergency. For more information, go to the Graduation Requirements webpage.

Literacy and Mathematics

To plan for literacy, English language arts, and mathematics instruction during an extended school closure, please visit the Literacy and Math Team’s webpage.

Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program

For information and resources related to the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program (21st CCLC) and the public health emergency visit the 21st CCLC team webpage

Private School Choice Programs & Special Needs Scholarship Program

The Department is posting any changes to the requirements for schools participating in the Private School Choice Programs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak to the Choice Program School Information webpage. The Private School Choice Programs include the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), the Racine Parental Choice Program (RPCP) and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program or statewide program (WPCP).

The Department is posting any changes to the requirements for schools participating in the Special Needs Scholarship Program as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak to the Special Needs Scholarship Program School Information webpage.

Public and School Libraries
School Finance

For information related to school finance and the public health emergency, please visit the School Financial Services Team’s webpage. Included on this webpage is the School Finance FAQ that provides answers to questions on federal and state school funding related to COVID-19.

Special Education
Student Services/Prevention & Wellness (Pupil Services)

For resources and information related to COVID-19 that are specific to Safe Schools, Pupil Services, School Mental Health, Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse (AODA), Health Education, and Expanded Learning Opportunities, go to the Student Services/Prevention & Wellness and COVID-19 webpage.

Waivers - Private School
Waivers - Public School
State Waivers: As responses to COVID-19 vary from district to district during the 2020-21 school year, there may be some cases where school districts require more flexibility than state rules or regulations permit. To address this need, State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor is providing school districts with a streamlined option to explore locally-driven solutions that will improve outcomes for Wisconsin students. Visit the Waivers and Alternative Compliance webpage for more information


Federal Waivers: The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has been granted a number of waivers from the U.S. Department of Education to assist school districts in managing the situation created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. DPI has created a Federal Waivers – Information for LEAs document to help understand these waivers.


To find more information about how COVID-19 changes affect WISEdata reporting, review the COVID-related WISEdata Submission Guidance webpage.

Virtual/Online/Blended Learning, Digital Citizenship, Instructional Technology, Digital Learning

For questions about this information, contact