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Information on COVID-19

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​​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.”


Prior Department of Health Services (DHS) Orders
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
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 two websites devoted to COVID-19. DHS’s COVID-19 webpage contains Guidance for School Districts, Travel and Large Community Events and Mass Gatherings. ​​

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 SARS-CoV2?

SARS-CoV2 is a new strain of coronavirus that had not previously caused disease in humans but has now become capable of infecting people. It was discovered in China in December 2019 and has now spread internationally as well as to the United States. Public health officials are actively investigating this virus to learn more about its impact. ​​​​​​People who get sick with SARS-CoV2 develop mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Illness can begin 2 to 14 days after an exposure.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

Health experts are still learning the details about exactly how this new coronavirus spreads, but so far the research shows that the disease is spread similarly to other respiratory viruses such as influenza.

COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic. The latest situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the United States, are available on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary


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. Included on this page is the 21st CCLC FAQ for commonly asked questions and answers related to the impact of COVID-19 on program operations.

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 you and your community navigate the decisions ahead and look at what continuity of learning you can provide in this unprecedented situation, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) wants to ensure that the agency is eliminating barriers in your ability to do this. Therefore, the department has created forms to expedite waiver processes due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. 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.

Virtual Learning/Online Learning
It is crucial for schools to have continuity of learning if/when instructional time is impacted for any reason. DPI has provided information and created some resources to help you get started in your planning for Virtual Learning Time. The WI DPI District Planning and Implementation Resources for VLT - Continuity of Learning web page includes resources on planning, leadership resources, school operations in extended closures, instructional supports, related services during virtual learning, and online summer school. Resources are updated daily with contributions from our national and state partners as well as Wisconsin districts.

COVID-19 Infrastructure, Hardware, and Internet Access Information

Resources for Families and Schools

Technology Assistance


Internet Offers: In response to the FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge, several Wisconsin providers are offering resources to enable K-12 students to connect to the internet at home. This site is hosted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission

Portable Access Also in response the FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge, This page lists offers currently provided by cell phone carriers

Connectivity Programs A curated list of state and federal connection programs

Information and Resources Including but not limited to information for Cyber security and student data privacy during virtual learning times



Helping Children Cope

Focus on Mental Health and Wellness During School Closure - This resource provides mental health and wellness resources, organized by the four topic areas below:

  • General Mental Health and Wellness
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellness
  • Parent, Caregiver, and Educator Mental Health and Wellness
  • Positive Parenting and Safe Home Environments

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - A Parent Resource: This document provides guidance to parents on how to provide accurate prevention information and facts to students without causing undue alarm. (National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses)

World Health Organization - Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCov outbreak

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress has a dedicated webpage - "Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks Response" with fact sheets for the public that address how to care for self/others to reduce distress and allow people to function more effectively.

Parent caregiver guide to helping families cope COVID-19

Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Social Distancing During School Closures 3/30/20

UW-Madison - Dealing with financial impacts (unemployment, food assistance, etc.)

UW-Madison - Helping families prep older children to stay home by themselves for part or all of the day

For questions about this information, contact