WISCONSIN (NBC 26) -- Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue an agency order mandating the statewide closure of all K-12 schools, public and private, as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Wisconsin.
The mandated closure will begin Wednesday, March 18, in order to give school districts ample time to make plans for kids, families, educators, and staff.
School districts, particularly those in counties with reported cases of coronavirus, may choose to close earlier than Wednesday.
According to the governor's office, anticipated reopening date is April 6, but is subject to change pending further information.
“Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue our work to respond to and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Evers.
Earlier Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 11 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 19 cases, including one individual who has recovered.
The governor signed an executive order that directs DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidences of coronavirus on Thursday. This allows the Department to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications regardless of insurance or other health coverage. It also authorizes state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.
“Kids and families across Wisconsin often depend on our schools to access food and care,” Gov. Evers continued. “We are going to continue working to do everything we can to ensure kids and families have the resources and support they need while schools are closed.”
Decisions about the implementation of other community measures will be made by state and local officials based on CDC and DHS guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.
Schools in our area who made the decision to close earlier than March 18 and stay closed later than April 6 are listed below:
Shawano schools closing for 4 weeks. All public schools will be closed beginning March 14 through April 12.
Clintonville Public Schools will be closed March 14 through April 6 at the earliest.
Howard Suamico schools will close starting March 18 until April 12.
Oneida Headstart / Early Headstart will close March 16 through April 6.
Pulaski Community School District will be closed starting March 18 through April 14.
The Denmark School District will be closed to all students and community members next week Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17.