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COVID-19 - Updates and Resources

Monday, March 16, 2020  
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COVID-19 - Updates and Resources
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI is disseminating to district administrators updated information often. We suggest you check the district administrators' email chrono page often. This page contains a chronological listing of those emails and attachments, if any. We will also share information in our weekly update, but checking the link will ensure you are receiving timely information. We may also send this Division for Learning Support newsletter more frequently if we receive timely, pertinent information we feel you should have.

Also, we would like to highlight some information regarding virtual learning.

Accommodation Support: All Students Who Have Accommodations for Instruction Will be Provided With or Have Access to Those Accommodations.
  • Plan ahead to ensure student IEP teams have met to consider whether any accommodations are required for the student to continue to access Virtual Learning, and if so, they are documented in the student’s IEP. IEP teams need to consider if it is appropriate for services to be administered online. See Wis. Stat. § 115.76(15). See DPI information about the Use of Telespeech as a Service Delivery Method for Speech and Language Services.
  • Work with students and caregivers ahead of the Virtual Learning Time to clarify expectations for learning and how support will be offered prior to and on the day.
  • Open buildings and provide services, when possible on planned days, for any students needing an alternative to online learning.
  • Reschedule special education services that cannot be provided virtually within a reasonable amount of time.

With Governor Evers today declaring a public health emergency for the state of Wisconsin it is important that school districts stay informed and remain in close contact with their local public health departments. The DPI’s SARS-CoV2 webpage is regularly updated to reflect the current situation with this novel coronavirus being monitored by the CDC. Additions this week include:

Local health departments request that if school districts cancel events or school activities related to COVID-19 concerns that they inform the local public health department of these decisions.

To get the latest information being sent to school nurses, contact State School Nurse/Health Services Consultant Louise Wilson at or (608) 266-8857. Please feel free to contact Louise if you have any questions regarding COVID-19.

Equity Lens
We encourage leaders to consider equity as school leadership teams discuss updating protocols and policies related to planning for a pandemic. 

Closing schools has numerous considerations and consequences, which must be weighed, including the difference in impact on our marginalized populations. For example, if a district is considering online learning options, considerations would include 

  • ensuring all students have access to the required technology and internet connection, as well as all learning and required materials
  • considering student needs related to differentiated instruction and specialized supports, including attention to fulfilling requirements outlined in individualized education programs (IEPs)
  • training staff, students, and caregivers on how to use the system and ensure there are clear expectations related to use and assignments
  • considering how to track attendance of students and staff
  • ensuring there is a level of security built into the system that prevents the release of personally identifiable information or tampering with the system
  • planning for providing school meals to those in need

[adapted from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (click here)]

Reducing Stigma and Stopping Harassment
Risks associated with Corona Virus are not connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. It is important to ensure communications provided by the school district combat stigma and bias and inform the community of accurate and current information. Consider images that are shared and ensure they do not reinforce stereotypes. Combat negative comments in public forums and online. Engage with stereotyped groups and offer support.

Student and Staff Mental Health

Involve Students in Solutions
Trauma research tells us that people who are able to take some sort of positive action in, or immediately after, a crisis have reduced negative outcomes after the crisis. Consider opportunities to involve students in positive meaning-making around the situation and to engage them in positive action. Can older students help teach younger students how to wash their hands? Can students write letters of support to local nursing home residents who are vulnerable? Can students help design the online learning process now, while schools are open? What are the social emotional learning opportunities and other learning opportunities here that can also help students feel less helpless and more solution-oriented? A crisis can produce growth depending on how it's framed. Remind individuals of their strengths and that we are all in this together.

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