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DHS releases guidelines for COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released guidance Wednesday on how local and tribal health departments should handle school reopenings.

The 36-page document covers how health agencies can control outbreaks of COVID-19. The guidance is specifically for K-12 schools and does not cover high learning institutions.

“Education, health, and safety all go hand-in-hand, and that is why this pandemic has made school this fall such a complicated issue,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a written statement. “Whether it’s in-person instruction or virtual learning, we know it’s going to be a difficult start to the school year, and we’re going to have to keep working together to figure out how to best serve our kids.”

Before being elected governor, Evers served as the state superintendent of schools.

“We know that this virus is highly transmissible, and that we have high levels of COVID-19 activity across the state,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We developed this guidance because we want local and tribal health departments to be prepared so that, when outbreaks occur, they can act quickly to address cases and prevent further spread.”

In addition to the new written guidance, DHS said its public health experts will work alongside local health departments to provide technical assistance to school districts. The agency will also extend resources and assistance when an outbreak is identified.

The new guidelines came in addition to similar advice the state gave to school districts in June.

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