Here are today’s updates related to COVID-19 and our district. 

Updated travel / a change in self-quarantine guidance from Public Health 

Yesterday, March 11, we shared that Public Health Madison & Dane County was advising Dane County residents to self-quarantine for 14 days if they had traveled to areas with coronavirus (Level 2 and 3 countries with widespread illness and domestic travel to states with more than 10 cases). [12/13/2020 update: Based on new information from the CDC, Public Health Madison & Dane County is now recommending residents postpone or cancel nonessential travel to areas with COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION of coronavirus. This includes both international travel to Level 2 and 3 countries with widespread illness and domestic travel to states with community transmission. (hover your mouse on the map on this page:]

When discussing this with Public Health today, they wanted to clarify that their guidance was meant for residents to self quarantine if they travel after March 11 and not before that. 

In short, if staff or students have traveled to a state with 10 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19, and returned to Dane County prior to or on March 11, Public Health is NOT advising that they need to stay home from school in self-quarantine. 

Planning for a possible school closure 

At this time, Public Health Madison & Dane County is working with school districts to keep them open as long as possible. We have been in daily contact with health officials to monitor and plan for the possibility of risk levels in Dane County escalating. 

As this outbreak continues to evolve each day,  we are taking steps to prepare contingency plans that include school closures, and further planning around ensuring that students have access to breakfast, lunch and wireless connectivity for any online enrichment resources made available for instruction when at home. 

As MMSD takes these precautionary steps to maintain a continued state of readiness, we encourage our families to do the same by beginning to prepare your own family-specific contingency plan for if there is ever a time we need to close schools.

Some things you are likely thinking about include:

  • Childcare 

  • Retrieving any prescription medication that is kept at school that your child will need 

  • Making sure your child brings their digital device home

  • Potential enrichment activities for your student while they are home 

Keeping your child home from school if school is open 

We understand that if schools remain open, you may have concerns about your child’s health and may not want to send them to school. We encourage and strongly support you in making the decision that is best for your child. You are always the best judge of their health and safety.  This would be considered an excused absence.

Hand washing

My child reports that there isn’t enough time for the whole class to wash hands before and after snack time and lunch.  What changes are being made to allow staff and students adequate time to wash their hands frequently? 

Messaging has gone to principals to create time in their teacher schedules for hand washing practices within their buildings.

Food service 

What precautions are being taken to avoid spreading germs in cafeterias?

Food & Nutrition is taking steps to reduce opportunities for food to be touched by multiple people. This includes things like shutting down garden bars, serving individually wrapped items and new protocols for handing out milk, a la carte items, condiments and other items. 

These changes will be implemented effective Monday, March 16. 

Student anxiety

My child is afraid of going to school because of COVID-19. 

Our Student Services staff are working on a coordinated, responsive approach to helping students who are feeling anxious. Some resources for families include the following:

Updated school visitor procedure

Schools will be asking all visitors questions related to travel, contact with infected individuals, and flu symptoms when checking in. 

Be well, 

Jane Belmore

Interim Superintendent