As you may have seen in the news today, Governor Evers announced that he will be issuing a “Safer At Home” order to further slow this pandemic, to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to take our loved ones' safety very seriously. 

Details about the order are expected to be released on Tuesday. We strongly encourage you to follow the order, as we must all do our part for the health and well being of our community.  When more information on the Governor’s order is provided to us, I assure you MMSD will be working hard to understand, communicate and respond to how this will affect MMSD operations as quickly as possible.

Virtual learning

We also recognize, in the days ahead, the need for additional resources for virtual learning. We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that our students continue to learn and have contact with their teachers and classmates. We will be working as much as possible on the varying needs of our students and families.  We will be providing more information in the upcoming days that will provide more details on MMSD's plan for virtual learning, set to launch the first week of April. 

Access to devices and internet 

Many of you have reached out to inquire about access to digital devices and internet for your students. We want to make sure that every student who needs a device gets access to one. Watch for a text today if you have not already received one asking you about your child’s access to a device and internet.  It is critical that families respond to this survey so that we are able to support you during this time. Our research office relies on a thorough outreach strategy in order to reach every family. 

Free, nutritious meals continue to be available  - children do not need to be present

Remember that free, nutritious meals continue to be available at sites throughout the city. Your children do not need to be present for you to pick up meals for them. Simply let the food service staff know how many lunches and breakfasts you need for the children you will be giving meals to. You will not be asked for any form of identification. We are handing out lunch and breakfast for the following day simultaneously, so families would only have to visit the site once daily. You can pick up meals by car or on foot – whatever is safest for you and your family.

We hear you

There is a lot of worry and anxiety in our community as our families ask important questions about graduation, grades, and a possible extended school year to name a few. Please know that we hear you.  Districts across the state are grappling with these same questions, and please know that we are preparing for multiple scenarios of how to care for our community.  

School districts are working together in close contact with our public health, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and other government officials to plan and prepare for what lies ahead.  As this crisis evolves, we will be resilient and make adjustments along the way to continue to serve our students and community to the best of our ability.  

P.S. “Stay at home. Vote by mail.” Officials are urging everyone who can to vote in the April 7 election by absentee ballot. You can get started at https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/VoteAbsentee

Dear Families,

Thanks for your patience as we work through the events that have been occurring and planning for what lies ahead. We hope you and your family are staying well, and we know that many of you are looking forward to a Virtual Learning experience for your child. 

We want to share some important information with all of you as we prepare to transition to Virtual Learning. While we do not know how long our buildings will be closed, we want to be prepared for 4K-12 MMSD Virtual Learning for as long as it is necessary.  

We are currently planning for virtual professional learning and planning time for all 4K-12 teachers and staff the week of 3/30-4/3 with an anticipated start date for students on Monday, April 6th. We will also be gathering student devices from buildings and preparing for times when families of students in grades k-4 can pick up a district device in a “grab and go” format that still reinforces social distancing.  As we continue to work on our plan to transition to Virtual Learning, it will be a requirement that all students have access to Google Education.

Please know that early next week we will be updating you on a plan from Student Services that provides students with disabilities access to the regular education curriculum, and to the extent possible, provide specially designed instruction to meet IEP goals and practices in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Additionally, in preparation for this transition a survey will be sent to families on Monday, March 23 asking about their access to both digital devices and the internet. It is critical that families respond to this survey so that we are able to support our families during this time.

In the days ahead, we will be providing you information that will help you make the transition to a Virtual Learning environment as easy as possible. This information will also be posted at mmsd.org/COVID19, located on the MMSD website, when it is available. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. The MMSD team continues to work around the clock to prepare for the transition to Virtual Learning and to further plan and prepare other challenges that lie ahead.  It has been a complex path to navigate, and we all have some distance to go, and I want you to know how much we appreciate all the support you have shown us along the way. Take care of yourselves and I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Sincerely,

Jane Belmore

Interim Superintendent

The uncertainty and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for all of us, most of all, our children. Our district will continue to provide you with updates as more information becomes available, and we encourage you to keep visiting mmsd.org/COVID19 for the latest updates.

Monitoring your family’s health

- If you or a family member develops fever and cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice and isolate yourself. Public Health Madison and Dane also has information regarding “What to Do if You are Sick or Possibly Exposed”. 

- If you have questions about your student’s Medicaid benefits or renewal, call Guillemina Montes the MMSD Family Health Liaison at MMSD at 608- 576-1197. (She also speaks Spanish). 

- According to the Harvard Coronavirus Resource website, you should also prepare to have the necessary health supplies at home. This includes at least a 30 day supply of any needed prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and other health supplies. You can find a list here, along with who to contact locally if you have questions about COVID-19

Spring Break week changed to March 23-27

- Last Friday, as part of a strategy to stem the spread of coronavirus, the School Board voted to move Spring Break to next week, the week of March 23. Just after the vote, Governor Evers announced that all Wisconsin schools would close by Wednesday, March 18. 

For families and students, the change in Spring Break week likely doesn’t have a big impact since schools are closed anyway. But we wanted to make sure you are aware since it does make a difference for school staff. School staff are not required to work over Spring Break. If your child’s teacher or principal has been communicating with you, please know that they may not be available next week. 

If your family has plans to travel over Spring Break, please do follow health advisories on travel. You can find travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here

Free healthy meals for kids (including over Spring Break)

- As a reminder, MMSD is providing free, nutritious meals for kids daily at sites around Madison. A take-home breakfast and lunch will be provided in pre-packaged paper bags at each drop-off site, once per day. Find pick-up locations and times here.

Assessment updates during school closures

- Find the most recent information regarding ACT Aspire, Forward Exam, Advanced Placement Exams, and other assessments here

Status of High School Prom and other spring events

- As we have received updated guidance from MMSD, Public Health, and both city and state  government officials over the past several days, we will be unable to hold large group school events. Unfortunately, this does include prom, which is now canceled. 

We know Prom is an important aspect of a high school experience and we are sad to have to cancel. We are very sorry that our students are missing out on so much as we face these unprecedented challenges, but the health and safety of our community remains our top priority. 

We realize that you have questions about the status of many other spring events. As a district and schools, we are reviewing each of these events. Individual high school websites are great places to learn more. 

Thank you for your time, patience and support. It is during times like these that we are all reminded of how important it is to come together as a community, to address the challenges this crisis presents us today, and plan for what lies ahead tomorrow. 

Sincerely,

Jane Belmore, Interim Superintendent 

Throughout this situation MMSD has been working with other officials in the city and county.  Childcare for health care professionals and first responders has been identified as a community priority. Please see the message below from UW Health.  Thank you and stay safe. 


We recognize the recent announcement to close all Wisconsin public schools indefinitely creates challenges for many families. To support employees during this time, UW Health is launching a program called Matching with Care. This program is intended to match all available caregivers in local communities, ranging from high school or college students to local teachers or day care providers, with UW Health staff who need emergency backup care services. 

We are asking you to consider yourselves, a family member (ex: high school or college student) or close friend (ex: local day care provider or teacher who may be out of work at this time) to complete a short survey, indicating your availability to provide care for those in need. Human Resources will review results from this survey and match it with the request of a UW Health employee in need of childcare services. Based on available matches, caregivers and staff members will be contacted directly.

Every attempt will be made to match all UW Health staff in need with an available caregiver and priority will be given to the most critical patient care staff in need of care. Please keep in mind when arranging care with the match, UW Health employees are responsible for making the agreed upon payment directly to the caregiver. Complete the survey 

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact UW Health Human Resources by calling (608) 263-6500.

As we have received updated guidance from MMSD, Public Health, and both city and state  government officials over the past several days, we will be unable to hold large group school events. Unfortunately, this does include prom, which is now canceled. 

We know you might feel disappointed, upset and sad because this is not how you envisioned your last few months of high school.  We know Prom is an important aspect of a high school experience and we are sad to have to cancel. We are very sorry that our students are missing out on so much as we face these unprecedented challenges, but the health and safety of our community remains our top priority. 

We realize that you have questions about the status of many other Spring events.  As a district and schools, we are reviewing each of these events. Our individual school websites are great places to learn more.  As a district and as schools we feel an urgency to send this information about Prom due to the planning and financial commitment that comes with attending. 

We will do everything we can to help facilitate positive, social opportunities for our students whenever and however, it is safe for us to do so in the coming months. Thank you for your understanding. We are all in this together.

Find some new additions to our COVID-19 FAQ page including important High School Announcements and information regarding Assessments.

Dear Families, 

I hope this message finds you well, as we continue to navigate the complexities that this crisis presents. I want you to know that the MMSD team continues to work hard every day to support our students’ well-being. 

One update of importance that I wanted to provide to you today is that due to recent community and statewide developments and recommendations from public health officials regarding the spread of COVID-19, MMSD is reconsidering how best to share enrichment materials. We will not be delivering materials to school sites tomorrow as previously planned. At this time the materials are online only.  More information will be coming regarding any alternative plans to distribute materials.

At this time meal delivery will continue as planned.

Please do stay updated on the latest developments to keep you and your family safe. As you may have seen in the news, Governor Evers issued a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people, effective 5 p.m. this evening. The state reported 72 positive cases of COVID-19, including 19 in Dane County. Community transmission of COVID-19 has also been identified in Dane County. 

Please do continue to visit mmsd.org/COVID19 to learn about continued community resources and support. 

Stay safe, 

Jane Belmore

Interim Superintendent 

Today Public Health Madison and Dane County announced that all Dane County schools will be closing immediately to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

ALL MMSD SCHOOLS ARE NOW CLOSED. This is an update to the email sent Friday. The anticipated reopen date is April 6, but that could change.

This will be challenging for the entire community, but together with our neighborhood partners, we will do everything we can to support our students, families and staff.

It is very important that families understand that when school is closed, we will not have required academic instruction.

Schools and district staff are working around the clock to deliver critical updates today on how to pick up any medications kept at school, where to access nutritious meals around Madison and other key details.

Throughout this afternoon and evening and in the coming days and weeks, we will be sharing numerous resources, answers and updates.

Expect to find this information on our COVID-19 webpage, mmsd.org/covid19, as well as on social media and in your email inbox.

We recognize the impact these surreal circumstances are having on all of us.  

We will be in touch very soon.

Dear MMSD Families and Staff, 

As you may have seen in the news this afternoon, at the direction of the Department of Health Services, Governor Tony Evers ordered Wisconsin schools closed by next Wednesday, March 18th to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our schools will close at the end of the day Tuesday, March 17th. The anticipated reopen date is April 6, but that could change. 

This will be challenging for the entire community, but I want you to know that we have been working closely with Public Health Madison and Dane County, Dane County Emergency Management, the Dane County Executive's Office, the City of Madison Mayor’s Office, State of Wisconsin Public Officials, Governor Evers Office, Department of Public Instruction, community organizations, many of our neighboring school districts and the state's five largest school districts to develop plans in anticipation of this. We will do everything we can to support our students, families and staff through this challenging time. 

It is very important that families understand that when school is closed, we will not have required academic instruction. We will, however, provide books, packets and enrichment opportunities for all students at every grade level. Please know that if you choose to keep your child home next Monday and Tuesday when school is open, absences will be excused and we will follow the normal attendance policy. 

We will be sharing numerous resources, answers and updates on obtaining healthy meals, free WiFi, online enrichment opportunities, and much more between now and when schools reopen. Expect to find this information on our COVID-19 webpage, mmsd.org/covid19, as well as on social media and in your email inbox.

We recognize the impact these surreal circumstances are having on all of us.  

We encourage our students to continue to find and create moments of familiarity and maintain other routines as much as possible, including communicating with friends and staying active. 

Thank you for understanding and support, and we will soon be in touch.

Jane Belmore
Interim Superintendent
Madison Metropolitan School District

As a precautionary measure, MMSD is temporarily restricting potlucks and food sharing in schools until further notice. We also ask that families avoid sending in food items to be shared with others.  We are in daily contact with Public Health Madison and Dane County, and they have asked us to implement this measure, along with other preventative measures including washing hands frequently with soap and water and staying home when you're sick. This does not limit students or staff in bringing in a lunch or personal snack from home. 

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