KUSD continues to monitor local, state and national updates regarding the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, in order to make informed decisions regarding the safety of our students, staff and community members. We want to share updates we have received thus far, along with changes we will be implementing in the near future. Attached is a copy of what will be sent to families as well.
At 11:30 a.m., Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency. The declaration, according to the media, would allow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to supersede existing rules and allow them to purchase, store and distribute medications as needed, regardless of recipients healthcare coverage, and will direct state funds to locals for costs related to quarantine. The DHS is not recommending school closures or other mass closures at this time.
Around 3 p.m., the Kenosha County Health Department released a statement regarding travel and social gathering restrictions. Below is a excerpt from the release:
“Our foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Kenosha County’s residents and employees from coronavirus,” Kreuser said. “These declarations on the county and state levels are aimed at positioning us to receive resources to minimize the effects of what the World Health Organization has officially declared a pandemic.”
The Kenosha County Division of Health is recommending guidelines for individuals, businesses and organizations to follow, as preventive measures.
- All assisted living and long-term care facilities are to limit visitors beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, until further notice. This means visitors should not be allowed to come into these facilities, except for in certain circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. Employees and vendors will be screened daily.
- Visitors will be restricted from the Kenosha County Jail and Detention Center.
- Organizers of public gatherings of 50 or more people are encouraged to cancel these events, to reduce opportunities for person-to-person virus transmission.
- People at higher risk are encouraged to stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. Higher-risk individuals include:
- People 60 and older.
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
- People with weakened immune systems.
- Social distancing is encouraged. This means attempting to remain six feet away from other people and avoiding handshaking and other unnecessary contact.
- Nonessential travel for all individuals is discouraged. Those planning trips should weigh the benefits of going versus not going.
- People are encouraged to work remotely if possible. Kenosha County is evaluating what services can be provided by county employees working from home, and businesses are encouraged to do the same.
Dr. Jen Freiheit, director of the Kenosha County Division of Health, said her staff is now working in incident command mode, actively responding to local reports and information coming from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is not media hype. This is not government overreacting,” Freiheit said, of the declaration of emergency and its accompanying guidelines. “This is your Kenosha County government being proactive, being preventative, on behalf of the health and safety of our residents.”
To ensure the safety of all, and to align with the aforementioned recommendations, the district has made the following decisions:
- Schools are currently open until further notice. We will continue to work closely with the Kenosha County Health Department to monitor the situation and will follow their guidance regarding school closures.
- An out-of-district travel ban will be implemented effective Friday, March 13, 2020, through July 31, 2020.
- This means all staff and student travel plans, including field trips, will be canceled.
- Questions regarding refunds for any trips should be directed to the field trip organizer or building principal.
- The expiration of the ban will be re-evaluated in July.
- Effective Friday, March 13, 2020, all non-essential student/staff gatherings (e.g. school assemblies) are canceled until April 9 and will be re-evaluated at that time.
- Events with less than 50 people that are held in an area that allows for the recommended 6’ distancing may be held at the discretion of the event host (e.g. family education programs, etc.)
- Families are discouraged from traveling internationally and are encouraged to follow the guidance of the Kenosha County Health Department regarding non-essential travel, learn more here.
- Students who travel for personal reasons to any areas deemed an Alert Level 3 or 4 will be asked to report this form of travel to their school and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.
- Students showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Families who do not want to send their child to school are not exempt from the compulsory attendance requirements, but may:
- Call their child in for up to 10 days as an excused absence per Board Policy 5310. Beyond 10 days a student would be considered truant.
- Per Board Policy 5310, a student may also be excused for medical absences, such that any absence that has been excused by an authorized medical professional provides specific date (s) and time period in which the student is excused from attending school.
- Extended absence is any absence that is four or more consecutive days. For extended absences, due to illness, a statement from an authorized medical professional may be required by the principal.
- Excessive excused absences are ten or more cumulative days of absence, consecutive or non-consecutive within the school year. Principals may require medical documentation for any excessive absence to be excused. If appropriate medical documentation is not provided, the absence will be unexcused. Unexcused absences will be considered truancy.
- The time period for which any medical certification is valid may not exceed thirty (30) days.
- Enroll in a homeschooling program, thereby withdrawing your child from KUSD.
- We are working on contingency plans to reconfigure scheduling of spring sports if long-term cancellation occurs using WIAA guidance
As it relates to staff, the following has been decided:
- Staff members who are sick are encouraged to stay home.
- Staff members are discouraged from traveling internationally. Staff who travel for personal reasons to any areas deemed an Alert Level 3 or 4 will be required to self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.
- The district will temporarily require benefit-eligible employees to use sick or vacation time during this self-quarantine.
- Staff will be required to have a doctor send confirmation of testing.
- Staff showing symptoms may be requested to go home and provide a fitness for duty to return to work
- Staff showing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider.
- Staff who have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider.
- Should the district be ordered to close, staff will follow Policy 3643, however, a temporary exception will be made to also allow for the use of sick time should this situation arise in relation to the coronavirus.
- Staff who do not have vacation or sick time will be in an unpaid status and as such will not earn benefits such as sick and vacation during the unpaid status.
Additional resources, including hand washing techniques, how to cover your cough, and others are available at kusd.edu.
We appreciate your understanding and support as we continue to work with health agencies to monitor this situation.
Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis
Superintendent of Schools