To contain the transmission of the spreading coronavirus in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers ordered the state Department of Health Services to close all K-12 schools, both public and private, on Friday.
The shutdown will begin Wednesday, March 18 and last until April 5, though it might be extended longer, according to Evers' office. Wisconsin joins 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, in canceling schools statewide.
“Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue our work to respond to and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “We are going to continue working to do everything we can to ensure kids and families have the resources and support they need while schools are closed.”
The closings affect over 1 million children — 855,000 of them in the state's public school districts. Many schools had already announced shutdowns of their own.
Evers' decision follows a city of Madison press conference Thursday, which assured residents the risk of contracting the virus remains low.
There are currently 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin — five being in Dane County — with public health officials reporting 11 new cases on Friday alone.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services is tracking new cases and testing across the state. Updates on COVID-19 can be found on their website.