August 15, 2022

COVID Recommendations: An Overview

COVID Recommendations: An Overview Featured Image

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has issued its 2022-23 guidance for managing COVID-19 within school operations, calling it “a measured approach.”

In introducing its guidance, the DPI points out that school districts may choose to implement stricter mitigation strategies in line with current CDC guidance.

Included in the guidance:

  • No required contact tracing. Schools are not required to conduct contact tracing as a standard practice but should continue to work with health departments in the case of outbreaks.
  • Quarantine periods may be omitted. Asymptomatic (exposed) children and staff, regardless of where the exposure occurred, no longer need to quarantine.
  • Testing Positive for COVID-19. Students and staff who test positive should isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving and they have been fever-free for 24 hours, they may return to school/work after Day 5, masking if possible through Day 10.
  • Notifications. DPI supports broad-based efforts to notify people of a potential exposure while not performing contact tracing in schools.
  • Promoting Vaccination. Promoting COVID-19 vaccination can help schools safely continue in-person learning and activities. Schools should establish a process for collecting, maintaining and using COVID-19 vaccination information using the same protocols as other health information.
  • DPI supports the use of COVID testing in schools as a mitigation strategy.
  • Ventilation. DPI recommends installing high efficiency air filters (MERV 13 or better), and/or increasing ventilation and encourages schools to implement as many strategies as possible to maximize ventilation.
  • DPI supports CDC’s recommendation to clean surfaces daily and disinfect when there are positive cases.
  • Continue Hygiene. DPI encourages all staff and students to wash hands often or use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and cover their coughs and sneezes. Alcohol-based hand sanitizing stations are recommended at entrances, common areas in the school and classrooms.
  • Staff Considerations Protections for Staff Who Are at Higher Risk of Severe Illness. DPI encourages districts to offer options such as modified job responsibilities, alternative or remote work locations, reassignment and physical distancing measures that minimize their contact with students and other employees.
  • Staff Leave Policies. DPI encourages districts to implement and encourage paid sick leave policies and practices for staff that are flexible and non-punitive, including maintaining flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member.
  • Staff Safety. DPI encourages districts to train staff in the proper use and removal of PPE. It is noted that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards do not apply directly to public employees. However, Wisconsin law requires adoption of standards at least equal to those provided to private employees by OSHA.

New Guidance