“Last Thursday (1/14), President-elect Joe Biden unveiled details of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package he has dubbed the “American Rescue Plan.” The proposal, which must still be considered and approved by Congress, would provide a host of new resources for pandemic-related activities such as vaccinations, treatments for patients, and direct aid to struggling families. Of note, the plan proposes $170 billion in additional emergency relief specifically for education. (more…)
This afternoon (1/18) the WASB submitted written comments via email to the Department of Health Services and its State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee’s Vaccine Subcommittee regarding its draft Phase 1B vaccine distribution recommendations.
The email read:
“The Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) is a voluntary membership association representing all 421 of Wisconsin’s locally elected public school boards, including roughly 2,800 school board members, serving in Wisconsin’s largest communities to its smallest communities.
“WASB members are deeply concerned about disruption of student learning and school activities that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our public schools provide essential services to our communities and to nearly 840,000 students. These schools provide safe places for students to learn. They feed and nurture students. They relieve parents of caretaking responsibilities during the workday. And, most importantly, these schools teach our students valuable lessons.
“From a learning standpoint, we know that in-person instruction is more effective than remote learning, and more equitable, too. However, the matter of how to provide in-person instruction safely—in a manner that protects the health of all students, staff, parents and community members—is also of vital concern. Prioritizing the vaccination of our educators and those school personnel who are essential to the delivery of educational services is a key to ensuring the continuity of in-person instruction. (more…)
Governor to extend mask mandate, GOP lawmaker plans to seek to curtail governor’s emergency authority
During a Friday COVID update news conference, Gov. Tony Evers announced that he plans to extend the statewide face coverings mandate.
The current order mandating face coverings across the state is set to expire next Tuesday (Jan. 19). The governor said his new order will extend that requirement for another 60 days as the state works on distributing vaccines. That would extend the order into March.
Following the governor’s announcement, Republican State Senator Steve Nass announced via a news statement that he plans to introduce a joint resolution in the State Legislature to immediately end the new emergency declaration and any orders issued from it. If adopted by both house of the Legislature, such a joint resolution could end the face covering mandate immediately. Stay tuned here for further developments.
On Tuesday (January 12), the state advisory panel charged with setting Wisconsin’s state plan for allocating the COVID-19 vaccine, known officially as the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) Vaccine Subcommittee, released its finalized draft recommendations for the next phase (Tier 1B) of vaccine distribution.
Among the population groups included for prioritization in the draft Phase 1B distribution plan are individuals serving in daycare, preschool, K-12 and higher education. This is promising news for schools.
The document containing the final draft is now available for public comment. The public comment period is open until 4 pm on Monday, January 18.
Public comments may be submitted to DHSSDMAC@dhs.wisconsin.gov. Please include “vaccine subcommittee” and “Phase 1B” in the email subject line.
Details released on Wisconsin’s allocation of K-12 funding under latest federal COVID-19 relief package
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020 and provides an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund).
According to figures released by the U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin’s allocation of ESSER II funds is estimated to be slightly more than $686 million, of which roughly $617.5 million (see table) would be allocated to local school districts.
As a general rule of thumb, school districts should expect their allocations under the ESSER II fund to be about four (4) times greater than their allocations under the original ESSER fund. (more…)