WASB COVID-19 Advocacy & Government Relations Resources
Statewide Executive and Other Emergency Orders
- 3/31/21: Supreme Court: Gov. Evers exceeded his authority in issuing multiple COVID-related public health emergency orders
- On February 4, 2021, Gov. Tony Evers issued a new executive order to declare a new public health emergency and statewide mask mandate almost immediately after the GOP-controlled state legislature, arguing that the governor had exceeded his statutory authority, repealed his previous executive order. This order is in effect until repealed by a joint resolution of the legislature or a ruling in a case pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Read more
- On 11/29/20, the DPI published Emergency Rule 2043 which modifies PI 34 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code and is intended to create licensing flexibilities to help address staffing needs in school districts during the pandemic and provide flexibilities for student teaching requirements in clinical programs.
- The emergency rule establishes conditions under which a short-term substitute teacher may teach any subject at any grade level for longer than 45 consecutive days in the same assignment. The applicable conditions depend on the license that the short-term substitute teacher holds.
- Under the emergency rule, student teaching experiences within an educator preparation program may occur in school settings that are in alignment with the cooperating school’s current plan for teaching and learning, which may include face-to-face, virtual, hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous settings. Required observations of a student teacher may be conducted in person or virtually by a program supervisor with relevant teaching experience or by the cooperating teacher.
- Under the emergency rule, a student’s supervised pre-student teaching clinical experiences do not need to occur “onsite” in a school setting. Instead, such experiences may occur in any of “a variety of settings related to effective instruction, safe and supported students, family and community engagement, or building meaningful relationships with students in prekindergarten through grade 12.” Observations of a student within their pre-student teaching clinical experiences that are used for evaluating the student’s performance may include recorded instruction, reviews of lesson plans, and teaching materials that include reflections by students about what went well with the teaching and learning events and how they would improve them next time.
- For additional information, refer to WASB’s New Law Bulletin addressing Emergency Rule 2043. This rule change was also addressed by WASB Legislative Services Staff in the November WASB Legal and Legislative Update Webinar.
- When considering any extended substitute teacher assignments, DPI reminds school officials that “the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires special education teachers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree and does not permit licensure requirements to be waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis. Therefore, an individual must hold a provisional, lifetime, master educator, or a one- or three-year license with stipulations in special education in the grade or developmental level they are assigned to in order to teach special education for more than 45 consecutive days.”
- WASB Government Relations Staff’s memo entitled “Wisconsin’s Estimated Share and Permissible Use of Federal Funding Under the CARES Act”, which summarizes the allocation process and the permissible uses for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding (issued April 2, 2020). School leaders should be aware that the CARES Act requires that public school districts receiving these funds must provide equitable service to non-public schools. School leaders should also be aware that the Act contains language that conditions the receipt of federal education stabilization funds by local educational agencies (e.g., school districts), states, institutions of higher education, or other entities, upon those entities continuing, to the greatest extent practicable, to pay employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures related to the coronavirus.
- DPI School Financial Services COVID-19 Updates, which include a frequently asked questions document regarding school finance and COVID-19 and an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) FAQs document. School districts should check the FAQs frequently as they are continually updated as more information is available.
- U.S. Department of Education Coronavirus Resources, which includes information and resources related to CARES Act Emergency Relief.
- GASB 84 and GASB 87 are Postponed – The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has postponed the effective dates of a few recently issued GASB Statements and Implementation Guides. In particular, GASB 84 (Fiduciary Funds) and its associated Implementation Guide are postponed to 2020-21. GASB 87 (Leases) and its Implementation Guide are postponed to 2021-22. The GASB encourages and permits early implementation of these statements, including GASB 84, but statements cannot be partially implemented. See this DPI web page for additional information.
- DPI Provides Guidance on Federal Maintenance of Effort – According to this DPI web page, the existing local education agency “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirements under the IDEA remain in place, and no additional exceptions have been added to address any shortfalls in expenditures due to the COVID-19 national emergency.
- Communications Tips
When communicating with employees, students and families about Coronavirus, here are a few helpful key messages and tips to keep in mind:
- The priority is the health and safety of students and employees.
- Schools work closely with public health officials and rely heavily on their guidance because they are the experts.
- Local and state health departments are the best resources for current information about coronavirus.
- Emphasize what is known at the time of the communication.
- Include the date/time in all communications, including social media posts, because information can change quickly.
- Include best hygiene practices in communications.
- Create a web page that can be easily updated to links with the most current information from reliable sources, including the local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control.
- The best way to combat rumors and speculation is easy access to reliable information.
- Boards Taking Action – See what districts are telling their legislators and community members about their response to the pandemic. (COVID-19 Responses tab)
- WASB Board President Form Op Ed for School Boards to thank their staff
- WASB Remote Meeting Tips
- Donovan Group: Coronavirus Communication for School Leaders including a National Communications Plan for Returning to School
- National School Public Relations Association resources, including:
- U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology Resource – Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide (issued 10/23/20 – This guide is intended to help parents/caregivers monitor their child’s progress as the child accesses and uses technology for learning.)