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COVID-19 Closes K-12 Public and Private Schools – Employers Must Adapt

By: Abby S. Busler

On March 13, 2020, just before 5:00pm Governor Evers issued an agency order mandating the closure of all K-12 Wisconsin schools both public and private, as part of efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

This decision has a widespread impact on Wisconsin’s workforce and its public and private sector employers.  The CDC and DHS continue to provide updated guidance to address the COVID-19 virus.  One such resource is the CDC’s Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist which offers employers a starting point for both planning and reacting to the COVID-19 virus and other pandemics.

As employers, it is important to continuously monitor the CDC and Wisconsin DHS guidance for updates.  Employers have the opportunity to enact measures to help curb the spread of the virus and save lives.  As citizens, we have to look out for each other.

The DHS sets forth guidance regarding travel recommendations, including information regarding quarantines.  Per March 12, 2020 guidance, individuals that have traveled to Level 2 and Level 3 travel notice countries are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days.  It is important that employees are made aware of this and related recommendations as it may impact their decision to travel.

The guidance also sets forth domestic travel recommendations.  Specifically, the “DHS recommends against all non-essential travel to any U.S. state where CDC deems there is ‘sustained community transmission’”.  As of March 11, 2020, California, New York, and Washington are the states listed as “sustained community transmission”.  However, this pandemic is rapidly changing and other states could join that list.  Please see Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. for an updated list.

We are continuously monitoring this rapidly evolving impact to provide our clients with the most updated guidance on how best to safeguard their workforce while maintaining business operations. In the coming days please watch for updated guidance and recommendations for employers to consider when reviewing their policies and response to this ever-changing pandemic.  Please visit our resource hub for local, state, federal resources and various Davis|Kuelthau legal perspectives.  This is a dynamic developing situation, therefore, the perspectives given are at the time of the publication.

If you have any questions regarding this article or need further information about the coronavirus, please contact your Davis|Kuelthau, s.c. attorney, the author linked above, or the related practice group chair linked here.

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and provide guidance to businesses via our Coronavirus Legal and Business Resource hub.