DPI updates guidance for school districts during COVID-19 closures

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- School districts across the state will be able to request a waiver from DPI regarding hours of instruction because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Wisconsin Department of Instruction announced an update for school districts on Monday.

DPI will grant a waiver to the hour requirement to districts requesting to do so during the public health emergency.

The department will address the issue of waivers based on the severity and length of the situation. It says it will be empathetic to the ability of a district to reasonably meet the hours requirement.

State law specifies the number of hours of direct instruction a school district must provide during the school year so students have equal opportunity to be educated.

DPI is also asking the U.S. Department of Education to waive its mandated assessments for Wisconsin. It will be working with state lawmakers and Gov. Evers on suspending state testing requirements this Spring due to current circumstances. This may impact policy changes for the annual Accountability Report Cards.

“The DPI is taking action to remove barriers that may be in the way of our schools and students during these trying times,” State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “I am proud of our schools and communities, who remain focused on providing continuity of learning, and providing meals and other resources to students who may need them.”

Students from economically-disadvantaged families will have access to school meals during closures.

DPI says its Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option waiver to the U.S. Department of Agriculture was approved. The waiver allows meals during unexpected school closures and non-school sites.

The department is also pursuing exemptions to regulations preventing districts from providing meals to students.