Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Foster’s Updates
Updated: Our Health & Coronavirus/COVID-19 - 3/15/20
***Update at 2:30pm on 3/15/20: Public Health has updated their order to prohibit mass gatherings of greater than 50 persons and has closed all Dane County schools effective end of day today. This means that MMSD schools will no longer be in session on Monday or Tuesday of this week.***
What's going on?
All of you have likely been receiving news and updates from many sources over the last week. The situation with Coronavirus/COVID-19 and our local response has been changing rapidly. A good place to stay in the loop for local conditions is at the Public Health Madison & Dane County website. They updated a Public Health Order yesterday prohibiting public and private Mass Gatherings of 250 people or more to include places of worship and religious gathering centers. Effective 3/15/20, the order now applies to gatherings of 50 people or more.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued an order on Friday that all schools in Wisconsin need to close by 5p on Wednesday and not reopen before April 6. MMSD has communicated that their schools will be closing effective Wednesday, but will remain open on Monday and Tuesday. They add that 'if you choose to keep your child home next Monday and Tuesday when school is open, absences will be excused and we will follow the normal attendance policy.' Effective 3/15/20, schools are now closed until at least April 6.
UW has suspended in-person classes at least through April 10 and students living in Residence Halls have been asked to leave if possible. Most local events have been canceled including big annual events like the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival.
Other city agencies along with Public Health have been working hard to adjust to these changing conditions and the Common Council will get an update at 5 pm on Tuesday at our Executive Committee meeting (you can watch on City Channel here).
What should I do about it?
The public health orders and other community actions all aim for the same goal: slowing the spread of this virus by reducing the number of people that come into contact with each other. Everyone is being encouraged to practice 'social distancing' or 'cocooning' to help us as a community deal with the impacts. Communities that have done this more successfully have drastically reduced the impact on their healthcare system and have saved lives.
What this means is that we all need to be working towards staying away from each other as much as possible over the next month or more. Whenever you can avoid spending time around people you should. When you do need to be around others, try to keep your distance, wash your hands frequently with soap, and keep your hands away from your face.
Conditions will continue to change quickly and I will work to keep you updated as well. In the short term, reduce the amount of contact you have with others and focus on supporting yourself and those around you. Get outside and go for a walk, get enough rest, and keep connected with others over the phone and in other virtual ways. While we work to limit our physical contact with each other, we need to simultaneously work to strengthen our social connections in other ways. This will be a marathon and not a sprint and we are all going to need to find ways to adjust our lifestyles to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the long run.
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