Public Health Issues Order Closing Schools and Imposing Countywide Directive to Stop Holding Gatherings of 50 or More People
Schools are closed as of 03/16/2020
Public Health Madison & Dane County is issuing a county-wide directive to close schools as of March 16, 2020 at 12:01am to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
This order is also a county-wide directive to stop gatherings of 50 or more people. This order will continue until further notice.
“Schools play a crucial role in providing nutrition and other critical services to students, but they also pose a risk to children and staff with underlying health conditions and their closure can reduce community spread of COVID-19,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Closing schools and canceling events are a disruption to our lives, but we believe these measures are necessary for the safety of our community.”
Wisconsin Statute 252 outlines a health officer’s authority to take “all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control communicable disease.” Violation of or failure to comply with this order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
Public Health Madison & Dane County further strongly recommends that all nonessential social gatherings of under 50 people be postponed.
If a gathering must be held with fewer than 50 attendees, Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends the following precautionary steps:
- Older adults, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and people with underlying health conditions that are at increased risk of COVID-19 are encouraged not to attend (including employees);
- Social distancing recommendations should be met (limit contact of people within six (6) feet from each other for ten (10) minutes or longer);
- Provide sanitation and prevention hygiene resources to all attendees and employees; and
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. For the latest information, visit the CDC’s coronavirus website, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website, or the Public Health Madison & Dane County coronavirus page.