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DPI survey outlines impact of school shutdown in March on districts

The results of the survey only measure the impacts districts felt between March 18 and June 30, 2020.
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 10:48 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is getting a better idea of how the state wide shutdown of schools in the spring impacted districts

DPI surveyed all 421 public school districts on how they switched to virtual instruction, got meals to students, what expenses were incurred and if they had to lay off staff.

The results of the survey only measure the impacts districts felt between March 18 and June 30, 2020.

Ninety seven percent of school districts across the state offered some form of virtual instruction when the state abruptly closed to in-person instruction.

The survey outlines the challenges districts faced with virtual learning at that time.

The top two responses included limited caregiver support in the home and students and families not having enough experience with virtual platforms.

As far as layoffs are concerned, 82 percent of districts reported no layoffs.

However, the survey indicates paraprofessionals and other instructional staff were more likely to be laid off or reassigned to other duties.

DPI also says more than 24 million meals were delivered to students state-wide during the shutdown through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Program.

Districts were also required to report how its expenses were impacted by the shut down.

Overall, 71 percent of districts reported a decrease in expenses due to the public health emergency, most coming from transportation costs.

However, districts did report greater expenses to enable remote learning and COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

Action 2 News did reach out to DPI for comment, but it didn’t have anyone available on Wednesday to comment.

These findings will be submitted to the Legislature on January 1 as a provision under Act 185, the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response legislation.

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