Dane County Orders All Classes Online for Grades 3-12

Dane County health officials abruptly ordered all public and private schools in the county Friday to teach grades 3-12 online only this fall in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Public Health Madison and Dane County issued the order shortly after 5 p.m.

According to the order, the county must sustain a 14-day average of no more than 39 cases per day for four straight weeks to reopen grades 3-5 and no more than 19 cases per day for four straight weeks to reopen grades 6-12. As of Friday, the county was averaging 42 new cases daily.

Most Dane County schools had already decided to start the year online, although some private schools had planned to open as early as next week.

“The fact that a number of private schools were opening early next week, and to come down with this order just a few days before, puts an unbelievable burden on the families who planned to have their students in-person at school,” said Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin.

“Unless you’re testing the exact same number of people every day, the number of cases is completely arbitrary” to reopening schools safely, he said.