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Madison School District among Wisconsin Partnership Program grant recipients

Madison School District among Wisconsin Partnership Program grant recipients

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The Wisconsin Partnership Program announced the grant recipients last Friday.

A $138,160 grant will help the Madison Metropolitan School District support students who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for complications from the novel coronavirus.

The grant is part of a $2.2 million round of funding from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Eleven of the grants went to community-led initiatives, and 10 went toward research partnerships.

“During the school year, our nurses and our social workers are obviously in close communications with these students and their families,” executive director of student and staff support Jay Affeldt said during a virtual press conference Wednesday. “This grant will provide funding for them to maintain those supports throughout the summer.”

Dr. Amy Kind, who is on the WPP Oversight and Advisory Committee, said the partnership program is “an embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea in many ways” as they seek to “reach all corners of the state” through funding and partnerships. She said they “received an overwhelming response to the request for proposals” in the latest round of grants, but the MMSD proposal “was one that was felt to be particularly meritorious.”

“It was felt to be a very strong proposal that seeks to address and promote health equity,” Kind said. “This particular grant also was felt to leverage existing partnerships and build existing relationships.”

[Report highlights ‘uncertainty ahead’ for school district budgets amid pandemic]

MMSD will use the funds to reach out to students with diabetes, asthma and other conditions that specifically increase the risk for serious complications from contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Affeldt said they still have to work out the details of how the program will function.

“We’re just in the very early stages of planning out logistically what this is actually going to look like,” Affeldt said.

Kind said the district’s long collaboration with the UW School of Nursing could help what they learn through this project expand across Wisconsin and beyond to other areas of the United States.

“We are just certainly making these investments very carefully throughout the state with the goal of impacting the health and well-being in a very positive way of all of those who are touched by COVID-19 throughout the state,” Kind said.

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Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.

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