Wisconsin schools will receive more than $175 million in federal funding to pay for school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, students and staff, Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday.
The money is coming to Wisconsin as part of $10 billion the U.S. Department of Health Services announced in March it was targeting to help schools reopen across the country. The tests would be voluntary.
Evers said the state Department of Health Services will be working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to develop a testing program in conjunction with what schools may already have in place. Schools were sent a survey last week to ask what type of testing programs would best meet their needs, Evers said.
Different testing options will be available to schools and more information will be released as they are developed, Evers said.
Concerns about new coronavirus variants more easily infecting people under age 16, who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, have increased as case counts have gone up. In Wisconsin, just over 16% of all confirmed positive cases have been among people age 19 or younger.
As of Tuesday, more than 40% of people age 16 and up in Wisconsin have received at least one vaccine dose, including 19% of people age 16 or 17.
'Every aspect of our lives has been turned on its head': The COVID-19 pandemic one year on
A year into a once-in-a-century pandemic, Madison and Wisconsin continue to grapple with a virus that's killed thousands, destroyed businesses, upended school and changed nearly all aspects of everyday life.
It's been 12 months of grief, shutdowns, reopenings, protective measures, partisan fighting, lawsuits and loss. And now, hope.
“Truly every aspect of our lives has been turned on its head,” said Malia Jones, a UW-Madison infectious disease epidemiologist.
"If you would have told me last March that we'd be virtual for a year, I'd never, ever would have believed it."
"We’re used to taking whatever comes through the door," said nurse Maria Hanson, who started journaling about the pandemic soon after treating the patient.
"It’s a risk vs. reward thing and I risk my life to save others," said Brandon Jones, who always worried about bringing the virus home to his wife and two kids.
“Usually a funeral is a major step in understanding that a life was lived and the person is now gone,” he said. “If families don’t get that, it’s just really hard.”
Rev. Marcus Allen knew what bringing everyone together could do for their spiritual and mental health. But each time he considered reopening the church, COVID-19 cases surged.
"I was getting my work done from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. every day," she said.
“Reporting the death counts out day after day was draining,” she said. “It felt like I was announcing a funeral every day.”
A year into a once-in-a-century pandemic, Madison and Wisconsin continue to grapple with a virus that's killed thousands, destroyed businesses…
COVID-19 changed nearly everything about our world, even how we see it. Here are some of the State Journal's top images of the pandemic.