DHS Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccination and Prevention Planning for the School Year
As the 2022-2023 school year gets underway, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) urges students statewide to get their COVID-19 vaccinations or boosters before the start of the school year. This includes children as well as anyone planning to attend in-person classes at a college or university. All students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to the classroom this fall is a priority all across Wisconsin.
Everyone 6 months and older is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Nearly 389,000 Wisconsin school-age youth ages 5 to 17 have already received their primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines remain available to all Wisconsinites at no cost. Find information about COVID-19 vaccine providers near you at vaccines.gov.
In addition to vaccination, DHS and schools statewide are preparing to keep kids safe and healthy during the upcoming school year. On August 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated COVID-19 Guidance for Community, School, and Early Childhood Education Settings. The CDC guidance is intended to help people better understand their risk; how to protect themselves and others; what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19; and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus.
DHS supports the updated CDC guidance and encourages each school or school district to closely monitor the COVID-19 Community Levels in their county, along with vaccination rates, testing for students, teachers, and staff, outbreaks, and the age of students served by the school, and adjust their policies as necessary.
During the 2021-2022 school year, the state’s K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program supported participating schools and districts in administering more than 800,000 tests to students and staff. In addition, DHS provided schools with approximately 1.4 million pieces of PPE, such as gloves and masks. DHS will continue to offer support for schools and early childhood education facilities as the school year begins, including access to mobile vaccination clinics, a K-12 COVID-19 testing program, and stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) that includes child-size masks.
For free, confidential support finding health care and community resources near you, dial 211. For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.