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Below are our latest posts regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

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Schools Soon Eligible For Tax Credits For Voluntary COVID-19 Paid Leave

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law. This law funds a variety of programs. One such program provides tax credits to employers that voluntarily provide certain types of paid leave to employees. The big change for school districts is that beginning April 1, 2021, for the first time, districts will be eligible for tax credits to cover some of the costs of this leave.

Latest Stimulus Bill Does Not Extend The FFCRA Leave Mandate

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Act) was signed into law by President Trump on Sunday, December 27, 2020. While the Act made changes to the to the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), it does not extend the mandatory leave portion of the FFCRA. Therefore, as of January 1, 2021, employers will no longer be required to provide the mandatory Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency paid FMLA leave (EFMLA) under the FFCRA.

Department of Public Instruction Updates COVID-19 Special Education Guidance

Boardman Clark previously reported on the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) guidance document COVID-19 Special Education Question and Answer Document (Question and Answer Document). Recently, DPI made significant updates to the Question and Answer Document and those revisions address issues regarding students with disabilities who are unable to wear face coverings, how districts can conduct appropriate specific learning disability (SLD) evaluations in virtual environments, providing choice of educational environments (virtual versus in-person) to students with disabilities, and changes of placement when school closures are not mandated.

Dane County Emergency Orders Affect Schools

Public Health Madison & Dane County has issued a number of Emergency Orders over the last couple weeks including Emergency Order #7, which took effect at 8:00am on July 2, 2020 and Emergency Order #8 which takes effect at 8:00 a.m. on July 13, 2020. (all the changes are cumulative and found in the most recent Order #8).

Wisconsin Supreme Court Declares Emergency Order 28 Unlawful, But Allows School Closure Order to Stand

On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, by a 4 to 3 decision, declared that Emergency Order 28 is “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable,” effective immediately.

However, most notable for school districts, the Court stated in footnotes that its decision does not apply to Section 4.a. of Emergency Order 28. Section 4.a. indicates that “[p]ublic and private K-12 schools shall remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year."

DOL Releases Latest Guidance on FFCRA Leave: What School Districts Should Know

This latest article outlines the most significant topics contained in FAQs #89-93. As we have previously advised, the DOL is continually updating these FAQs without advance notice. The following is a description of the DOL’s FAQs as they appeared on May 7, 2020. Because the DOL’s FAQ responses are subject to change, school districts seeking the latest guidance on the FFCRA should consult with their attorney to ensure they are reviewing the latest and most accurate DOL guidance.

State Legislation Addresses State Standardized Testing, Open Enrollment, Educator Effectiveness Evaluations and Reporting Requirements

On April 15, 2020, Governor Evers signed 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 (“Act 185”), legislation addressing the substantial impact that COVID-19 has had on the state of Wisconsin. The newly enacted law, which went into effect on April 17, 2020, contains a number of revisions to current law that will directly impact school districts. Those aspects of the law are summarized below.

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