Public Health Madison and Dane County reports that as of Thursday, it knows of no COVID-19-related deaths or hospitalizations linked to in-person learning in the county.

Chris Rickert:

The smaller number of F’s stands in contrast to the experience of almost all of the 15 other school districts completely or predominantly within Dane County. Fourteen districts saw more failing grades once instruction went online; only the McFarland district saw fewer failing grades in fall 2020 than in fall 2019.

Meanwhile, the percentage of students considered “chronically absent” — meaning they missed 16% or more of school days — in the Madison district increased from 21% to 27% of high schoolers from fall 2019 to fall 2020, and from 11% to 22% at the middle school level.

The increase came despite looser online school attendance standards under which students could be marked presentsimply by exchanging messages with “the homeroom teacher and any specials teacher they are scheduled to receive instruction from that day.” Madison is one of eight school districts in Wisconsin with state waivers from enforcing state attendance laws this school year. Three others are also in Dane County: Sun Prairie, Mount Horeb and Middleton-Cross Plains.


Failing a class in high school also will not result in an F on a student’s report card this school year. Instead it’s an “NP,” for “no pass,” and while the student doesn’t receive credit for an NP course, the NP is not factored into the student’s GPA.

In August, the district also implementeda permanent grading change at the high schools that dictates no assignment gets a score of less than 50%, even ones that aren’t turned in. The idea is to avoid overly penalizing students who missed some assignments but proved through others that they understood the material.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Madison schools lower the goal posts, yet again.