Gov. Evers: Wis. National Guard help will cost millions, happy with school plans

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 10:13 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wisconsin continues to expand and increase testing capacity for COVID-19.

There was basically no capacity in early March. Now, more than 150,000 tests per week and 24,000 per day are collected.

The National Guard has played a big role in that. But for their involvement to remain at the level it has been it will soon start costing the state.

The White House extended the National Guard’s coronavirus response mission through the end of the year, but will only cover 100% of the cost until August 21st. That means state’s are on the hook for the remaining 25% thru the end of 2020.

Governor Tony Evers says that will cost Wisconsin about $4-million, and that money will likely come out of the federal CARES Act fund.

“We’re happy to have the opportunity to have the National Guard be part of our program,” Evers said. “We couldn’t be anywhere near where we are today.”

As of Monday, Wisconsin National Guard members had conducted nearly 318,000 COVID-19 tests.

Meanwhile, many school districts have a back-to-school plan in place for this fall. Virtual learning will play some sort of role in a lot of those plans.

Governor Evers says he’s leaving those decisions up to the individual school districts.

Evers says he has talked to school districts statewide about their plans. He says likes what he’s hearing so far, and looks forward to having further conversations going forward. But he adds, it’s hard to know what the virus will look like come September 1.

“If people want to have a successful school year and beginning of a school year, wearing a mask, having physical distance from each other.”

Evers says just about every school is offering some type of virtual schooling.

State Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he and other republicans will continue to keep pressure on the governor to reopen schools. Evers, the former superintendent of public instruction, says he’s proud of the work all districts are doing.

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