RHINELANDER & WAUSAU - While many people are dealing with major changes to our lives thanks to COVID-19. Experts say, for those with mental disabilities, like autism, that struggle is multiplied.
Children and even adults with mental disabilities are used to a normal schedule to help maintain normalcy and security. Now thanks to coronavirus, all that has been interrupted and that has caused stress and uncertainty.
"That's very important for children who struggle on a day to day basis just to maintain a schedule for consistency," said Rosaleta Pahnke who is a mom with special needs children. "It helps relieve some of the anxiety and the fear to them would be the unknown."
They say it can be challenging to adjust to doing things at home.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross cautioned Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak that has already led to the suspension of all in-person spring classes could also force changes to the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin in August.
Cross, in addressing the university's Board of Regents, said UW was working on various scenarios based on rapidly changing conditions. The flagship UW-Madison campus announced Thursday that it was moving all in-person summer classes scheduled to start in May to online only, another sign that leaders don't expect a return to normalcy for months.
RHINELANDER - For staff at Wild Instincts, treating diseases and parasites is part of the job.
"We know how these things spread and how it goes so it really isn't a big surprise for us seeing what happened," said wildlife rehabilitator Mark Naniot.
That's why staff are being extra careful when it comes to COVID-19.
"If we get sick and we aren't able to care for the animals it's going to make the problem even worse," said Naniot.
For the last couple weeks, the animal rehabilitation center has suspended all non-essential volunteers in an effort to keep its people and the animals safe.
"We are down to a skeleton staff at this point," said Naniot. "We had about 140 drivers and we cut them off also. We're not having them go out and interact. We do a few close rescues when we can [and] we still have about 50 animals here on site."
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