FCSD #1 School Board approves accepted mask variance request

UPDATE: As of April 30, 3:30 PM, Vice-Chairperson Scott Jensen informed County 10 that the mask mandate lift will start Monday, May 3rd. He also sent us an official statement from Superintendent Dr. Barker, which can be read here.

(Lander, WY) – The Fremont County School District #1 School board met Friday morning, April 30th, to discuss the recent state approval of their mask variance request.

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In a 4 to 2 decision, the board voted in favor of moving forward with the granted variance.

Masks will still be required until State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist signs off on the District’s acceptance of her approval, but going by timelines from other districts that have been granted variances, this should be in less than a week.

Masks will also still be required while riding school buses, as per Center for Disease Control guidelines concerning public transportation, but screening for school and sporting events will no longer be required.

The two nay votes were from board member Teresa Nirider and clerk Dr. Kathy Hitt, who both cited a need for following through with decisions made at the beginning of the year, as well as concern for students and parents who are not in favor of the variance.

Dr. Hitt also suggested waiting until summer school sessions and the following school year to make a decision on masks.

Chairperson Jared Kail took these concerns into consideration, as well as personal testimonies from stakeholders on both sides, and reminded those in attendance, “We have not lost a single child in Wyoming to COVID-19. We are not saying kids don’t get it, it just affects them at a less intense level. We have to consider that some things have changed since drafting the Smart Start plan at the beginning of the year.”

Vice-Chairperson Scott Jensen also added, “It was a Smart Start plan. It was initiated with mask requirements to get school startedwith kids in classrooms, not to go on indefinitely. Remember, no one is saying masks are being banned. They will still be optional for those who want to wear them, just not required.”

To view all of County 10’s coverage of school district mask variances as it progresses, click here.

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