(Fremont County, WY) – As back-to-school start dates fast approach throughout Fremont County School Districts (FCSD) Superintendents have begun providing statements on COVID concerns ranging from mask use, vaccinations, and quarantine guidelines.
Below are the various protocols for each each district.
Superintendent Troy Zickefoose posted the following message on the district website:
“It appears that school districts will not be asked to continually respond to state health orders all year long, at least that is the tentative plan coming out of Cheyenne. The CDC has a list of mitigation strategies which the state has adopted as recommendations. They can be found at: CDC: Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K12 Schools.”
“FCSD #6 intends to initially respond to these recommended strategies, which will likely be tied to ESSER III or ARP money:”
- Masking will be optional for all staff, students and visitors. If an individual feels safer, is more confident, or concerned about health risks for personal reasons – by all means wear a mask.
- Masking on buses will continue until further notice. This is a federal requirement that is being looked into. It might change, it might not. We’ll see where this one goes.
- No temperature checks or screening stations. However, as we saw last year when students and staff with symptoms stayed home people stayed healthy. We did not experience the flu, strep throat or the common cold running rampant in our schools as COVID symptoms are similar to other common ailments we have all dealt with. If you send a student to school with symptoms they will likely end up in the nurse’s office, they’ll be screened and potentially be sent home. This is just like the world worked before COVID when we only dealt with colds, strep and the flu – nothing on this front has changed.
- Distancing 3′-6’ This is an easy one, and for students who can’t keep their hands to themselves it’s a behavioral intervention to help keep the student out of the office. I see this as a win-win that should have become common educational practice 30 years ago.
- Ventilation. FCSD #6 has installed air ionizing equipment in our HVAC systems in all our schools. What this does is knock any and all viruses and bacteria out of the air that is breathed in the buildings. If anyone gets sick I’m blaming the smoky air outside.
- Hand sanitizing and frequent washing. Centuries old advice that we will continue to encourage, even if the CDC changes its tune on this one.
- Continued Cleaning and Disinfection efforts on steroids. The custodial crew has done an amazing job cleaning and preparing for this school year. We have an additional staff member to help with this and we’ll continue to do everything we can to keep the place clean and safe.
Superintendent Debra Smith stated the following in a letter sent to parents on August 2nd:
- Fremont County School District #21 is anticipating to operate in Tier I – Open – as close to normal as possible with students attending in-person learning Monday through Friday.
- Students who will be attending school for in-person learning will need to register for the new school year.
- Students will be required to wear face coverings/masks while on campus.
- Daily temperature and COVID symptom checks will be performed for students prior to entry on the bus and/or school buildings.
- Any student exhibiting one or more of the COVID symptoms will not be allowed to ride the bus and/or enter school. If a student exhibits one or more symptoms while at school, the student will be sent home.
- The district will follow the School Smart Start Tier I plan (FCSD #21 Roadmap to School Operation 2021-2022). The plan is posted on the school website and a copy can be requested from the front office. The plan describes implementation of all tiers (levels) and requirements for maintaining safety, cleanliness, and wellness.
- The district will continue to assist students and families with technology, including the internet, during the school year.
- If you have questions, please feel free to contact the front offices at the following numbers: Fort Washakie Elementary and Middle School – 332-2380; Fort Washakie High School – 332-0142.
St. Stephens Indian School:
St. Stephens schools started back on August 9th, and are currently requiring all students and staff to wear masks while indoors and on busses. The schools are also following the Wind River Inter-Tribal Council Public Health Order where applicable, and are providing extra sanitization and desks shields.
Superintendent Dave Barker posted the following statement for Lander schools:
“The district continues to monitor ongoing developments with COVID-19 and the Wyoming Department of health’s response to these developments. With the statewide increase in positive cases, in large part due to the presence of the Delta variant, the Department of Health issued a new guidance on August 4.”
“The new guidance recommends “At this time, indoor public mask use is recommended for anyone living in a yellow, orange, red or dark red area of Wyoming according to our department’s measures.” You can find county transmission indicators on the Wyoming Department of Health website.”
“In a statement released on August 4, Governor Gordon announced that he will not require school districts to implement a mask mandate leaving the decision to local school boards. For more information, please see the Governor’s full statement.”
“Discussion occurred at the August 5, administration meeting regarding the delivery of instruction to students that are required to quarantine. Because the district is not offering a virtual option to students this year, we want our stakeholders to feel confident that we will deliver instruction will to those students that are quarantined.
“Administrators noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have traditionally been able to deliver instruction to students who were absent for a variety of reasons. During this last school year, those strategies were strengthened leading administrators to express confidence in their teams’ abilities to deliver instruction to students that find themselves quarantined. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to call us at the central office, (307) 332-4711.”
While no official statement has been made yet, at the August 10th School Board meeting, Superintendent Joanne Flanagan stated, “There will be no mask requirements at this point, but they are optional. You asked for a choice, you get a choice. Try to be reasonable, and try to be preventative.”
There will be COVID informational meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17th in the Riverton Middle School cafeteria, where questions and concerns will be addressed.
FCSD # 24:
Superintendent Bruce Thoren will be adhering to Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) guidelines until further notice as well.
“My intent is to have good representation from our stakeholders as we make necessary edits and changes to our plan moving forward. We are beginning the process this week and will likely pull in our stakeholders group early next week,” Thoren stated.
The following post from the Shoshoni Schools Facebook page was shared on Tuesday, August 17th:
“Shoshoni Schools are currently working on our Health Protocols for the school year. For the start of school we will be under normal protocols, no masks required, but parents may certainly have their students wear them. We will have our first stakeholder meeting for our Health Protocols on Friday morning at 8:00 am if you can attend. The meeting will be available via Zoom as well. Please contact the school for information.“
Superintendent Trent Blankenship stated that teachers and students will be required to mask up while indoors, on busses, and in places where social distancing cannot occur. Teachers are also required to be vaccinated, and if unable to do so, must be regularly tested
Leave for staff will be granted for those who test positive, and there will be a virtual school option.
COVID updates will also be discussed at the August 16th School Board meeting.
As of this writing there are no COVID protocol updates from FCSD #28 or FCSD #2, but they will be added to this post as they become available, which can also be found here.
Any further questions should be fielded to the specific school’s District Office.