COVID-19 cases in the county are increasing exponentially, and the school district has been affected by the increases due to many of our families and staff being in close contact with a person who has tested positive.  As of Monday morning, November 9, 2020, the school district has 10 students and 5 staff members who have tested positive.  In addition to these 15 cases, there are over 100 students and staff quarantined as a result of someone in their household who has tested positive (86 students and 21 staff). It is important to know that there has not been a case of transmission in the schools.  Students and staff have been affected through community spread outside of the schools and mostly due to close contact with a member in the household.

The school board established metrics at the September 9, 2020 school board meeting with the best information available at that time.  The school district is tracking key data metrics and consulting with state and local health officials to determine the best course of action for our community.  Albany County recently issued Public Health Order 2020-002 which requires wearing “face coverings outside their home,” and the school board continues to assess data to determine how best to keep schools open. The data include the following: the percentage of positive cases in the county; the number of cases in a seven day rolling average within the school community; staff and student attendance; and the availability of sanitation and personal protective equipment.

The percentage of positive cases in the county has been 3-4% for the past couple of weeks, and the number of cases in the schools has been due to other community spread—not transmission within the school. The threshold established in September set a metric of 5% positive cases and two or more cases per day in the seven day rolling average in the school community.  The school district is approaching these thresholds.  Both staff and student attendance remain strong, primarily due to the school district’s ability to shift to online learning for students and staff who are quarantined.  The school district continues to have available supplies for sanitation and protective equipment.

The greatest challenge the school district will face in the upcoming weeks is the availability of staff to deliver services.  We will continue to assess the ability to deliver in-person instruction and make adjustments as necessary.  The school district we will not lower the standard of safety for the number of students in a classroom or the number of students who can safely ride on the bus.

Immediate Action Required

Our community must work together to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and to ensure that we can continue to maintain school operations. It is imperative that we follow specific behaviors to reduce the transmission of this disease. Here are some critical action steps:

ACTION STEPS 

  • Complete the daily health screening—do not go to school or to work if you are not feeling well. Monitor your health for 24 hours, and if the symptoms persist, please consult your health care provider.
  • Maintain physical distance of 6 feet and avoid large gatherings
  • Wear face covering
  • Wash hands frequently

In addition to the critical action steps listed above, we will continue to provide guidance and direction for our students, families, and staff members when a COVID-19 case enters the school. Wyoming Department of Health directives indicate that students or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 must isolate (stay at home) for a period of no less than 10 days, and they may return when they no longer have symptoms without fever reducing medication—10 days and symptom free.

Parents and staff may have received notification (form letter from the Wyoming Department of Health) sent by your child’s school principal indicating that a student or a staff member has recently tested positive for COVID-19.  This notification also includes information about monitoring your child’s health and offers guidance to consult a medical professional if anyone in your family starts to show symptoms:

What to do if your child gets sick?

  • It is important to remember that COVID-19 is being spread in many communities, and COVID-19 exposure can happen outside of school. If your child develops symptoms, even if the symptoms are mild, he or she may have COVID-19. Your child should stay home except to get medical care. Do not send your child to school, and avoid public spaces, public activities, and group gatherings.  
  • Call your child’s healthcare provider to discuss your child’s symptoms and whether he or she needs to be tested. 

We understand that this will be a trying next few weeks, and we will do our best to continue to maintain school operations. We cannot do it alone, and I am asking our entire community to work together to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 by adhering to guidance provided by the CDC and the Wyoming Department of Health.