Dear ACSD#1 Families,

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 is the 10th day of the school year, and we have been able to provide in-person and virtual learning for our students by implementing a number of mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The first ten days have not been without incident, but we continue to remain steadfast that our processes will ensure that we can continue to operate schools throughout the school year.  Here is some latest information about COVID-19 in our community.

COVID-19 Cases and Metrics

We continue to track COVID-19 cases in the ACSD#1 school community, the University of Wyoming community, and throughout Albany County.   The county continues to have less than 1% positive cases for the number of individuals tested in the two week rolling average.  This is a good metric, and Albany County has been in the bottom five counties in the state for the past few weeks.   You can find this metric on the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) website if you are interested.  In addition, we monitor the number of cases in our community, and this information is also found on the WDH website.

ACSD#1 has not seen a positive case of COVID-19 in a building, but that doesn’t mean we have not been affected. Prior to returning to school, we had one positive case with one of our employees and two other employees were ordered by the health department to quarantine for the 14 day period.  We also had a few families in our school community who were given health orders to stay home and this affected 15 students.  Last week we had six students who were out of school due to a health order quarantine. None of these individuals were in the schools.

I will continue to share this type of information, but please understand that we cannot share any other details. The Wyoming Department of Health cannot communicate who and where a COVID-19 case occurs.  This is a violation of state and federal law.  Similarly, school administrators cannot and will not communicate to staff or parents regarding cases.  The Wyoming Department of Health will notify individuals who are in imminent threat of exposure.  If you do not hear from the WDH, you do not have an imminent threat of exposure to COVID-19.

The Wyoming Department of Health recently updated their guidelines for addressing sick students or staff in the buildings and the guidance for staying home.  The guidelines have been consistent, but there have been some changes that have occurred in the last 30 days. The clearest change is the guideline that permits student and staff to return to school after 24 hours if they do not have any further symptoms.

Monitoring COVID-19 Metrics

A school board subcommittee developed metrics to determine when the school system can move out of Tier II or what metrics indicate that we need to move to Tier III.  The school board will consider these metrics during their regularly schedule board meeting on September 9, 2020.  It is still too early to decide about changes to Tier I and Tier II since we have recent activity in the university and greater community.  The item on the agenda for Wednesday evening is only to consider the metrics–not to change direction because of the metrics.

Daily Health Checks

Please continue to do the daily health pre-screenings.  This brief survey is an invaluable tool to remind our entire community to stay home when sick and the importance of protecting ourselves and each other. The CDC provides some useful information in a document that explains how best to protect yourself and others from exposure.

 

I know there remains a great deal of uncertainty, but I am confident that our systems are working to protect our students and staff.  We have processes in place to address ill students or staff at work, and we have a good communication link with state and county health officers to assist our administrators and nurses with addressing concerns about COVID-19.  We will continue to monitor the metrics related to the transmission of COVID-19, so we can determine when it is best for our secondary schools to move to five days of in-person instruction.

Stay healthy,

Jubal