LARAMIE, Wyo. (October 14, 2021) – At the October 13 Board of Trustees Regular Meeting, the board voted to approve the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan, which includes universal masking in K-12 facilities, through Friday, Nov. 12.
This mask requirement is an extension of the requirement already in place in all K-12 facilities. The Nov. 12 deadline reflects the first Friday that follows the next Board of Trustees Regular Meeting. That meeting is on Wednesday, Nov. 10, where the board can vote on whether to continue the mitigation plan or not.
The purpose of the mask requirement is to help ensure students remain in school by helping to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) quarantine guidelines state that if a person is not wearing a mask and tests positive for COVID-19, anyone in close contact with that person must also quarantine. Vaccinated individuals will not have to quarantine, but WDH guidelines recommend they monitor for symptoms and test 3-5 days after the last known exposure. More quarantine scenarios can be found in the Decision Guide on page 15 of the Operations Plan.
Close contact is defined by WDH as being within six feet of a COVID positive individual for 15 minutes or more, beginning 48 hours before the onset of symptoms of the positive person.
In addition to the Nov. 12 date, the Board will also revisit the mask requirement if one of two metrics are met. The first is if the county vaccination rate is at least 70%. The second is if the Wyoming Department of Health lists Albany County in its Yellow Zone (Moderate Transmission Level) for a continuous three-week period. Albany County is currently in the Orange Zone (Moderate-High Transmission Level). Either of these events would prompt the school board to consult with state and local health officials and consider relaxing the face mask requirement.
The WDH provides a weekly update on the transmission levels of COVID-19 in the state based on indicators developed by the White House COVID-19 Task Force. These color-coded levels are based on these specific indicators: 1) cases per 100,000 population over a 14-day period, 2) the percent of positive cases over the previous 14-day period, and 3) the current number of active cases. During most of the summer, Albany County was in the Light Green Zone (Low Transmission Level). An analysis of the transmission level indicators is a significant factor for decision making.
The District will continue to practice social distancing as much as possible, utilize increased ventilation, and promote hand washing in schools to help stop the spread of the virus.
The District will be able to provide students with masks if they forget one, or if their mask gets dirty during the day.
The Operations Plan (linked above) includes options for Remote Learning for parents who do not wish to send their children to school in person.