Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Schools release fall plans as pandemic continues


August 6, 2020

With the new school semester looming and the pandemic still rife across Wyoming, Crook County School District has released its “Smart Start” plan, which aims to ensure a return to brick-and-mortar teaching this fall. The plan has been in progress for several months and has been altered during that time to meet with the state’s requirements.

Information from a survey sent to parents in June was used to guide the plan and will affect such factors as the platform that would be used to deliver remote education should there be a need for a lockdown. The survey indicated that 82% of parents were ready to send their children back to school.

According to the plan, the district will expect parents to screen their children’s health each morning for virus symptoms. The schools will operate on a tiered basis, opening in August at Tier 1.

At this tier, buildings will operate under normal conditions with some practical precautions, such as spacing students and making hand washing and sanitizing part of the daily routines.

The plan includes two additional tiers; the second differs from the first mainly in the number of students who would be participating from home. The third tier will be triggered if local or state health directives require all school buildings to be closed, and will involve all students learning from home with technology support provided.

The detailed plan has been made available on the CCSD website. As school start date approaches, there is no sign of the COVID-19 pandemic subsiding in Wyoming.

Crook County remains one of the few counties with no active cases at this time, despite an additional positive case increasing the local tally to ten. This case, involving a symptomatic adult male who contracted the virus out of state, was accidentally assigned to a different county and has already recovered.

With Rally Wednesday also approaching, Crook County Public Health has issued a reminder that the county will be welcoming tourists from all over the country and has also offered guidance on staying safe during the festivities and protecting yourself from contracting COVID-19 from an asymptomatic carrier:

“Wear a face covering when unable to maintain six feet of distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, clean and disinfect highly touched areas with bleach-based cleaners and stay home when sick.”

An additional death was reported on Monday. The older woman from Fremont County is reported by the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) to have had health conditions known to put patients at a higher risk of serious illness.

The announcement brought Wyoming’s total to 27 deaths due to COVID-19.

In the press release, WDH clarified that deaths are added to the total based on the information provided on the official death certificate. A death is not reflected in Wyoming’s count unless COVID-19 caused or contributed to it, even if the person was known to be positive for the virus.

Hospitalizations due to the virus rose to 20 over the weekend, a total not reached since April 21 saw 23 Wyomingites in hospital. Daily numbers of new cases included a high of 45 on July 30.

Recoveries have also risen over the last week, causing the number of active cases in the state to ebb and flow. On some days, recoveries have outpaced new cases.

However, the count has continued to steadily climb, temporarily passing another milestone on Sunday as 611 active cases were recorded, which is Wyoming’s highest figure yet, before dropping below the 600 mark again as the week began.

New public health orders went into effect on August 1, though very few changes have been made from the orders that were in effect until that date. The main changes involve more specific guidelines for school operations, including a continuation of the requirement for students to wear face coverings in situations where six feet of separation cannot be maintained.

Applications opened on Tuesday for the next two waves of funding under the COVID-19 Business Relief Program for Wyoming’s businesses and nonprofits. An additional $225 million has been made available to businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the pandemic.

“It’s tough to gauge the demand and frequency of applications prior to the launch of these two programs, so now is a good time for businesses and nonprofits to familiarize themselves with all of the helpful tools and information at if they haven’t already done so,” said Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell in a press release.

“There are FAQs, live and recorded informational webinar opportunities and a grant calculator graphic you can work on with your lender or accountant in order to submit a solid application as quickly and efficiently as possible.”


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