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Laramie schools adopt interim mask mandate

The Albany County School District #1 Board of Trustees has approved an interim mask mandate, according to a release from the school system.


The Albany County School District #1 Board of Trustees has approved an interim mask mandate, according to a release from the school system.

According to the release, the board approved the requirement for all students grades K-8, from Thursday, Aug. 26 through Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. During that time, masks will be required for every person regardless of age while inside a school facility or on a district bus.

“I want to let all the families out there know that we have read your emails, and we are listening to you,” said Trustee Emily Stiegel Stanton in the release. “I have learned so much about the families in our district and what’s going on for people by the emails. We will continue to listen to you throughout this process. In an age where things have gotten black and white, I really see a lot of grey in this issue.”

The release says the driving force behind a mask requirement is to ensure students remain in school.

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) quarantine guidelines state that when a non-masked person tests positive for COVID-19, everyone in close contact with that person must be quarantined for at least 10 days.

If a person who tests positive was masked, however, other masked individuals in close contact do not have to quarantine.

The release says the new requirement is in response to a rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the county, which has spiked from 3.3 new cases per day in mid-July to 17.8 cases per day the week of August 15-21. There have also been 43 cases of COVID-19 among people under 18 in August through the 22nd.

The CDC strongly recommends mask policies for schools as the more infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.

“Because of the highly transmissible nature of this variant, along with the extent of mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in schools, the fact that children <12 years of age are not currently eligible for vaccination, and low levels of vaccination among youth ages 12-17, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all students (age 2 years and older), teachers, staff, and visitors to K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status,” said the CDC on its website.

The Natrona County School District has decided so far not to implement a mask mandate, as they did for most of the last school year.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, to hear public comment and review available data, said the release.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.