NCSD says COVID outbreaks could possibly lead to temporary closures this fall - Casper, WY Oil City News
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NCSD says COVID outbreaks could possibly lead to temporary closures this fall


CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District are preparing a “Smart Start Re-opening Plan” required by the Wyoming Department of Education as they work toward welcoming students back in the fall.

The plan is still in draft stage and the NCSD Board of Trustees will resume discussion of the plan during a 6 pm Monday, July 20 work session which can be streamed online.

Natrona Health Officers Dr. Ghazi Ghanem and Dr. Mark Dowell told the trustees at their last work session that implementing the use of face coverings is the best bet to ensure schools can stay open once they are reopen.

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NCSD outlined a number of scenarios in the draft plan should individual students or staff or groups of students and staff test positive for COVID-19 during the school year.

If a student or staff member tests positive, the district says in the draft plan that they would be required to isolate at home for 14 days. They would also have to be asymptomatic for at least three days before returning to school.

“If they are still exhibiting symptoms after 14 days, they must remain isolated until asymptomatic for 3 days,” NCSD said. “Students and/or staff members who come into close contact with a confirmed positive, as determined by Casper-Natrona County Public Health Department, will be quarantined for 14 days.”

“If symptoms develop during quarantine, testing will occur and based on the results of testing further isolation may be warranted.”

Students who are isolating would still receive instruction remotely, under NCSD’s draft plan. They may also receive homebound instruction services.

If a staff member tests positive, the district is planning to have substitute teachers provide in-person instruction while the staff member is isolating, under their draft plan.

NCSD also outlined a scenario in which “there is an outbreak across multiple classrooms and grade levels of COVID-19 in a school setting.” Under those circumstances, the district says in the plan that “every effort will be made to not close a classroom or school as a result of a positive Covid-19 case.”

“If an outbreak occurs, schools could be closed by state or local public health officers’ directive or order for a 2-5 day period (or longer if conditions warrant) to conduct contact tracing and allow NCSD to disinfect the facility,” the district adds. “For the closure time period, NCSD will deliver a remote education model or classroom based virtual education model to students isolated/quarantined.”

The district adds that students who may be at higher risk of a more severe illness from COVID-19 or who lives with someone who is high risk will be allowed to come to schools with “the appropriate personal protective equipment.”

“The student can enroll in Natrona Virtual Learning Program for a full time virtual education, or they can receive instruction through homebound services with a doctor’s note placing them on homebound for a limited amount of time,” NCSD added in the draft plan.

Students who have concerns about returning in the fall but is not at high risk for more severe illness or doesn’t live with a high risk individual would not have the option of hybrid instruction or homebound instruction under the plan as drafted.

“The student may enroll in Natrona County Virtual Learning Program,” the district said.

If schools are closed due to public health orders, the district says they would provide educational services through an adapted learning model for all students.

The district also addressed the proposed use of face coverings.

“Currently, the Governor’s Public Health Order requires students and staff to wear masks when social distancing of 6’ cannot be maintained,” NCSD said. “This order expires on July 31, 2020. NCSD will align to the Governor’s Public Health Orders and Local Public Health Orders that are in place. In the absence of a governor’s or local health officer’s orders, NCSD will encourage masks to be worn by students, staff, and school visitors when social distancing of 3’ – 6’ cannot be maintained. When students and staff are able to be social distanced (6’ or greater) face coverings may be removed.”

The draft plan must be approved by the WDE before NCSD can officially implement the plans it describes. The full draft plan is available online.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email:

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.