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LCSD #1 says no mask mandate; ‘highly recommends use’ when social distancing impossible

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Dr. Margaret Crespo, superintendent of schools for Laramie County School District, issued a letter to families on August 19 that outlined the district’s decision on the use of face coverings for the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

According to the letter, the district has decided not to implement a mask mandate but encourages their use by students when social distancing won’t be possible. Crespo offered a few examples for situations in which the use mask would be recommended, like when student-athletes are sitting on the bench during a competition or when transitioning to and from the lunch table.

For most of the last school year, LCSD #1 students and staff were mandated to wear masks amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Crespo has often stated that her main focus was keeping students in the classroom for the full school year.

“Last year’s Smart Start plan allowed us to remain open for in-person learning the entire school year. This plan has provided us a launch point for this year as we will use it as the backbone for this year’s plan. Additionally, we continue to seek guidance from our local health partners, so we have the most updated information as we work through this evolving situation,” Crespo wrote.

She said that masks will be required on district school buses per federal regulation. Athletic masking protocols will remain in place.

Crespo also warned that any bullying because of mask usage or non-usage will be not be tolerated. The district will ask parents to monitor their students for symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick.

“We will continue to provide coordinated vaccine opportunities for families that are interested,” Crespo wrote.

The full letter from Crespo to the community of Laramie County is as follows:

Dear LCSD1 Families,

We are very excited to welcome our students back to school on Monday, August 23rd. I want to express my sincere gratitude for your patience as we have worked closely with our health partners to finalize safety protocols for this year.

Last year’s Smart Start plan allowed us to remain open for in-person learning the entire school year. This plan has provided us a launch point for this year as we will use it as the backbone for this year’s plan. Additionally, we continue to seek guidance from our local health partners, so we have the most updated information as we work through this evolving situation.

At Laramie County School District 1 our goal is to stay in school with in-person learning as we know it is best for our students socially, emotionally, and academically.

There is currently not a state or county mask order. Therefore, we’ve established the following start of school protocols with guidance from our health officials.

We highly recommend that students wear masks when the following social distancing cannot be maintained—

~6 feet during athletics and activities. Masks will be recommended when 6-foot distance cannot be maintained, i.e., sitting on the bench.

~4 feet when students are seated in the lunchroom. While in transition to and from the lunch table, masks will be recommended.

~3 feet when students are in the classroom.

~Staff shall social distance 6 feet.

Masks will be required on district school buses per federal regulation. Athletic masking protocols will remain in place.

Bullying based on mask choice will not be tolerated and will be handled according to our discipline

matrix.

Parents should monitor their students for symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick. Other safety measures will include enhanced cleaning and hand washing/sanitizing. We will continue to provide coordinated vaccine opportunities for families that are interested.

These protocols are in place to limit the number of students who would be quarantined by the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department if an exposure were to occur. Although we are most familiar with COVID-19 quarantine, the health department would also use this practice if our community were to see an outbreak of measles or any other communicable disease.

Extensive quarantining in our schools would not only be devastating to the health and well-being of our students and families but to our community’s economy.

Parents who wish may also consider checking out Cheyenne Virtual School as an option.

Our role is to educate our children in a safe, nurturing environment with the goal of staying in school all year.

Since conditions are rapidly changing, based on guidance from our health partners, we will continue to reassess the situation and will provide biweekly updates.

For more information, please refer to the resources listed at the links below.

Wyoming Department of Health

County Transmission Indicators

Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department

Toolkit for K-12 Schools | COVID-19 | CDC

Children’s Hospital

American Academy of Pediatrics

How Dangerous is the Delta Variant for Kids?

How to Keep Your Child Safe from the Delta Variant

Sincerely,

Dr. Margaret Crespo
Superintendent of Schools

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