NCSD down 34 substitutes this fall; 15 staff on quarantine due to possible COVID exposure - Casper, WY Oil City News
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NCSD down 34 substitutes this fall; 15 staff on quarantine due to possible COVID exposure

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

UPDATE: NCSD Public Information Officer Tanya Southerland said that 15 NCSD staff members are on quarantine. These staff members are not all teachers. This article has been updated to note this point.

CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District has about 34 less substitutes during the fall semester in 2020 “compared to this time on an annual basis,” NCSD Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Verba Echols said on Monday, Sept. 14.

Two elementary school staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 so far this school year, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard. In addition, 15 staff members are quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus, Echols told the NCSD Board of Trustees on Monday.

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She noted that being placed on quarantine does not mean those teachers have tested positive for COVID-19. Echols said that teachers on quarantine are still engaged in efforts such as lesson planning.

“We do have COVID-19 in NCSD,” Echols said, noting that the district has shared information with the public in an effort to be transpartent.

NCSD Superintendent Mike Jennings noted that positive COVID cases are reported to the district by the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.

Echols said that some substitutes are also being trained to manage virtual learning classrooms to support that program. NCSD has over 900 students enrolled in their virtual learning program.

44 teachers are located at the Star Lane Center in Casper, where NCSD is headquartering their virtual learning program this year. Echols thanked all staff, and particularly eight teachers who had recently retired but returned to support the district amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

She added that what NCSD staff has done so far this year to support learning, transportation and food service is “just short of a miracle,” noting that NCSD has had to adjust to state and local health guidelines.

Echols’ comments came during the NCSD Board of Trusteess work session which can be streamed from NCSD’s Youtube channel:

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.