Starting tomorrow, Sept. 9, Laramie County School District 1 students and staff will be required to mask up indoors.

After more than three hours of discussion Wednesday night, the LCSD1 Board of Trustees voted to add an addendum to the district's Smart Start Plan requiring masks indoors when the county is at substantial or high risk for community transmission of COVID-19.

The four-tiered risk level, determined by the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department, is based on two metrics from the CDC -- total new cases per 100,000 in the past week and positive percentage of tests.

Currently, the county is at high risk, and 421 students and one staff member are quarantined.

Should the county drop to a moderate or low risk level, masks would be recommended indoors, but not required, and the district would send out a notice engaging the recommended protocol.

The following letter was sent out to LCSD1 families Wednesday night:

Dear LCSD1 Families,

As we have stated earlier, our goal is to stay in school for in-person learning. Most recently, the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department (CLCHD) has shared a level of urgency regarding masks and the need to return to face coverings.

Laramie County remains in the high-risk, “red” category for community transmission based on the total new cases per 100,000 in the past week and the percentage of positive tests. Additionally, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is at capacity and is using other areas including the emergency room and pediatric floor to house COVID-19 patients.

Just as we have seen in the community, our district has experienced a rise in positive COVID-19 cases and an increase in student and staff quarantines. Since Aug. 18, almost 1,000 students and staff have been quarantined. Currently, more than 420 are in quarantine. Additionally, we have seen more than 180 positive cases since Aug. 18 and currently have more than 90 active positive cases.

Due to these factors, Laramie County School District 1 has issued an addendum to its Smart Start Plan. Starting tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 9, the district will require all students and staff to wear a mask when they are unable to social distance by 6 feet. Mask free zones and mask breaks will be utilized in all classrooms.

Please help us follow the Big 4—If you feel sick or have symptoms stay home and contact your health care provider. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Social distance when possible. Wear face masks when you can’t social distance.

We understand that parents have choices and as a mom, I make them for my own children every day. We are asking you to help us keep your child in school, out of quarantine and connected to their teachers, friends and learning.

The mask protocol will continue as long as Laramie County remains in the High (Red) or Substantial (Orange) levels of community transmission, as designated through the CLCHD Transmission Risk Dashboard. Covid-19 County Guidance | City County Health (laramiecountycovid.com)

If Laramie County is in the Moderate (Yellow) or Low (Green) designation, universal mask wearing is recommended indoors and in crowded outdoor settings. This applies to everyone other than children under the age of two or with a medical exemption from a healthcare professional. When that occurs, another notice will be sent out engaging the recommended protocol.

Please note, because of recent changes in legislation, Wyoming school districts are faced with making health protocol decisions. The decision to wear masks is not taken lightly and is made following input from state and county health officials.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will send another update soon.

Sincerely,

Dr. Margaret Crespo Superintendent of Schools

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