Public Health Officials Predict Tough School Year Ahead

Public Health Officials Predict Tough School Year Ahead

SWEETWATER COUNTY — With school starting next week and both Sweetwater County school districts already stating they will not implement mask mandates, Sweetwater County public health officials are bracing for the impact of schools resuming and the possibility of COVID-19 spiking in the community.

During a monthly COVID-19 informational meeting today with health officials, media representatives, business leaders, and elected officials, the public health officials were asked what they thought about Governor Mark Gordon not requiring schools K-12 to were masks and allowing local school boards to make that decision.

Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon said last year both districts saw the success of what happens with masks being worn. She said it will not be too hard to see what the differences between the first few months of school from last year with mask mandates versus this year without mask mandates.

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“I guess we’ll see what happens,” Dr. Stachon said.

She said it appears most of the school districts, like Sweetwater County, in Wyoming have decided not to require masks.

“I’d still be wearing one if I were at the school,” Dr. Jean Stachon said.

Dr. Stachon predicted all healthcare professionals will be working hard again this year after school begins and as the year continues.

Sweetwater County School District No. 2 Board Chairman Steve Core, who was attending the meeting, said the board is looking to approve its Smart Start plan at its meeting tomorrow. Included in that plan, is an outline of how the district will respond if the virus gets out of hand.

If any building has 15 percent or more of the COVID-19 virus in the school, the building will be required to mask. If a school reaches 30 percent, then the building will be shut down.

“We made the announcement about the mask mandate in July and just want to remind everybody that school board members are elected by the public,” Core said. “And to be honest with you, I have received zero calls, zero comments on that announcement.”

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Dr. Clielette Karn said unless everyone who gets sick is required to have a COVID-19 test, it will be hard for the school district to track the percentages.

However, no one at the meeting knew if you could legally require someone to get a COVID-19 test. That’s something the school district’s board attorney will have to answer.

Core said he wanted to add that out of the 520 employees about 300 have received the vaccine.