CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security (WOHS), the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) have announced a joint effort to deliver 500,000 face coverings to school districts around the state. The cloth face coverings are washable, and will help school districts meet safety needs for reopening schools this fall. According to current state public health orders, face coverings are required in schools when six feet of physical distancing is not practical.
“This pandemic has required state and local collaboration between public and private entities at a level that has not existed in the past,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said. “As a result, we’re seeing incredible partnerships formed that will hopefully remain permanent. The delivery of these face coverings is one of many accomplishments arising out of these strong state and private partnerships.”
WDH/WOHS identified these face coverings as a potential resource for schools. This resource was obtained by WDH/WOHS through FEMA. Ongoing procurement activities are a joint effort between these agencies as they continue to pursue critical supplies to support Wyoming’s communities. This needed resource is being distributed in early August to school districts across the state through the partnership between WDH/WOHS and county emergency management.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to assist WDE in its efforts to reopen schools in a safe and timely manner,” WOHS Director Lynn Budd said. “The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, the Wyoming Department of Health and other state and local agencies are coordinating efforts to distribute the face coverings to each county emergency manager. Each emergency manager will in turn coordinate with their local school districts to arrange for distribution of the face coverings.”
WDH recommends people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where it is not possible or reasonable to stay physically apart.
“We know some individuals can transmit the virus to others before they feel or show any symptoms. It’s also becoming increasingly clear the virus spreads mainly between people when they are close to each other. Cloth face coverings have been effective in helping to block the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.