Planning for school openings this fall is underway, according to a Thursday release from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).
The process to reopen schools across the state will be assisted by Smart Start, a working group comprised of educators, healthcare professionals and technology partners instituted by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. The group will consider key issues and make recommendations to Governor Mark Gordon’s COVID-19 Education Task Force.
Guidance will be drafted for school districts and other educational institutions, and Smart Start will recommend various components for the Smart Start template that school districts can use to safely reopen Wyoming’s schools.
“The most important decisions about opening schools this fall take place at the local level with schools and health officials working together,” Balow said. “Smart Start is intended to spur local conversations and provide a framework for reopening.”
The Governor echoed Balow’s sentiment.
“This working group will look strategically at reopening and develop guidance and best practices for schools so they can ensure the safety and well-being of their students this fall,” he said.
Wanda Maloney, director of accountability at WDE, stressed the importance of safety in making these recommendations for re-opening of schools.
“Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of students and staff as we consider recommendations for re-opening of schools,” Maloney said.
The working group is co-chaired by Maloney and Stephanie Pyle, Wyoming senior administrator of public health, the release stated.
“As everyone involved looks forward to the next school year, the Department of Health is happy to work with this team to help ensure plans include common-sense measures meant to help limit and reduce the further spread of COVID-19,” Pyle said.