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COVID-19 cases, quarantines continue to fall in Natrona County schools
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COVID-19 cases, quarantines continue to fall in Natrona County schools

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Jessica Christian gives her son Tobias a kiss through their face masks as he is dropped off for his first day of kindergarten Sept. 2 at Park Elementary School in Casper.

Natrona County schools continue to experience a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines, data released Friday shows.

The Natrona County School District’s weekly coronavirus update showed 14 positive cases over the past week. Eleven involved students. Another three were staff members of the district.

The same update showed that 78 students and eight staff members were quarantining due to a possible exposure to the virus.

Those numbers were in marked contrast to levels of cases and quarantines experienced this fall, when COVID-19 surged across Wyoming.

On Nov. 20, for example, 1,072 students and staff — accounting for roughly 7% of the district’s population — were in quarantine. The district that week also reported 66 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff.

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At a press conference around that time, Natrona County School District Superintendent Mike Jennings said the district was facing staffing challenges due to the virus. Compounding the challenge of teacher quarantines was a decline in the number of substitute teachers who were available.

More than half of substitute requests went unfilled in November, according to figures presented to the school board at the time.

As a result, teachers and other staff picked up additional duties, Jennings said.

Despite those challenges, schools in Natrona County have remained open. And since late November, cases and hospitalizations have declined considerably.

At the height of the surge, there were more than 10,000 active confirmed cases around the state. Than number has since fallen below 2,000.

The district’s fall semester ended Friday. Classes resume Jan. 5.

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Editor

Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

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