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State of Wyoming to give 500,000 face masks to school districts
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State of Wyoming to give 500,000 face masks to school districts

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Masks

Two masks hang on a rearview mirror of a truck parked in the Walmart parking lot in Casper on July 20. The state of Wyoming will provide half a million face coverings to students.

Three Wyoming state agencies will together provide 500,000 face coverings to school districts here, the departments announced Monday.

The reusable face coverings, distributed by the departments of Health and Education and the Office of Homeland Security, are currently required for use within schools when staff and students can’t maintain 6 feet of distance. The gear will be distributed to each of Wyoming’s 48 school districts based on those districts’ actual enrollments (that calculation also determines staffing levels).

There are roughly 93,000 students in Wyoming’s public education system, alongside thousands of teachers, administrators, para-professionals, bus drivers and other school personnel.

“This pandemic has required state and local collaboration between public and private entities at a level that has not existed in the past,” the state’s top educator, Superintendent Jillian Balow, said in a statement announcing the distribution. “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.”

The agencies received the masks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, per the announcement. The coverings will begin shipping to school districts in the coming weeks.

The state’s 48 school boards, under framework released by the state Education Department earlier this month, have been drafting their own reopening plans, with school set to resume in the coming month. Natrona County’s board, together with the local health department, has discussed the reopening plan twice in the past month.

As currently written, their plan would also include face masks when social distancing is not possible, as state requirements currently mandate.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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