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Wyoming Health Department denies Pine Bluffs schools mask variance

Wyoming Health Department denies Pine Bluffs schools mask variance

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This electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the SARS-CoV-2 virus particles that cause COVID-19. 

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Department of Health has denied Laramie County School District 2’s request for an exemption to the state’s continued mask mandate in K-12 schools.

The rural eastern Laramie County district, which serves roughly 1,050 students in grades K-12, applied for the exemption a few weeks ago and received notice that it was denied last week.

According to the district’s website, it counted two active cases of COVID-19 and 12 individuals in quarantine as of the afternoon of April 27.

Laramie County, as a whole, is experiencing some of the highest case numbers in Wyoming, recording 102 active COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon. Although Gov. Mark Gordon recently lifted the statewide mask mandate for most other public spaces, including gyms and bars, face coverings are still required in schools when social distancing is not possible. Students and staff who are wearing masks if and when they are exposed to an infected individual do not have to quarantine.

To date, the state health department has granted exemptions to 20 of Wyoming’s 48 total school districts, and all of those are in areas with low case counts.

Every district granted an exemption fell into the department’s so-called green zones, which means it encompasses an area with fewer than 19 cases per 100,000 people. Laramie County, however, does not fall into the green zone.

Laramie County School District 1, Wyoming largest district, has already said it will not seek an exemption to the mask mandate.

 
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