Most of Wyoming’s schools closed on Monday, extending their spring breaks by one to two weeks, in response to a recommendation by Gov. Mark Gordon and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.
Officials with schools in Powell, Gillette and Lusk said they would decide by Monday whether to close schools and officials in Kemmerer said they would keep classes open.
“The district does put student safety and what is best first,” the district said in a statement on its Facebook page. “We are monitoring the decision to have school daily. This decision was made in coordination with our local hospital leaders. The district along with local health and community leaders will be discussing the situation daily. The Governor’s statement does not replace the responsibility of the local district to make the decision.”
Gordon and Balow on Sunday issued a recommendation for schools to close to give school officials time to develop plans to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The two emphasized the decision to close schools would be made at the local level.
“In the midst of this pandemic, communities need the latitude, empowerment, and support to make difficult decisions that affect education, economy, and essential functions,” Gordon said.
The University of Wyoming on Monday announced that when spring break ends on March 30, undergraduate students will take classes online only. The move came after the UW extended its spring break by a week.
Online classes will also be the primary teaching method at Laramie County Community College when its spring break ends April 1.
All seven of the state’s community colleges by Sunday had announced a one- to two-week extension of their spring breaks, with classes not set to resume in most cases until the end of March or early April.