By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s school districts will have the option to have their teachers surveillance tested, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said Wednesday.
During a news conference alongside Gov. Mark Gordon and state public health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, Balow discussed updates regarding the reopening of schools later this month.
Gordon announced that school districts that choose to do so can conduct “surveillance testing,” a technique in which random teachers and staff will be tested for coronavirus on a rotating basis. Balow noted the details of the testing have not yet been finalized and more information will be coming soon.
She said the department released information about testing to the districts so everyone could begin planning ahead, but added she couldn’t share more.
Harrist said during a previous news conference that she expected coronavirus cases to pop up in schools as they reopen, although she clarified Wednesday that she doesn’t necessarily expect an outbreak.
All of the state’s school districts have submitted reopening plans to the WDE and more than half have been approved. Balow hoped the rest would be completed by the end of the week.
All of the district have three-tier plans for reopening, and most are slated to open their doors to students for some type of in-person instruction later this month.
Balow reminded that students, staff and faculty will have be distanced or wear masks in instances when they can’t be more than 6 feet apart.
She also thanked the Wyoming High School Activities Association for the work it has done to ensure student athletes’ safety with sports restarting week.
“We’re in a good place, but certainly there will be course corrections,” she said.
Balow noted many school districts in the state are offering some type of hybrid virtual learning options, in the case of parents and families who don’t feel comfortable sending students to in-person classes.