By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The superintendent for Rawlins schools is warning parents that if coronavirus cases continue to increase within local schools, a mask mandate will again be implemented.
Superintendent Mike Hamel, superintendent of Carbon County School District No. 1, wrote a letter to parents on Tuesday, noting that the district currently has 10 staff and 89 students absent due to COVID.
“We have approximately 10 staff and 89 students out due to either having tested positive for Covid-19 or to having been determined to be a close contact to a known positive individual and being required to quarantine. We are seeing a noticeably higher rate of positive cases with students this year compared to last year,” Hamel wrote.
He urged parents to make sure their children were frequently using hand sanitizer and to encourage their children to wear a mask. While the district doesn’t have a mask mandate in place, if cases continue to rise, there would be one, he said.
“I want parents to have a little lead time that should our numbers continue to rise we will be reinstituting a mask requirement for all students and staff,” he wrote. “We would also look at reinstituting other protocols such as limiting access to facilities for outside agencies and parents, requiring masks at events and limiting fans at events. We are hopeful to keep in-person instruction available to everyone but we will be making plans to transition to a virtual platform should such a step become necessary.”
Hamel also encouraged parents to talk with their health care providers about the parents or their children getting one of the COVID vaccines, if they are eligible.
Currently, Teton, Albany and Sheridan’s school districts have implemented a mask mandate due to rising COVID cases across the state. Goshen County is considering one as well.
As of Tuesday, Carbon County had 63 active COVID cases.
Gov. Mark Gordon said Tuesday during a speech in Jackson that he would leave it up for cities, counties and school districts to make their own decisions regarding precautions to take to prevent transmission of the virus.