Trustees hear update on Smart Start plan

District 2 Superintendent Craig Dougherty updated trustees on the district's back-to-school plan this week. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Craig Dougherty, who’s Sheridan County School District 2 superintendent, said he’ll be visiting every school site in the district starting next week as the district prepares for students to come back to the school buildings on Aug. 25.

Dougherty updated trustees on the district’s Smart Start plan at their meeting earlier this week. He said the district has received approval for the plan from the Wyoming Department of Education, and a letter from Jillian Balow, who’s the state superintendent of public instruction, was included in the trustees’ board packet.

Dougherty said the district has been in continuous communication with local and state health officials, and they have been providing feedback on a regular basis.

The plan requires all students to wear masks, and parents will be required to screen their children daily for COVID-19 before sending them to school.

The district and schools are emphasizing the importance of children staying home when they’re ill, and district staff will be instructed to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. The plan calls for substitute staff to be screened by the school nurse upon arrival at a school.

Dougherty said all the protocols have been developed with input from local and state health officials. In addition to masks, the district will make hand sanitizer available at multiple locations within each building, and the district and schools will adhere to local health department requirements regarding hand washing, masks, water fountains and restrooms.

The district’s Smart Start plan has three tiers. The first tier, which the district will start with later this month, is for all schools to be open. The remaining two tiers would be implemented if the COVID-19 situation worsens and if implementation is called for by state health officials.

Tier II, Dougherty said, is a hybrid form in which school buildings would be open to some students, but other students would be taught online as they were in the final months before the end of the past school year.

Under Tier III, all school buildings would again be closed, and all instruction would be delivered virtually.

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