Top 2021 Stories from Sheridan County Schools

The John C. Schiffer School

SCSD#1 – Tongue River and Big Horn

In a special meeting of the SCSD #1 board on September 1, it was announced that just like SCSD #2, students in SCSD #1 will have to continue to wear their masks for a while. In a 4-to-1 vote, the District #1 Board implemented a mask policy during school and at indoor events starting in September. Superintendent Pete Kilbride said he wants to keep the schools open, that’s why he recommended to the board vote for the mask mandate.

At the September 22 SCSD#1 regular board meeting, Annie Griffin, Tongue River Elementary School Principal, reported that Tongue River Elementary was named a Blue Ribbon School for 2021. Griffin said this is a huge honor, as TRES was one of only two schools in the state to receive the designation.

At the November 16meeting,Superintendent Pete Kilbride lifted the mask mandate, but added that masks were still strongly recommended. He gave an update on Covid-19, saying that things have changed quite a bit in the last few weeks. He said the number of cases is down by 321. “We were in the yellow, which is good. We moved to light green last week, which is even better. During the same time period, the last two weeks in October of 2020, there were 154 cases, now there are 104.”

SCSD#2 Sheridan

At the April 5, SCSD#2 board meeting,Superintendent Craig Dougherty reported on the Smart Start, which is a partnership with Sheridan County Public Health, to continue to evaluate the impact of Covid-19. According to Dougherty, Covid-19 cases are holding at low levels prior to spring break. “We are tracking the data and communicating regularly with health officials,” he said.

He added that the school is looking into dropping the mask mandate for the rest of the school year.

School started Aug. 31 in SCSD #2. The school board held a special meeting on Aug 30 to address the issue of masks in SCSD#2 classrooms and on buses. The meeting drew a large crowd of anti-mask community members and parents, and several speakers talked about the disadvantages of wearing masks. Due to the recommendations of health officials, SCSD#2 voted to mandated the wearing of masks.

The November 1st SCSD#2 school board went viral due to a protest by around 10 parents who were against the SCSD#2 requiring masks. The unmasked parents refused to wear masks and refused to leave when officers from the SPD requested they obey the mask rule at the meeting. Douglas Wheeler, parent, felt that he was entitled to attend without a mask due to his disability and cited the American’s with disabilities act, saying, “no person with a disability, shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services…” Chairman Sue Wilson adjourned the meeting and announced the meeting would continue later via zoom.

On November 3,Free Our Faces, a group of Sheridan parents who are against the mask mandate at SCSD#2, filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against SCSD#2 School Board of Trustees, as well against Governor Gordon, and the Wyoming Department of Health.

Shelta Rambur, Tiffany Leimback, and a host of other parents, with attorney Nick Beduhn filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Cheyenne.

In a special meeting of SCSD#2, on Nov. 16, Superintendent Scott Stults, with the recommendation of Dr. Hunter, approached the board with the recommendation that masks no longer be required at SCSD #2, but are strongly recommended. Stults replaced Craig Dougherty, who retired in June.

Nancy Schiffer, and Schiffer students Parris Goins and Noah Lansing were among the speakers at the dedication of the new John C. Schiffer school on Oct. 19. Around 50 people attended the dedication.

Scott Stults opened the dedication and talked about the design of the school, and referred to the room where the reception was held, the cafeteria, and why it is referred to as the ‘heart’ of the school.

SCSD#3 Arvada-Clearmont

At the Jan. 13 SCSD#3 board meeting discussed beginning the process to mothball the Arvada Elementary school due to lack of students. The buildings are owned by the state of Wyoming, and State Facilities Commission has a process to go through before the buildings can be mothballed. It consists in part with holding community meetings, but as of yet those meetings have not been set.

On May 5, the board held a special meeting and voted to accept the resignation of Superintendent Charles Auzqui who recently accepted the position of Superintendent of Johnson County District Schools and to discuss steps to be taken to hire a new superintendent for the school. Boyd Brown was hired to be the interim superintendent.

At the September 8th SCSD#3 special meeting the masks mandate was discussed. The board made the decision not to mandate masks for students and staff this school year, at least for now.

Acting Superintendent Boyd Brown said that SCSD#3 started the school without the mandate. Dr. Ian Hunter, Sheridan, sent Brown a letter stating that due to the small class sizes, students can better social distance at District #3, so at the present time masks are not recommended for the District. “If county health recommends masks, we will reinstate them,” Brown said.

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