The Campbell County School District has not yet made a decision yet on whether to close its schools.
On Sunday, Gov. Mark Gordon and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow recommended the closure of all of the state’s schools through April 3 to give school officials and communities time to develop plans to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
They left it up to the individual school districts to decide whether to close schools.
Alex Ayers, superintendent of the Campbell County School District, said the district is not ready to make a decision yet. Students are on spring break this week.
After a conference call with state officials and other school superintendents, there were “a lot of unanswered questions” on the superintendents’ end, he said, but the district is working to make the best decision it can.
This is a “complicated situation,” Ayers said, and the district is “learning more and more by the hour.”
He and other school officials are meeting with Campbell County Public Health on Monday afternoon, and they’re working to make “the best decision we can,” he added.
Laramie, Fremont, Teton and Natrona counties have already announced school closures.
UW moves to online courses
The University of Wyoming announced Monday morning it will move to online course delivery for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
Last week, UW extended its spring break by one week.
Acting President Neil Theobald and the UW administration have announced a plan that will allow students to continue progress toward their degrees and the university to continue operations, with many employees working remotely.
“This response plan seeks to allow the university to best address the larger public health needs of the university community, Albany County and the state of Wyoming,” Theobald said in a press release. “We are invested in keeping our campus community members as healthy as possible.”
Faculty members will email students enrolled in their courses as soon as possible to share plans for course continuation and access to WyoCourses, the platform used for online instruction.
An online survey will be administered for students to assess their limitations with, and accessibility to, technology. UW will contact any student upon request who identifies needs for accessibility tools so that students’ learning needs are met. Student support services will remain open and available.
“Our campus resources are mobilizing to continue providing support remotely,” Theobald said. “Students continue to progress toward graduation.”
At this point, UW’s spring commencement ceremonies are scheduled to take place as scheduled in May.
City Hall closes
Gillette City Hall is closed until further notice.
The decision was made Monday morning, said City Clerk Cindy Staskiewicz. City Hall will be staffed minimally, but the public won’t be able to come in. The city’s services will continue, and residents are being asked to do everything online or over the phone, to “minimize face to face contact.”
A list of city department phone numbers will be posted in the building’s entry way, and they also can be found at gillettewy.gov.
Additionally, the City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday will take place, but its agenda has been “drastically” changed, Staskiewicz said. Agenda items expected to garner public interest, including utility rates and the gaming ordinance, have been postponed.
The tentative plan for the City Council after Tuesday’s meeting is to not meet again until April 7, but that could change and be pushed back further, Staskiewicz said.
Municipal Court also is closed indefinitely. Court Clerk Keli Mills said everyone who has bench trials scheduled will receive notices in the mail to reschedule for a later date.
Arraignments that were scheduled for March 17, 24, 31 and April 7 all will be moved to May 13, starting at 8:30 a.m., Mills said. This could change, depending on how long this thing drags out, she added.
Payments can be made either through mail or by calling the court’s office at 686-5254.
Catholics cancel Masses
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne has temporarily suspended all Masses.
Parish offices will remain open for now. The decision was made after a conference call with Gov. Mark Gordon, the state Department of Health and other leaders of faith-based organizations in Wyoming.
NEWCA Home Show still on, for now
As of Monday morning, the Northeast Wyoming Contractor’s Association Home Show scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Cam-plex is still on, said Gail Lofing, executive director for the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce.
While there is concern about the spread of COVID-19, there haven’t been any cases confirmed locally and Campbell County Public Health hasn’t yet said the event or others should be canceled or suspended, Lofing said.
“We’re working with local officials” on making a determination, she said, adding that a final decision on whether the show happens this weekend could change.
So far, Campbell County Public Health has not recommended that the NEWCA show be canceled, Lofing said.
“We’re trying to do what’s right, but we also don’t want to cause a panic, either,” she said Monday morning. “We need to make a (final) decision by tomorrow.”
She said the show is mindful of the concern there is for contraction or spreading COVID-19 and the CDC’s urging for social distancing.
“We certainly don’t want to cause any harm to anybody, but we’re going to go on the best we can,” she said.
More than 100 vendors have signed up for the NEWCA Home Show, one of the most popular early season events of the year in Gillette.
Even if the show is held, it’s likely attendance could be impacted by COVID-19 concerns and that some vendors have pulled out, Lofing said.
“There are a few that are not coming,” she said.
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