CHEYENNE – Roughly 100 students from Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High were told to stay home Tuesday after a staff member at the school tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
After becoming aware of the positive case – the first reported in Wyoming’s largest school district – Laramie County School District 1 officials reached out Monday evening to the families of students and staff who may have been in contact with the staff member and instructed them to stay home the next day.
The exact number of students to receive quarantine orders from the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department was not known Tuesday morning, though LCSD1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said the district will be ready to do remote instruction for everyone who needs it.
“My assumption is the county health department, once they do their contact tracing, will recommend that (students) don’t get tested for a few days, because if you get tested before a point where the virus shows enough, you might miss it,” Brown said.
While Brown declined to disclose any further details about the staff member, such as whether he or she is a teacher, he said “at least one” other McCormick employee has been involved in contact tracing connected to the case.
“That may require them to be quarantined, as well, but if they’re just quarantined and able to teach, we’ll just have them do that remotely,” Brown said.
Staff, just like students, are required to follow protocols set by local health officials and approved by the Wyoming Department of Education. They must frequently wash their hands, socially distance when possible and wear masks in common areas.
“It’s the same for everybody, whether they have students or don’t have students,” Brown said.
McCormick has 586 students enrolled for the 2020-21 school year. Anyone at the school who may have been in contact with the staff member who tested positive can access free COVID-19 testing at the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department, and those who have to quarantine will be welcomed back to school as soon as their order expires, Brown said.
Moving forward, the school’s focus will be on helping some navigate virtual learning, while assisting other students who might be dealing with the absence of a teacher.
“To tell you the truth, we feel fairly lucky that we’ve made it almost a month before we had an issue where we had to do any of this,” Brown said.