GOSHEN COUNTY – Following new guidance on COVID-19 precautions from the Wyoming Department of Education, Goshen County School District No. 1 Superintendent Ryan Kramer said students probably won’t return to their classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year, which ends May 26 – and is aiming for a return back to normal in the fall.
“That really is highly unlikely,” Kramer said on Monday. “We’re hopefully optimistic for the fall. That would be when we return to ‘normal.’”
It’s important to note that school is in session and the days – grades – do count, even though the district has moved its curriculum online for the remainder of the current school year.
The exception, Kramer said, is the district’s high needs population. With the county health officials blessing, it’s possible that groups of one or two students and a teacher could utilize face-to-face instruction, with the proper precautions taken to help curb the spread of COVID-19. A nuanced-evolved opening, Kramer said, could be an option for some special education students.
“It’s the possibility of districts, along with the county health official, defining groups that would benefits from face-to-face instruction – and when I say small groups I’m talking about one or two individual students that would benefit from that instruction at a face-to-face level,” he said. “That’s after developing guidelines for safety and personal protective equipment, we’d be allowed to have those students and staff in a school building.
“It would focus first on those students who have the highest needs for special education, in which our adaptive learning plan is not being successful. Those would be the main students we’d focus on through the remainder of what would have been the regular school year.”
Last week, state Superintendent of Instruction Jillian Balow said that health officials will play a significant role in any decision to re-open classrooms.
“Before schools re-open, whether that is this spring in a limited capacity, or during the summer months in a limited capacity, or in the fall, all school districts must submit a re-opening schools plan to the state that is approved not only by the state and local health officer, but also by the superintendent of schools and the state superintendent,” she said.
The GCSD’s summer school program could potentially put students who have an ‘incomplete’ in the gradebook or are below grade level in a subject back in the classroom prior to the fall semester – but, once again, there will need to be precautions.
“Even our summer school, in working with our county health officials, determining the priority, with safety for the students – what the appropriate measures are, we’re looking at small groups. What I’m thinking small groups for the summer, that could look like five or six students, possibly up to 10 if needed.
“That would all be dictated with our county health official, with specific guidance centered around safety precautions, and looking for signs before we enter the building – like temperature, those kinds of things.”