Balow gives guidance to school districts
CCSD2 to implement alternatives through extended closure
March 25, 2020
On the afternoon of March 27, Governor Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Alexia Harrist extended three orders aimed at limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The first order, which had been issued March 20, closed schools that had not already done so following recommendations from Gordon and State Superintendent Jillian Balow. A date of April 3 had originally been set by Gordon and Harrist, but has now been extended to April 17.
As cases of COVID-19 continued to increase throughout the state, Balow had advised school districts to have a plan in place in case the order was extended or if facilities were to be closed for the rest of the year. Following Gordon's extension of the orders, Balow released a statement in which she offered guidance to the school districts in Wyoming.
"School doors may be closed to students but Wyoming education is open for business," said Balow. "The desire by teachers to connect with their students and provide learning opportunities has been inspiring. Teaching and learning while practicing social distancing is a new concept for many. Teachers, parents and students all need support in order for it to be successful."
The statement instructed school districts to have an Adapted Learning Plan approved by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) prior to April 6. School districts would need to have this plan approved to continue to receive state funding. The statement went further, adding that on April 6 every district is expected to have continue to "provide an equitable education for all students in grades K-12 while access to school buildings is limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
“We are working through immense challenges with laws, policies, practices, and logistics. The collaboration among state leaders and local districts has been incredible,” Balow said. “We are all working together to give our students the education they deserve during this trying time.”
Following the extension of all three orders and advisement from Balow, Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) Superintendent Jim Copeland release a district-wide message previewing the school districts plans to meet the expectations from the WDE.
"We are preparing devices that we will distribute to families without devices at home – beginning with seniors first and then working down the grades. We are also working with Union to help with those families that do not have internet access at home. However, we will be limited to what internet access is available in all parts of our District. We will have hard copies of work available for pickup or possibly delivery also," wrote Copeland.
Copeland stressed that the plans were a work in progress and were subject to revision as the schools within the district learned what would and wouldn't work in the coming weeks. According to the plans, on March 30 teachers will be establishing contact with students and their families through email, phone calls or other means of communication. Teachers will also be setting their availability times for communication with parents and students along with the preferred method of communication.
The full plan can be found at https://www.crb2.org/39965_1 under "Adaptive Learning Plan."