State Superintendent answers questions about masks in schools and substitute teachers

 Jillian Balow
Jillian Balow (KGWN)
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 4:55 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - How are schools going to enforce those if kids don’t want to wear them or if special needs kids don’t understand the importance?

“The state health orders do have provisions and exceptions for students who may have trouble wearing a mask for a number of different reasons. It’s important for parents to know that those are listed those exceptions are listed they do exist and they require a doctor’s note or something that’s written in an IEP. [individualized education plan] It would be a little more difficult to just say my child is not going to wear a mask because I choose that.  There has to be a justification in place because of state health orders right now and the fact we know that masks are one precaution that we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Balow said.

Will there be enough substitutes if a teacher does have to quarantine?

“We always need substitute teachers but that maybe even at a more increased level this year.  I know a lot of school districts are working to recruit substitute teachers to their school district. There is also the concept of a teacher who may be quarantining and able to teach remotely if they’re not symptomatic and they’re not sick. Some school districts are looking at being very creative with teachers’ use of time and planning for both virtual and in-person instruction,” Balow said.

Does that mean that digital teaching is an option?

“We are seeing most school districts do is set up what’s called a classroom-based virtual education.  In addition to planning their classroom instruction their brick and mortar face to face instruction, they’re also putting all of that on an online platform and that will allow schools to do is if they have to go to tier 2 or tier 3 you’ll remember last year we had a 3-week transition for many school districts. If it’s individual teachers or individual schools to be able to toggle from in-person to virtual instruction either with students or maybe an entire classroom. That’s a really different way of approaching education than we have in the past,” Balow said.

Balow adds she’s grateful for all the Wyoming educators stepping up and making plans to keep everyone safe.

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