CARBON COUNTY — Carbon County School District No. 1 Superintendent Mike Hamel posted an open letter to district families on Friday, expressing concern about the current spike of coronavirus cases both in the county and across Wyoming.

Hamel started off the letter, which was posted to the district’s Facebook page, by sharing his gratitude for the ability to reopen the district schools in August and have managed to keep them open ever since. He was also happy about the fact that the district’s athletic and activity programs have had a mostly active season this fall.

“That being said, I am very worried about the current health data in our district, our county and our state,” he said. “Wyoming presently has the fourth highest per capita infection rate in the nation. Many health care facilities are at or near capacity.”

He also touched on the fact that Carbon County just this week implemented a mandatory mask mandate, requiring adults to wear masks (with exceptions) in public places. Gov. Mark Gordon also amended the state’s health orders on Thursday, which reduces indoor gatherings to no more than 25 and limiting the capacity of people at outdoor events.

Due to the present data, the district will implement virtual learning days at Rawlins High School on Monday and Tuesday. All athletic and activity programs are suspended until at least Nov. 30.

Hamel said the district has seen a number of students and staff who haven’t been able to attend work or school due to either testing positive or coming into close contact with someone who was positive with the virus. The school system is close to not having enough sufficient adult personnel to continue operations.

Hamel pleaded with families to make “healthy” choices during the holiday season, beginning now until early January. He even suggested the consideration of limiting holiday gatherings that someone attends or hosts.

If virus activity continues to spike, Hamel hinted at the possibility of closing the schools again to prevent more of a spread.

“I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “I hope everyone is able to enjoy time with small gatherings of family. I hope, together as a community, we are able to get to a much healthier situation than we presently are experiencing.”

Ellen Fike is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne. She can be reached at elfylucille@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenLFike.

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