SARATOGA — On Friday, Carbon County School District 2 Superintendent Jim Copeland sent an update to Carbon County parents and staff on the school closures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Copeland said he joined an online meeting Thursday, during which he was updated on the latest guidance from state officials. He said the Wyoming Department of Education does not know at this point if the closure for K-12 schools, which is now an order from Gov. Mark Gordon rather than a recommendation, will continue past April 3. The WDE will continue to monitor the situation and give further guidance as the situation evolves.
The WDE has asked for waivers from the U.S. Department of Education to suspend WY-TOPP requirements for this year, and has asked for waivers from all federal accountability requirements for this current school year. The WDE has requested the waivers to allow more flexibility in using federal funding, also for more flexibility in dealing with the equity requirements during school closures, he said.
“Hopefully, this would allow districts to move forward with providing the best education possible to students without the worry of legal issues,” Copeland wrote.
Districts are to count students as “present” for the current closure period—in the case of CCSD#2, those dates are March 16-20 and March 30-April 3, because spring break was scheduled for March 23-27. The closure, as of yet, includes nine school days total.
The Wyoming Department of Education will continue regular online sessions with districts across the state on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to include briefings and question/answer periods. CCSD#2 will begin to add online resources, optional at this point, for parents and students to use during the closure period.
“This list will grow with links added daily,” Copeland said. “Next week is spring break – but the admin team is beginning the discussion of how to provide an educational framework for our students should the closure period extend beyond April 3.”
The framework will in all likelihood include online education where possible, and pick-up as applicable.
“We are aware that internet access may be an issue and are working on options, in addition to setting up school-owned devices where they can be taken home for those who do not have devices,” Copeland said. “I am hoping that the above-mentioned waivers will come through and we will have more flexibility to design an educational program if necessary beginning on April 6th. This could include online access to teachers for help during pre-set ‘office hours,’ etc.
“Rest assured we are responding to this in a way that keeps our staff and students as safe as possible, and yet provides learning for our students and resources for our parents,” Copeland said.