Cody Middle School Staff Test Positive for COVID-19; No Student Masks Required

Cody Middle School Staff Test Positive for COVID-19; No Student Masks Required

Written by on May 10, 2021

Park County School District #6 has confirmed that two staff members tested positive, but there is “no intention of going back” to mandatory masks in Cody.

Park County School District #6 Superintendent Peg Monteith confirmed that two staff at Cody Middle School tested positive for COVID-19. Their positions in the school have not been disclosed.

These cases come only two weeks after all Cody schools got permission from the state to go maskless. All students in the district have been attending classes without masks since late April.

On Tuesday, April 20, the Cody school board voted unanimously to request the variance. Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin submitted the variance request to the Wyoming Department of Health on April 22, which approved it the next day.

Superintendent Monteith affirms that the positive cases will not change the new status-quo at Cody schools: masks are recommended, not required.

In a statement to KODI, Monteith says the district hasn’t even considered a return to a mandatory mask policy.

We are absolutely not requiring masks. We are recommending that those who may be concerned about the fact that two staff members have tested positive at CMS are aware of that and exercise the option of wearing a mask. Parents use their best judgment regarding their own children.

Optional! Recommended but not required.

We have no intention of going back to requiring masks, with the exception of the continued mandate from the federal level for school buses.”

There is a federal public health order requiring masks on all public transportation. The Wyoming Department of Health does not have the authority to grant exemptions to federal orders.

The variance requested and approved by the Wyoming Department of Health does include a provision permitting the variance to be rescinded. But that’s only if there is an outbreak within the school – more than two cases simultaneously.

“Park County School District #6 will continue to follow isolation and quarantine and other recommendations from public health officials. If transmission levels in Park County increase or an outbreak occur within the school, this exemption request may be revoked by the County or State Health Officer.”

It’s unlikely that Park County Public Health or the Wyoming Department of Health will take any action in light of the two confirmed cases.

As of Monday, May 10, masks will still be required for the Cody High School graduation on Saturday, May 29 – depending on the venue. That is due to the state’s Public Health Order #2, which remains in effect.

The district is planning for graduation to occur on Spike Vannoy Field. If held outdoors, masks would be optional. However, if bad weather forces the event to be held at the Sweitzer Gym, masks will be mandatory.

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