As of Monday, August 2, 2021, masks will not be required for students and staff in Johnson County School District #1. The safety and health of staff, students and community remains to be a top priority for the district as we get ready to start the year.
The federal requirements of masks on federal transportation (buses) are being reviewed at the state level and when more information or direction is given, the staff, students, parents, and community will be informed. The district will continue to recommend only at this time that masks and social distancing protocol take place when feasible.
“It is the goal of the district to educate all kids in person and in the least restrictive learning environment,” said JCSD Superintendent Charles Auzqui.
The school district will follow all the current state and federal guidelines for contact tracing, isolation of positive cases and quarantining of positive COVID cases. Anyone identified as being in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID and has been vaccinated, or both individuals (the person with COVID and the contact person) were wearing a mask in a school setting, will not be required to quarantine, but to self-monitor for symptoms.
The Johnson County COVID Task Force is in consensus that whether masks will be required at some point throughout the school year will depend on a variety of factors, including the number of cases in the community, the number of students and staff in isolation or quarantine at one time, and the number of people hospitalized. The Task Force includes representatives from the Johnson County School District, Johnson County Healthcare Center, Johnson County Public Health, Johnson County Emergency Management and Sheridan College in Johnson County.
“We are no longer dealing with an emergency. COVID is something we must now learn to live with,” said Johnson County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Schueler. “We can expect an increase in cases with the start of the school year, and we will proceed by making careful, thoughtful decisions.”
The task force will continue to meet weekly to discuss trigger points that, when met, will determine next steps. Those trigger points include items such as COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations, and the percentage of K-12 students out of school. The task force will communicate with the public by developing a centralized website or link, which is currently being finalized and will be available for the public in the coming weeks. The site will include case counts, hospitalizations, testing information, and vaccine information. It is the hope of the task force that a centralized place for all of this information as well as any updates will prove helpful to the public, according to Jennifer Burden, Johnson County Healthcare Center marketing director.
“It’s important for the public to know that our No. 1 focus is the health of our community,” Burden said. “We need to increase the number of vaccinated people, we need to continue good habits such as frequent hand-washing, and we need those experiencing symptoms to stay home.”
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be offered through Public Health, 684-2564; the Family Medical Center at the Johnson County Healthcare Center, 684-2228; Buffalo Prescription Shop, 684-7003; Corner Stone Pharmacy, 620-7071; and Big Horn Pediatrics & Family Medicine, 620-8845.
Testing options are also available at The Family Medical Center, Big Horn Pediatrics & Family Medicine, and at Buffalo Urgent Care, 278-0280.