Smart Start Working Group Looks Ahead to Fall School Openings

CHEYENNE –  Planning for school openings this fall is underway. Smart Start, a working group composed of educators, healthcare professionals, and technology partners, was recently put into place by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. The group will consider key issues and make recommendations related to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year to Governor Mark Gordon’s COVID-19 Education Task Force, which is chaired by Superintendent Balow.

“The most important decisions about opening schools this fall take place at the local level with schools and health officials working together,” Superintendent Balow said. “Smart Start is intended to spur local conversations and provide a framework for reopening.”

Guidance will be drafted for school districts and other educational institutions, and the group will recommend components for the Smart Start template that school districts will use to safely reopen schools in Wyoming.

“We need to ensure learning can continue under a variety of potential circumstances,” Governor Gordon said. “This working group will look strategically at reopening and develop guidance and best practices for schools so they can ensure the safety and well-being of their students this fall.”

“Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of students and staff as we consider recommendations for re-opening of schools,” said Wanda Maloney, Director of Accountability at the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).

The working group is co-chaired by Maloney and Stephanie Pyle, Wyoming Senior Administrator of Public Health. The WDE, along with the Department of Health, will provide updates and information as the group continues to offer recommendations on how to safely reopen schools.

“As everyone involved looks forward to the next school year, the Department of Health is happy to work with this team to help ensure plans include common-sense measures meant to help limit and reduce the further spread of COVID-19,” Pyle said.

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Media contact:
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director
307-777-2053
linda.finnerty@wyo.gov.