COVID-19 Resources

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is working closely with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and other agencies to monitor COVID-19 (commonly called coronavirus) activity.

School districts should work directly with their local community health department to establish protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 and educate their employees and students on prevention. Districts may also contact the WDH at wdh.covid19@wyo.gov.

This page will be updated frequently; check back often for updates.

Important Links:

WDE Updates:

School Closure Information

Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Health have extended three  existing public health orders that keep schools closed to students through April 17. School operations and funding during this time period will proceed as follows:

  • Each Wyoming school district must have an Adapted Learning Plan approved by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) prior to April 6 to continue to receive state funding. The guidance document for Adapted Learning Plans can be found here.
  • Once approved, Adapted Learning Plans are valid through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Status checks will be conducted by the WDE with each district at the end of April, and if necessary in May, to ensure adherence to their plans. Failure to adhere to plans may result in a determination that full funding is not appropriate, or that missed school days need to be made up.
  • At the expiration of the statewide school closure to students, or the end of the school calendar year, I will make a determination as to whether exercising my authority under W.S. 21-13-307(a)(ii)(B) to hold all schools in a district harmless from daily proportional reduction of block grant funding due to school building closures is appropriate. That determination will be based on whether the district has followed through with its Adapted Learning Plan.
  • A primary consideration when evaluating adherence to Adapted Learning Plans will be the tracking of student attendance. The WDE will provide further guidance on general expectations on this topic this week.
  • This guidance is in addition to the approval of all school closures occurring on school calendar days from March 16 to April 3, 2020 through Memorandum No. 2020-040.
  • Wyoming Department of Health guidance for educational institutions provides some narrow exceptions to full student closures. Please review the guidance and contact the local health officer to utilize an exception.

For more information on the temporary school closure form, contact Elaine Marces at
307-777-6210 or elaine.marces@wyo.gov.

WDE Division or Program Information

Assessment

On March 20, USED approved Superintendent Balow’s request for a waiver from assessment requirements. As a result, Wyoming students will not take the summative statewide assessment, WY-TOPP, this spring. WY-ALT is also suspended. Any additional changes will be posted to the assessment calendar and also included in the weekly assessment newsletter.

ACT has canceled all State and National Testing for March through April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic; there is no longer concern about census testing. Testing options are strictly to give juniors the opportunity to take the ACT for college submissions and scholarships. The WDE has issued a brief survey about possible options moving forward.

The College Board has announced that they are working to make AP tests available online to students enrolled in AP courses. The latest information and resources are available here.

For more information on statewide assessments, contact Jessica Steinbrenner, Assessment Supervisor, at 307-777-8568 or jessica.steinbrenner@wyo.gov.

Accountability

On March 20, USED approved Superintendent Balow’s request for a waiver from certain accountability and report card provisions. As a results, no formal accountability determinations will be made for the 2019-20 school year. School districts may request an informal review of their School Performance Rating under Chapter 3 Rules if they were unable to administer the statewide assessment for good cause.

For more information on accountability, contact Sean McInerney, Accountability Supervisor, at 307-777-8752 or sean.mcinerney@wyo.gov.

Alternative Schedule Proposals

Alternative schedule requests are due May 1. For alternative schedule proposals, the WDE will accept virtual public meetings as compliant with Chapter 21 requirements. More information on alternative schedules is available here. Contact Elaine Marces at 307-777-6210 or elaine.marces@wyo.gov.

School Nutrition

Guidance is below regarding meal service during school closures due to COVID-19.  The two waivers that the WDE submitted to the USDA on March 9 regarding unexpected school closure and congregate feeding have been approved. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is the only program that allows for the provision of meals during school closure. To join the Summer Food Service Program, districts must contact Tamra Jackson. Once districts have joined the program, a waiver must be completed through the USDA process detailed below.

Questions and Answers

Meal Service

Additional Resources

For more information, contact Tamra Jackson, Nutrition Program Supervisor, at
307-777-6263 or tamra.jackson@wyo.gov.

School Support

Adapted Learning
Districts wishing to implement alternative education delivery, such as Adaptive Learning, should keep several considerations in mind. Assurances to maintain instruction fidelity for all students remain the responsibility of individual schools or districts. Guidance on creating an emergency school closure Adapted plan, training, and resources are available here.

Emergency Rules – Chapter 41 – Virtual Education
The modification to the rules adds language to allow for greater flexibility of delivery of instruction during times of emergency by establishing Adapted Learning. This includes direction for documentation and tracking student participation which will determine attendance, Adapted Learning providing the ability to expand currently approved virtual education programs, and the removal of some requirements during times of declared emergencies.

For more information, contact Laurel Ballard, Student/Teacher Resources Team Supervisor, at 307-214-0170 or laurel.ballard@wyo.gov.

Federal Grants
The WDE is seeking guidance regarding the use of federal funds to cover cancellation fees for all federally funded professional development opportunities. The WDE is seeking guidance regarding the use of federal funds that cover programs, personnel costs, and professional development in light of school district closures and event cancellations that exceed carryover allowances and grants reaching the end of their cycle. This includes federal funding sources such as Title programs, TANF, Perkins, and IDEA.

USED recognizes that districts could face challenges meeting certain fiscal requirements. Districts are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate contact at USED. The WDE staff is also available to offer technical assistance.

Title I-A, School Improvement 1003(a): All allowable uses of federal grant funds still stand at this time. Reach out to the program manager if you have questions about how to use the program funds. Contact Leslie Koch at 307-777-6216 or les.koch1@wyo.gov.

Title II-A & Title IV-A: All allowable uses of federal grant funds still stand at this time. Please reach out to the program manager if you have questions about how to use the program funds. Contact: Mark Bowers at 307-777-8739 or mark.bowers@wyo.gov.

Title I-D Subpart 2 and Title III: All allowable uses of federal grant funds still stand at this time. Reach out to the program manager if you have questions about how to use the program funds. Contact Jessica Fancher at 307-777-8964 or jessica.fancher3@wyo.gov.

Title I-D Subpart 1, Title IX-A McKinney-Vento: All allowable uses of federal grant funds still stand at this time. Reach out to the program manager if you have questions about how to use the program funds. Contact Shannon Cranmore at 307-777-3672 or shannon.cranmore@wyo.gov.

For General ESSA Grant Program questions, contact Jessica Binning at 307-777-6208 or  jess.binning@wyo.gov.

The Grants Management System will still be accessible via the internet as always. For general GMS questions, contact Diana Thompson at 307-777-6209 or diana.thompson@wyo.gov.

Career and Technical Education (Perkins V)
Perkins work is continuing as normal. All allowable uses still stand as of this time. For questions or more information, contact Perkins managers Randall Butt (Districts beginning with A-L) at 307-777-5329 or randall.butt@wyo.gov or Jeannie Coulson (Districts beginning with M-Z) at  307-777-6808 or jeannie.coulson@wyo.gov.

Career Technical Student Organizations
For the most updated information regarding Career and Technical State Organizations and state competitions, contact the state adviser.
DECA: Mary Hopper, wyodeca@gmail.com.
FBLA:  Barb Frates, fratesb@wyfbla.org.
FCCLA: Angela Sweep, angsweep98@gmail.com.
FFA: Stacy Broda, sbroda@yahoo.com.
SkillsUSA: Janie Wilcox, rjhkwilcox@icloud.com.

TANF/ECCG
TANF Grant proposals have been extended until April 30, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For General Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Grant sites or the Early Childhood Collaborative Grant questions, contact Amy Reyes at 307-777-7708 or  amy.reyes@wyo.gov.  

Special Education

All IDEA requirements remain in full effect when educational opportunities are offered by the district to any student. Districts are expected to document their efforts to meet the requirements. Upcoming RDA events will be held virtually or can be rescheduled by contacting Jenny Krause at jennifer.krause@wyo.gov.

For more information, contact Margee Robertson, Special Education Director, at
307-777-2870 or margee.robertson@wyo.gov.

Finance

In alignment with previous guidance from WDE, Special Education and Transportation staff should be paid in a manner consistent with general education staff. Standard Special Education and Transportation reimbursement procedures are still in effect.

Entitlement and recapture payments will continue as scheduled. Out-of-state tuition collection remains due on April 15 unless otherwise instructed. COMPS payments will continue as normal unless otherwise instructed.

Transportation

Emergency Rules – Chapter 20 Transportation
The modification to the rules allows for the reimbursement of transportation services related to student needs. These needs include, but are not limited to, delivering meals or instructional materials during an emergency situation. The emergency rules have been approved by Governor Gordon and shared with district transportation directors on March 24, 2020.

National Association for Pupil Transportation Update on COVID-19

For information on student attendance impacts on student funding, or school closure, contact Leslie Zimmerschied, School Foundation Program Supervisor, at 307-777-6000 or leslie.zimmerschied@wyo.gov.

Data and Reporting

All WDE data collections remain on schedule. However, the Post-Secondary Readiness Indicator Review window has been delayed until April 13. Any changes will be updated here.

FERPA remains in full effect.  USED guidance on protecting student privacy is available here.

Best Practices for Districts Considering Work From Home Scenarios.

Recalibration Activities

Because of the uncertainty around COVID-19, District Management Group has decided to postpone scheduled district visits and the schedule sharing activity until further notice. DMGroup will be in touch in the near future with more information on these activities.


Additional Resources: