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.

WDE Updates:

Smart Start Guidance Document 

New WDH Protocol Infographic for K-12 School Settings

2020-21 Distance Learning: Guidance for Wyoming School Districts 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Virtual Learning During COVID-19

COVID-19 and Student Data Disclosure Guidance

The Smart Start framework lays out requirements, recommendations, and considerations that will help ensure that schools not only open for the 2020-2021 school year, but that quality education continues throughout the school year. Smart Start was developed by a working group of expert stakeholders in Wyoming education and health. It highlights four key areas that are critical to the opening of schools – Communications, Safety and Wellness, School Operations, and Instruction and Technology. The working group placed the bulk of decision-making in the hands of communities – health officials, school boards, educators, parents, and even students. Communities know best how to address their unique challenges. Wyoming schools should be prepared to quickly and efficiently adapt school operations in response to their challenges. 

The Smart Start framework consists of three tiers: 

  • Tier I – Open In-person classes and activities, as appropriate. Minimal adapted learning on a limited, as-needed basis. Most students in school at the same time under the provisions of current health orders. Social distancing and face coverings to the greatest extent possible. Buildings open to all students. 
  • Tier II – Hybrid Combination of in-person and adapted learning is required due to local or state health directives. Social distancing and face coverings to the greatest extent possible for those attending in person. Buildings open to some students.. 
  • Tier III – Closed School buildings closed to students due to local or state health directives or orders. School districts will follow provisions in the approved adapted learning plan. Buildings not open to students.

Here are the Tiered starts, by Wyoming School District:

Important Links:

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.

Hathaway Scholarship

  • Districts may decide to utilize a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading methodology as part of their Adapted Learning Plan. Courses graded in this fashion are not included in the student’s Hathaway GPA calculation, but districts still must report any credits earned from these courses in order to show completion of the Hathaway Success Curriculum.
  • Students must still complete the Hathaway Success Curriculum to be eligible for the Hathaway Scholarship. Any students unable to complete the curriculum because a district was unable to offer courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply to the WDE for an exception.
  • The 8th Grade Unit of Study is still required. If students did not take it before the closure of school buildings, it should be delivered through the district’s Adapted Learning pPlan. Districts are still required to submit a certification form to the WDE assuring that all 8th graders have received the information. Resources are available here.

For more information, contact Bradley Barker, Hathaway Scholarship Consultant, at 307-777-6226 or bradley.barker@wyo.gov.

School Nutrition

Guidance is below regarding meal service during COVID-19. The Food Service staff from all over the state of Wyoming has done an amazing job of making sure that their students have received and continue to receive meals. There have been many waivers released by the USDA to assist food service staffs in the schools to continue to reach their students. If you have any questions regarding any guidance, contact Tamra Jackson at tamra.jackson@wyo.gov.

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 Adapted 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
USED provided 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 Margee Robertson at margee.robertson@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.

COVID-19 Transportation Reimbursement FAQs

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 May 4-15. Any changes will be updated here.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
On March 30, 2020, The United States Department of Education (ED) Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) hosted a webinar offering guidance to schools and districts in the wake of school closings across the country.

Best Practices for Districts Considering Work From Home Scenarios.

Recalibration Activities

Picus Oden & Associates are currently organizing professional judgement panels.  The subcontractor, District Management Group (DMGroup), has facilitated a schedule sharing activity for special education district staff and shifted from on-site school visits to virtual interviews with staff.


Additional Resources: