As the anticipated resumption of in-class instruction for Wyoming's K-12 children draws closer, a district superintendent is asking parents and guardians to have their students practice wearing face coverings before they are confronted with the requirement upon their return to school.

"I don't like it either, but folks, if it means we get to bring the kids back, I'll wear the mask!" David Nicholas, superintendent of Washakie County School District No. 1, wrote Monday on the district's Facebook page.

Families that are not comfortable with the idea of sending their child back to school can have them attend online instead, Nicholas said.

When classes resume Aug. 18, students and staff with the district will have to wear masks in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.

After a rocky end to the 2019-2020 school year which saw distance learning implemented to varying degrees of success and a number of drawbacks, educators will be trying to resume their mission of instructing Wyoming's children, and Nicholas wants to keep disruptions to a minimum.

"I have been wearing a mask for the last few days and it is pretty uncomfortable to start with, however it gets easier every day," Nicholas said. "I would ask you to introduce the idea of wearing a mask to your children."

"Parents, consider having your children practice wearing a mask at home for a while. How about watching a TV show with a mask on?" he asked.

"If the first time to wear a mask is in the classroom on August 18 it will be an adjustment your child may struggle with," Nicholas said. "When this all started they did not talk about wearing masks, and now wearing masks is the recommendation."

Nicholas noted that the district has ordered two cloth masks for every staff member and child in the district. Families may provide their own masks as well.

"When you come to registration on August 4 and 5 I would recommend having a mask and wearing it if social distancing cannot be maintained," Nicholas said.

Hygiene practices have not changed, Nicholas said.

"Wash your hands, don't touch your face, and practice social distancing. We will clean and disinfect the buildings, and buses, but our personal hygiene is still the most effective way to combat the virus."

Families will also be asked to make use of a COVID-19 monitoring form provided by the district. It will be used at school as well.

"If your kiddo is sick please keep them home," Nicholas wrote, adding that the district attendance policy will be adjusted to accommodate students staying home in such a circumstance.

"I look forward to having everyone back on August 18. I will ask you ahead of time to be patient, and help take care of each other," Nicholas concluded.

As of Monday, the state health department has reported 1,728 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with another 398 probable cases.

Twenty-four people have died of the novel coronavirus in Wyoming.

Washakie County has reported 39 confirmed and another five probable cases.

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