Masks will no longer be required in school after today, Feb. 11. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — Teton County School District students will no longer be required to wear masks in school after today.

The TCSD Board of Directors amended the district’s “Smart Start Plan” at a regular board meeting Feb. 9. The amended plan makes masks optional for everyone but Cubs and Grizzlies (pre-k) staff. In K-12 schools, “TCSD will follow town, county, and state health orders,” which do not mandate masks.

The amended plan is effective Feb. 12.

Masks are still required on school buses, per federal regulation. They will also be required in nurses’ offices in all schools.

The amended Smart Start Plan also effectively does away with the Test-to-Stay program and instead makes several types of COVID-19 tests available to anyone upon request, regardless of vaccination status. The program was designed to keep asymptomatic and mostly unvaccinated students with known COVID exposures in school and out of quarantine. It’s now more of a recommendation than a requirement. Exposed students will not be required to quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic.

The mask amendment, specifically, comes with a caveat that the school board can decide to require masks again district-wide or even in individual school should cases spike again. Trustee Alan Brumsted said he was concerned that while the district’s vaccination rate is high, vaccines may be unevenly dispersed across different schools and certain schools may “blossom” in cases while others hold steady.

Public comment at the meeting unanimously favored doing away with the mask mandate.

Trustees unanimously felt comfortable making masks optional, with caveats, but some were still wary of amending much more of the Smart Start plan.

“We’ve talked about an off-ramp,” said Board Clerk Betsy Carlin. “We could do it like Corbett’s, or we could take it a little slower.”

In another metaphor, Carlin compared easing restrictions to testing for allergies. “Take one step, see how that goes.”

See the full amended Smart Start Plan here.

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.