woman in black cardigan wearing white mask
Masks will stay on until at least Feb. 9, the school board ruled. Photo: Kelly Sikkema

JACKSON, Wyo. — Teton County District Health Officer, Travis Riddell, MD, MPH, has put into place public health order #21-4 which extends mask requirements in public and private schools beyond the states remaining health order set to expire May 31.

The Teton County health order requires students, teachers, school staff and visitors in all public and private K-12 schools to wear face coverings from June 1 through June 11, aligning with the end of the school year. According to the Teton County Health Department, the order is consistent with current CDC guidelines specifically recommend ongoing mask-wearing in K-12 schools through the end of the academic year.

The Health Department also cited that many students in Teton County have not had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated against COVD-19. The majority of students in K-12 schools are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to age.  Many of those aged 12 to 16, the population that most recently became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, will not be fully vaccinated by the end of this school year.

A press release issued today, May 25 by the Health Department said, “COVID-19 is still present in our community and gathering in large numbers in small classrooms presents an opportunity for “super spreading” events that could impact many households. “

Dr. Travis Riddell further explains why having a mask order in schools for the rest of the year is important, saying, “Since most Teton County students are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or fully vaccinated, we want to continue to ensure their safety during in-person learning.  Wearing a mask is still the first line of defense against COVID-19 for most children in the school setting.  This order will help provide a safe end to the school year.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is available in Teton County for anyone 12 and older.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.