Governor Gordon discusses possible changes to public health orders, Harrist reinforces mask use in schools

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Photo credit to the Office of Gov. Mark Gordon

Wyo4News Staff, [email protected]

CHEYENNE, WYOMING (September 9, 2020) — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon spoke today about the possibility of updated public health orders to accommodate athletic competition for indoor contact sports during his regularly scheduled media briefing on Wednesday, September 9.

Current health orders expire on September 15.

“While we have not yet finalized our new orders, we are looking at changes to guidance for indoor contact sports, to better accommodate athletic competitions in our schools,” said Governor Gordon.

Gordon also discussed reasons why public health orders have remained so strict. According to the Governor, one of the primary reasons is due to school districts statewide still being in a very early stage of reopening.

“For many Wyoming school districts, they have only entered the second week of the school year,” Gordon explained. “We know that there continues to be some uncertainty, however, over how effective our efforts will be in limiting the spread of the virus in school buildings. Until we have a clearer picture of the impacts of in-person learning on virus spread, we want to be cautious in our approach. We want to be sure we ease into this in a very methodical way.”

 

Another reason for the strict public health orders, according to Gordon, is due to the Labor Day Holiday. Past holidays, including Memorial Day and Fourth of July, have seen spikes in confirmed cases.

“I’m very hopeful that we won’t see similar spikes two weeks from now with this holiday weekend,” Gordon said.

In addition, State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist reinforced the need for masks in public schools, after being asked about the requirement and how closely the Wyoming Department of Health is following mask usage in public schools.

“It is important to remember that our primary recommendation and the best way to prevent transmission of COVID-19 is to keep the six-foot distancing,” Harrist explained. “Masks are only required when that six-foot distancing can not be maintained. We know that distancing is the best way to reduce transmission.”

“The evidence is really growing about the effectiveness of masks and how they can prevent transmission. So, right now, we really think that those facemasks, when distancing cannot be maintained, is the best way that we are going to keep kids and staff from being sick, and keeping schools open as long as possible.”