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Gering, Scottsbluff schools will continue in-person as risk level heightens

Gering, Scottsbluff schools will continue in-person as risk level heightens

Scottsbluff schools return to class with masks and temperature checks

First grade students listen to Leishel Soule give instruction while wearing masks at Lake Minatare's first day of school.

Gering Public Schools will continue to hold in-person classes as the county moves into the high-risk orange section of the Panhandle Public Health Department risk dial, according to interim Superintendent Gary Cooper.

Cooper told the Star-Herald in an interview that Gering would continue in-person class for all students. Cooper's announcement followed the release of a letter written by Scottsbluff Public Schools Superintendent Rick Myles that stated his district would also continue class in-person.

In its initial reopening plans released in August, Gering Public Schools planned to move grades six through 12 to a distance learning model if the county moved to the high-risk section of the dial. Scottsbluff had planned to pivot to a hybrid model of instruction.

Both of those earlier decisions have been abandoned.

“Since the spread of the virus seems to be community instead of through the school, we have determined that we would continue staying in school,” Cooper told the Star-Herald.

The sister school districts have had a combined 20 cases over the fall semester, with six at Gering and 14 at Scottsbluff. There’s currently five active cases at Scottsbluff and one active case in Gering, according to the districts' dashboards.

It’s unclear how many students and how many staff have been infected, due to the privacy protections of health information.

However, Gering Public Schools will end the opt-out policy across all its buildings for the district’s mask mandate, according to Cooper. A large quarantine at Gering High School prompted the district to end the mask mandate opt-out in the high school building last month.

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Reporter

Justin Garcia is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9044 or justin.garcia@starherald.com.

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