Thermopolis will close its schools for at least two weeks and move to online learning immediately, the district’s superintendent announced Tuesday.
Thermopolis will also have two football games “impacted” by the temporary closure — one canceled, one rescheduled.
A Facebook post on the Thermopolis Sports page said the next two weeks of sporting events would be impacted for all sports at the school, including football, volleyball, cross country and golf.
Thermopolis’ football team was scheduled to play Tongue River this week and Big Piney next week. Both games were scheduled as road games for the Bobcats.
In an email with wyoming-football.com on Tuesday, Thermopolis activities director Brandon Deromedi said the Tongue River game would be canceled, while the Big Piney game would be made up at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 in Big Piney. The Big Piney game is a Class 2A West Conference game.
The Wind River Radio Network/WyoToday.com posted a letter from Dustin Hunt, the superintendent of Hot Springs County School District No. 1. In the letter, Hunt said the rise in COVID-19 infections in both Thermopolis and across Wyoming led to the decision.
“It is disappointing to be in a digital instruction period this early in the school year, but unfortunately numbers of students and staff infected with COVID 19, or under quarantine orders has reached the threshold of needed separation,” Hunt wrote.
The Facebook post said at least 30% of Thermopolis’ students were out of school due to illness or “other reasons,” including quarantine. Deromedi said the 30% threshold for moving to online learning and teaching was a district policy.
“We have had some COVID cases,” Deromedi said, “but most students that are out are due to quarantining and proactive measures to stay healthy.”
Deromedi said sports teams will not practice during the next two weeks.
Hunt’s letter said Hot Springs County schools will not require vaccinations or the wearing of masks without a state order to do so.
Thermopolis is the first school in Wyoming this year to cancel games and adjust its schedule due to COVID-19 illnesses and quarantining. Burns, Douglas, Newcastle, St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian undertook similar measures last year, with St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian canceling all fall sports.