First day of school

Hal Wheeler puts a mask on his son, Henry, at Jackson Elementary School before sending him inside for the first day of Kindergarten. Schools started for the fall county-wide September 1, with modified schedules and a mixture of virtual and in-person learning as part of the district’s plan to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Though most people in Teton County can show their smiles off just about anywhere at this point, students and teachers have to keep their masks on.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced Thursday that its health orders would remain in place for the rest of the month, one of which mandates face coverings and social distancing in schools.

Several parents lobbied the Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees in recent weeks on both sides of the masks in schools debate, but Chair Keith Gingery told them the board has little control right now over the decision. School districts can apply for exemptions to the mask order, but communities must meet strict guidelines for case counts and positivity rate.

As it stands, Teton County doesn’t meet the requirements. Gingery said at Wednesday’s school board meeting that his understanding is that the mask mandate for schools will be in place until the end of the school year.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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