Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow has ordered school districts to craft learning plans, or else lose state funding, now that the governor has extended the closure of schools and other public gatherings, according to a news release from the Department of Education on Friday.

Earlier Friday, Gov. Mark Gordon extended the three existing orders dealing with COVID-19 that in part keep schools closed through April 17.

This has not stopped, and does not stop education, Balow said.

"The desire by teachers to connect with their students and provide learning opportunities has been inspiring," she said.

"Teaching and learning while practicing social distancing is a new concept for many," she said. "Teachers, parents, and students all need support in order for it to be successful.”

To that end, each school district must have an Adapted Learning Plan approved by the Department of Education before April 6 to continue to receive state funding, Balow said.

Likewise, every district is expected to continue to provide an equitable education for all students in grades K-12 while access to school buildings is limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

The Adapted Learning Plans will allow each school district to deliver instruction through the methods best suited to their district.

“We are working through immense challenges with laws, policies, practices, and logistics. The collaboration among state leaders and local districts has been incredible,” Balow said. “We are all working together to give our students the education they deserve during this trying time.”

Natrona County School District spokeswoman Tanya Southerland could not be immediately reached for comment.

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