Harrist won't sign local health order

Special meeting to be held Sept. 10

UPDATE 10:00 A.M.: Wyoming State Health Officer Alexia Harrist said she will not sign Goshen County Health Officer Ted Church's health order. According to Church, Harrist cited recommendations made by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending masking indoors. Church said Harrist's decision is based solely on a consensus of opinion, not a specific factual reason.

Thank you for sending this order for my review and signature. I will not sign this order because the Wyoming Department of Health does not agree that this order is in the best interest of public health nor necessary for the protection of public health. County public health orders must be entered under the direction and supervision of the Wyoming Department of Health to be in effect.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wyoming Department of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all currently recommend that K-12 students and staff wear masks as a measure to prevent transmission of COVID-19. According to metrics developed both by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wyoming Department of Health, Goshen County is currently experiencing high levels of transmission. Goshen County’s vaccination rate is 30.75%. We believe in-person instruction is best for students. This proposed action would not support that goal.


We regularly review and update guidance based on the current state of COVID-19, and will continue to work with school districts, local officials, and other stakeholders to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the health of our children and ensuring that in-person learning takes place to the greatest degree possible.

CLARIFICATION STATEMENT: The Torrington Telegram wishes to clarify that this order HAS NOT been signed by Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist. The Telegram is actively seeking further information on the order at this time. We appreciate your patience as we work to learn more about this controversial topic.

It was also brought to our attention the word “enacting” is misleading. The order was sent out via email to local media outlets. We have redacted the word “enacting” in the first paragraph and replaced it with “The order is identified as a.” We hope this clears up any confusion pertaining to this order, at this time.

According to Wyoming Department of Health spokesperson Kim Deti the order from County Health Officer Ted Church cannot take effect unless State Health Officer Alexia Harrist has signed the order.
Deti told the Telegram, "Based on what we know, parents should expect their children to wear masks for school tomorrow."

– Goshen County Public Health Officer Dr. Ted Church, M.D., issued a public health order Sept. 8. The order is identified as "a countywide variance to the restrictions mandated in that Goshen County School District 'Guidance' document dated 9/2/21: Requiring Masking of Public School Students.”

Church will be hosting a public meeting Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Rendezvous Center at the Goshen County Fairgrounds. The purpose of the meeting is to present the variance enacted by Church. 

Stay tuned to the Torrington Telegram for more information on this as it progresses.

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