LUSK – Teacher parades, home crafting classes, grocery delivery and drinks to go.
These are all the ways the Lusk community, and the entire state, continue to find a new normal during the COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing orders.
On March 27, Governor Mark Gordon extended the state＊s restrictions until April 17, falling in line with national actions.
Niobrara county is one of only five counties in Wyoming that do not yet have a positive COVID-19 test result. As of press time, 12 tests had been submitted and one was still pending results. Healthcare providers and emergency managers believe this is because the county has been proactive in its approach to social distancing measures and shutdowns. While acknowledging the economic impact of this shutdown, they also remind people the economic and social impacts of widespread, deadly disease are much worse.
Most community businesses have managed to adapt and while not ideal they continue to remain ※open§ in one form or another. Niobrara Feed, Deckers Market and Allbrights True Value are considered essential services and continue to allow people to go into the actual store. All precautions are encouraged when shopping and Allbrights has limited its hours to 8-5 Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
All other businesses including restaurants have been closed to foot traffic and now offer only curbside delivery or shipping to their customers. Bloomers in Lusk has an online boutique they continue to feature items in. They are also offering virtual crafting classes ranging from floral arrangements to home decor.
The kits are available for purchase and pick-up and then customers can follow along with the ※Bloomers Girls§ from home to create unique items and arrangements for their home.
After extending the restrictions, Gordon also granted an emergency dispensing option for restaurants that allows them to deliver alcohol with food to customers, according to a release from his office. This is not a new law, the release said, and will only be in effect as long as restaurants are not allowed to having dining rooms open. Drinking and driving laws remain in full effect.
All restaurants in Lusk are providing curbside pick-up to customers on their full menu. The Cramped Closet is open for shopping by appointment only. The library continues to put together book orders for people and families may visit inside by appointment as well.
The Niobrara County School District staff is doing everything they can to keep students engaged during the shutdowns. In addition to weekly phone calls with their teachers, students continue to access lessons online. They are also receiving paper packets when necessary. Many of the teachers are providing zoom chats or live FB chats for their students. They are making themselves available to students any time for help with school work.
LEMS Principal Lu Kaspers has issued a challenge to students. Kaspers takes a picture or video in a different location in the school each day and students should keep track and submit all their answers. It is a great way for students to interact with Kaspers and be reminded of their school building.
On Tuesday, March 31 educators held a ※teacher parade§ around Lusk to wave and say ※hi§ to their students.
The Lusk Early Childhood Center, operated by Wyoming Child and Family Services, continues to support families from home with fun Easter packages. Parents are still selling tickets to the Easter Basket raffle for a complete Easter dinner, with the winner to be drawn April 6. Basket will be delivered April 7.
To purchase tickets, contact the preschool at 334-2252 or the parent of a preschooler. Teacher Sara Desenfents has created a Facebook group where she posts fun videos and challenges for her students. Parents are encouraged to check-in and let their preschooler say ※hi§ to Miss Sara.
Many parents have taken communication into their own hands, allowing their children to post ※hello§ videos on social media and on the school websites. Facebook messenger now offers a kids app that allows children to communicate with friends. The app is managed through their parents＊ messenger.
Meals continue to be offered to students through the school for breakfast and lunch. The senior center is still closed, but grocery delivery is available for those who are home bound. Meals on Wheels senior food deliveries are available
While it may seem as if so many things are cancelled, the one thing that COVID-19 can＊t hold back is spring. There is more evidence of spring every day. Niobrara County will be in for a few more minor snowstorms and some rain, but sunshine is stronger and longer every day. Residents are encouraged to continue as many of their spring activities as they can within the restrictions. Outside time is crucial for children and as long as the ※six-foot rule§ is followed, kids can go on walks and bike rides, even playing at local parks with family members, observing hand hygiene.