Bigfork School District details COVID-19 back-to-school plan

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Posted at 12:27 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 00:07:04-04

BIGFORK — The Bigfork School District has a back to school plan for around 1,000 students -- the majority of whom will return for in-classroom learning.

Superintendent of Schools Matt Jensen told MTN News that they have an extensive plan involving sanitation, new air filters, and separate entrances for specific grades.

He explained that the majority of students will return to in-person learning, with about 10%-to-15% interested in remote learning.

Jensen says that middle and high school students will rotate classes but will have assigned seats in class. He explained that this is being done for contact tracing purposes in case a student does get COVID-19.

The same goes for lunchtime where Jensen says that students will be allowed to stay in their same groups but will be put into assigned seats. Masks will be provided for passing students during that time and for those in common spaces.

Elementary school students will stay in one homeroom and be appropriately socially distanced, according to Jensen. Once in a classroom, Jensen says it will be up to the teacher to decide whether or not to enforce masks in the classroom.

School buses will be capped at 50 students and Jensen says students will sit in family groups. Masks are required for students and drivers on the bus.

Jensen is also asking parents to be patient at the intersection of Holt Drive and Highway 35 since the district is limiting drop off time to 15 minutes instead of 30 to minimize crowding. He noted the intersection is typically very congested during school time.

"Now that we have this short time period of how we're going to get students in the building starting at seven fifty there's going to be increase traffic," said Jensen. "So, we're trying to get the message out to parents to be patient and work with us. We're exploring different routes of entry and exits for students into the school."

He explained that only one bus at a time will be allowed to let students off the bus in order to decrease the amount of mixing between different students.

Jensen also told MTN News that the district has increased the number of entrances into the school building this year and instead of one entrance, the high school will have seven or eight. He says this will allow specific grades to use a specific entrance every day, so different grades aren't mixing with each other.

Click here for more information about the Bigfork Schools District's plans.