Bitterroot school leaders see major obstacles to completely re-opening schools

Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 20:38:27-04

STEVENSVILLE — School administrators in the Bitterroot Valley aren't sure if they'll be able to overcome all of the challenges to completely re-starting schools under Gov. Steve Bullock's latest guidelines.

School boards in Hamilton, Corvallis, Stevensville and the other districts will be meeting early next week to make a final decision on re-opening schools, or at least restoring some limited operations under the Phase One guidelines. That could help some students, such as those struggling with distance learning.

However, superintendents are telling us there are some big obstacles to completely re-opening, from social distancing requirements, to having enough supplies to continually disinfect facilities.

"There are still quite a bit of the directives that are in place that are just very difficult to run the traditional public school format within. So, we are looking at some of the bigger things towards the end of the year. We know that online, remote learning is the likelihood for the rest of the year. Our board's going to talk about that and finalize, one way or the other, on Tuesday," said Corvallis School Superintendent Tim Johnson.

"We have to look at, when we re-open, the social distancing piece, and the guidelines that go with that. And our ability to really work with 1,100-to-1,200 people on campus on a daily basis," said Bob Moore Stevensville School Superintendent.

Moore says the schools also have to take into account the responsibility to make sure they aren't the source of a community wide outbreak of the virus.