Kalispell Public Schools releases back-to-school plan

Flathead High School Interior
Posted at 10:07 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 16:23:46-04

UPDATE: Aug. 4, 2020 - 1:25 p.m.

KALISPELL - There are 6,000 students in their district so Kalispell Public Schools have a flexible back to school plan in place.

Kalispell Superintendent Micah hill says the district is working hard to ensure every family and student is safe and prepared for this school year.

However, school will look different this year.

He says teachers are asked to socially distance students as much as they can in a classroom and only 50 students are allowed in the lunchroom at a time and they will be kept in assigned seats.

Currently, masks are strongly encouraged but not required however, Hill says that could change in the future.

For now, he asks families to make a choice about sending their students back to school based on their family's health and safety.

"You can not as a family make a decision based on whether face masks are required or whether or not a certain course is going to be offered," Hill told MTN News.

"You need to make the best decision for your family to protect your health and safety because there are things that we're certainly going to be able to control within the four walls of the school. But there are things outside of our control."

Hill says about 800 students have expressed a desire for remote learning, adding that certain teachers will be dedicated to just teaching remote.

(first report: Aug. 4, 2020 - 10:07 a.m.)

The Kalispell Public Schools District has released its plans for the start of the upcoming school year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

KPS Superintendent Micah Hill says in a letter sent to families that the District worked with several organizations in coming up with the plan -- including the Flathead City-County Health Department, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, parents and the Montana High School Association.

The letter outline three main topics, with Hill noting that it's "also important to understand that all of this is very fluid and subject to change based on new guidance, recommendations, Board action, and directives from state and local authorities."

The school year beings on Aug. 24 with four days set aside for staff to prepare. Aug. 28 will mark the first day of school for sixth and ninth-grade students. There will also be an open house for K-5 on Aug. 28. The first day of class for all KPS students will be on Aug. 31.

Hill further stated in the letter that the deadline for parents to register for remote learning is Friday, Aug. 7 with remote instruction beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Below is additional information about what KPS is planning to institute as a result of COVID-19:

District Calendar:

At the Board meeting on July 21, the Board approved changing the district calendar for the 2020-21 school year to accommodate additional time for pandemic operational training and preparation for the start of the school year.

In summary, the first four days of the school year, August 24, 25, 26, and 27, will be set aside for staff professional development and preparation. There will be no school for students on August 24-27. August 28 is the first day of school for 6th and 9th grade. Additionally, August 28, will be an open house for K-5 and more information will be provided by your child’s principal. Monday, August 31, is the first day of school for grades 1-12. The district calendar can be found on our district website.

Pandemic Operational Guidelines:

The Operational Guidelines are designed to assist in planning for the safe operation of Kalispell Public Schools. The goal of this document is to help schools plan and implement measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the school setting. The document was built based on the input received from a variety of sources which include but are not limited to: Governor’s guidance, OPI guidance, CDC guidance, school leaders across the state, the County Health Department, local pediatricians and medical professionals. This document was also developed using available scientific research and data related to COVID-19.

This is a lengthy document that covers a variety of topics with specific requirements, recommendations and considerations for staff, students, and parents.

Our schools face considerable operational constraints that are out of our control. Parents and teachers have a range of perspectives on the reopening of school campuses. To that end, this document reflects the best judgement of Kalispell Public Schools as to the practices that our schools should follow while also considering local conditions and considerations. The Pandemic Operational Guidelines can be found on our district website.

Remote Instruction:

As we continue to deliver educational services to our students, we will provide opportunities for those who choose to learn remotely. From our experience last spring and hearing the input from families and staff members, it was important to build a structure of expectations for this platform. The information pertaining to students who plan to receive remote instruction can be found in the Pandemic Remote Learning Guidelines on our district website.

The deadline for parents to register for remote learning is Friday, August 7. Our goal is to formalize a remote instruction cadre of teachers by Friday, August 14. There will be more information on this aspect of our planning in the near future. Note: Remote instruction will start on Tuesday, September 8.

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