MCPS dealing with staff shortages as Big Sky HS goes remote

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 18:55:16-05

MISSOULA — Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) are constantly re-evaluating the COVID-19 situation in their schools.

Big Sky High School announced to students and staff on Tuesday that they would be remote for the next couple of days. The move is mostly due to staff shortages with not enough subs to fill in for those sick teachers.

By the time they were ready to start their school day Tuesday at Big Sky, MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson said that almost 25 staff members called out sick.

"One week, you know a school could be going pretty good and then the next week they have a lot of staff out so it is a week-to-week thing look at and we look at it every week in terms of numbers,” said Watson.

District-wide, case numbers are hovering around 20% Watson says and they are monitoring other schools that are seeing 10%-to-15% of faculty out.

“I can tell you we have a couple of elementary schools that are that are pushing pretty close to over 15%," said Watson. "Last week we had a middle school that was definitely over 15% of faculty out.”

Watson says that going remote is their last resort, as they exhaust resources to fill those spots and keep kids in classrooms.

“You know, this is kind of a last resort," Watson told MTN News. "We look at a lot about their options before we make a decision to close a building.”

Watson says they want to keep the elementary and middle schools open.

“I think our priority, obviously is to keep younger students in school as much as possible," said Watson.

Additional information about COVID-19 in MCPS can be found at