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Smoky weather challenges schools already feeling pressure from coronavirus

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Posted at 9:37 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 12:43:15-04

Smoky weather in the Flathead Valley has made it challenging for students to spend time outside.

And this was only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Superintendent Joe Price told MTN that the Somers/Lakeside school district has always had plans for alternative, indoor recess if smoke prohibited students from being outside.

However, coronavirus has made that challenging.

Before the smoke rolled into the valley, Price explained to MTN that the school was encouraging teachers to open windows and doors allowing fresh air in.

"With coronavirus we're trying to bring as much fresh air into the building as possible," said Price. :So, having teachers open up their classroom windows as soon as they get there and things like that. And now, we've got the opposite concern of not letting the smoke in. And that makes it kinda tricky."

Price told MTN that students have had recess indoors with a variety of different options like indoor games and activities.

Students are also limited to some time outside around the school's parking lot.

Playing inside, Price told MTN that students must stay in assigned groups.

"We've tried to keep kids basically in pods. So, that they're in a small group of no more than twenty kids that are together all day," said Price. "And then, we have very strict seating charts so we know who's been close to each other."

Those seating charts are there for contact tracing is a positive case arises.

Despite all these changes and adaptations Price says the students are responding positively and well.