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Missoula schools plans for containing COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 19:28:01-04

MISSOULA — Missoula Superintendent Rob Watson said the district has no plans to close Missoula schools, but they are reviewing contingency plans.

For the time being Missoula County Public schools will remain open until directed otherwise.

"What we received this morning from the center of disease control was really guidance on when to consider district wide closing. We aren’t at that stage yet however we know we could be there very quickly the way that this is evolving. That’s why we are preparing for it," MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson said. "We will take direction form the local county health department as well as from the governor’s office should we have to move to district wide closing."

If a student or faculty member were to test positive for the virus at any MCPS school Watson said that school could face a short term closure for two important reasons

"We will move to a short term closer at that school for 2 reasons and again this just involves that school. The first reason if for the cleaning of surfaces and the cleaning of the school but perhaps secondary and more importantly. That short term closer 2 to 5 days which is being recommended by the CDC would allow for the local health department to identify close contacts and to stop the spread amongst students," Watson added.

University of Montana classes will continue to be conducted remotely to try and prevent the spread of the disease while also providing students with the best academic opportunities possible.

"I want to make the point that while its important that we minimize aggregation of people into large groups to the greatest extent possible we are working hard to ensure that our students cant continue to make progress in their academic programs and achieve their learning outcomes," University of Montana President Seth Bodnar said.

While classes move to remote access the campus will remain open something that President Bodnar says is important for the well being of the student body.

"To be clear UM campus remains open. Residence halls dinning other campus services are still operational. We are working to reduce the spread of infection of course. We also must work to continue that our students and members of campus community can meet their basic needs," Bodnar added.

Both MCPS and the University will put all new rules and policies regarding the COVID-19 outbreak when their student bodies return from spring break.