MISSOULA — The Missoula County Public School board of trustees voted unanimously at a special school board meeting Friday to continue remote learning for the remainder of this academic year due to COVID-19 risks.
MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson recommended to the school board on Tuesday that classrooms remain closed and the district finish the academic year with online instruction.
It was then up to the school board trustees to make the unforeseen emergency declaration during the Friday special school board meeting to keep the schools closed and to continue distance learning.
Governor Steve Bullock had said public schools in the state can reopen on May 7, though doing so will be left up to each individual district.
The emergency declaration is set through June 30, 2020.
MCPS School board trustees will continue to discuss the future of in class instruction, remote learning, and financial impacts at their regular school board meetings through the summer.
The next MCPS school board meeting is set for May 12 at 6 p.m. MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson will host a virtual Town Hall on Monday, May 4 at 4 p.m.
Some of the key issues that were considered in the decision to remain on remote learning through the end of the school year include:
- The risk of transmitting the coronavirus within our school buildings
- The short term lack of available personal protective equipment (PPE) for students and staff
- The short term lack of supplies that we can use to conduct health screenings for all students in an efficient manner
- The short term lack of nurses/medical staff in each building to conduct screening
- The current requirements regarding group size and the possibility of a partial day schedule with only a few weeks remaining in the school year
- The numbers of students and staff who would be unable to return to school due to personal medical conditions that may place them in a high-risk group
- The possibility of a confirmed COVID-19 case in one of our schools, which would cause 3-5 day closures in a period with only a few weeks left in the school year
- The needs of students who are struggling in a remote learning environment and the likelihood that students will have more challenges when some families return to work in May, which may require us to adapt our remote learning support.
- Our need to plan for safety and staff training for the summer and fall
MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson will host a virtual Town Hall on Monday, May 4 at 4 p.m.
In that meeting he will discuss:
- Parent and student perceptions of remote learning
- Year-end plans
- Summer programming
- Reopening school plans