MISSOULA — Missoula schools students will be heading back to a full weekly class schedule for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started last spring, with the change rolling out over two weeks.
Yet the switch doesn't mean an end to precautions, including requirements for mask-wearing, no matter what happens outside the schools.
The return to a five day in class schedule starts with K-through-2 students, and middle school students returning to class every day, starting next Monday. Then, thrid through fifth grade, and high school students will transition the following week.
However, under the latest Harvard guidelines, the district will continue precautions for social distancing, sanitation and the wearing of masks for all students, staff and any visitors.
Gov. Greg Gianforte says he may lift a statewide mask mandate, but that won't apply inside Missoula County Public Schools.
"Obviously masking is not enough. You kind of have to layer all those mitigation strategies on top of each other. But masking is an important one we will continue to enforce in our school district, likely throughout the entire school year," MCPS Superintendent Dr. Rob Watson said. "Just because, even if for example, even if we got all of our staff vaccinated we still want to limit transition among students."
Students will remain on a shorter schedule each day to accommodate social distancing on buses.
The district will continue to offer classes through the Missoula Online Academy as an option for families that still prefer remote learning.