The Missoula County Public Schools Board of Trustees decided at their Tuesday night meeting to upgrade participation for students in the next semester.

Superintendent Rob Watson provided details of the board’s decision.

“The board met last evening to consider a couple of recommendations that came from our COVID Task Force,” said Watson. “The recommendations were for our K district and our 9-12 districts to move to Phase Two of our reopening plan, and Phase Two really called for increasing the capacity in the buildings and also adding more days per week of in-person instruction for each student.”

Watson reiterated the current situation for Missoula’s public schools.

“We've been in the hybrid model, which is two days a week and three days of remote instruction and splitting the alphabet and having half the kids in the building at a time,” he said. “This would increase the number of days at least to four days and likely eventually five days, and it would increase the amount of time kids are in school.”

Watson was asked how the hybrid model of schooling was affecting student success.

“It was good to have kids back in school even though it was only a couple days a week for our students,” he said. “I think teachers are doing a great job in moving forward with their lessons. I think we've actually seen some great progress in a lot of our students with regards to academics. We've got some achievement data that shows that so I think we're on the right track.”

Watson said the transition to Phase Two will take time.

“We're still working out the details of the plan,” he said. “We will likely not be able to transition the entire school district on the same day, so it will likely be a staggered process. We will start as early as January 26, but we will be announcing the exact transition dates for each grade level next Monday.”

The effect of the new policy will that schools will be at or near capacity with modified operations and school activities.


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