Updated: March 24, 4:00 p.m.
In accordance with Governor Bullock’s updated set of directives and guidance shared this afternoon in a press conference, Missoula County Public Schools will remain closed through Friday, April 10, 2020.
All previous closures of MCPS campuses PreK-12, sports practices and driver’s education programs, and all Life Long Learning Center services will be extended until Friday, April 10, 2020.
In addition, the Governor also issued a directive limiting nonessential social and recreational gatherings of over 10 people outside of a home if a distance of over 6 feet cannot be maintained. Thank you for doing your part to ensure we maintain appropriate physical distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.
We understand that school closure can be a hardship for our students and families. We will continue to provide meals to all youth in our community via our elementary school bus stops and drop offs at each of our schools. We will continue to provide remote learning options during the extended school closure. Please continue to check email and our website for information, we expect to share more information with you on Wednesday 3/25/20 by 5pm.
Meals for youth - open to ANY youth under 18 (even private school or homeschool students, or students from other school districts)
This information will also be on posters on the front entrance of every school.
- During this school closure period, our school lunch and breakfast program is open to all youth for FREE. There is no limitation related to income status nor previous qualification for free/reduced lunch. Any youth can receive free meals, regardless of status.
- The following school sites will be open from 10:00 -1:00 Monday - Friday to pick up meals
- Chief Charlo
Meals can be picked up at any time during this three hour window. Each bag will include both breakfast and lunch.
- Meals will also be delivered on all elementary school bus routes between 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. We are using the ‘PK5 bus routes because there are more stops, in more neighborhoods. However any youth under 18 will be able to grab a lunch at the stop, regardless of grade level.
Please send only one person from each family (this can be an adult) to pick up the meals at a pick up site or a bus stop for youth under 18 in your household. When picking up meals at a school site or a bus stop, please maintain a 6 foot distance from others waiting in line for meals.
Infofinder routes have been revised so that parents will see the exact time between 11 - 1 when the bus will arrive at their stop. We will also be posting the bus stop information on the front entrance of every elementary school. When searching for a bus stop, parents need to put in their address and then use the drop down menu to select the appropriate elementary school closest to their home.
The timing may flex by 10-15 minutes from the posted schedule as we get the system up and running.
Food Allergies: Parents or guardians, please examine the food for those students who have food allergies. We will identify lunches that have peanuts, but we recognize that there are other food allergies. If your student has known food allergies, please check over the food that has been delivered for any potential problems. If you have questions about how the food was prepared or specific ingredients, please contact our food service department at 728-2400 ext. 3023 or 5012 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lines of communication
As we all get adjusted to our new normal with schools closed, we want to help you plan on a communications schedule so you know when you will get updated information.
- District level communications will come out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays by 3 p.m.
- School level communications will come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays by 3 p.m.
All staff will be checking their emails and responding to emails and phone calls as they are able during the week of 3/23/20. Return phone calls may come from a number that says No Caller ID, Unknown, or Blocked because we will not be using our school phones to return calls.
If you are not getting the emails we are sending to or you have friends that have stated they are not getting the messages, there are a few options:
- Check your Junk and Spam folders.
- Read the messages on our www.mcpsmt.org/covid-19 page.
- Log into mcpsmt.parentlink.net to check your delivery preferences for your own account. Make sure that you haven’t opted out of any type of message. Here is a help link that has screen shots to guide you:
Online Learning for the week of 3/27/20
During the week of March 23-27, the Teaching and Learning Department will have some basic and general learning activities posted on our website for all parents to access for all grades PreK-12. Visit www.mcpsmt.org/covid-19 and click the REMOTE LEARNING button.
These activities will be designed to keep students engaged in learning by reviewing concepts and content that students have already been exposed to; they are not intended to replace what they may be missing in your classroom. During this week, we will not introduce new content and will not expect any assignments to be graded.
Support for students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan
Special education teachers, related service providers, and para educators will work to gather materials and develop support activities to allow students to maintain skills with regard to IEP goals. These materials will be in addition to any educational materials that are already provided by general education teachers and will be sent to parents by 3/27/20.
We will not be holding any IEP or 504 meetings during the week of March 23-27. If you have meetings scheduled, you will be contacted by our staff to reschedule those meetings. We are also working on virtual meeting options for any rescheduled or future meetings.
Our Special Education Coordinators will work with school staff and the Teaching and Learning Department to put together additional student learning resources that will start the week of 3/30/20 if our schools are still closed. The focus areas will include Reading, Writing, Math, Self-Help/Independence, Social/Emotional/ Behavioral.
Travel advisories were updated on Thursday 3/19/20
Governor Steve Bullock’s Directive to self quarantine after international travel was released on Thursday 3/19/20.
“As Montanans return from spring break, Montanans who have been traveling internationally should take the proactive step to self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus in their community,” Governor Bullock said. “Prevention is our best tool for combatting COVID-19. The ability to slow new infections is in our hands and our friends and neighbors are counting on us to do the right thing.”
There is new Info on CDC website about:
Missoula County Public Schools, School District #1, does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus in our schools. If this was to occur, we will initiate our crisis communications plan and notify staff and parents/guardians within the school via text, email, and phone call as well as place updates on this website and our social media platforms.
We are doing our best to continue to provide current and relevant information.
The best advice for all of us is to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary. At the district level, we are directing our 12-month staff to work from home if possible. We are very grateful to our custodial staff who continue to work during this closure time to make sure buildings are disinfected, maintained, and secure. We are also very grateful to Stacey Rossmiller and our district food service staff who are busy preparing food for deployment to students on Monday 3/23/20.
The circumstances we find ourselves in due to COVID-19 are exceptional and they will require all of us to be careful to protect our personal health and to be agile and flexible to support our students' learning needs as well as help meet their most basic needs, like food security.
This update will provide as many answers as we can by midday Tuesday 3/17/20. We expect to provide at least one additional update this week clarifying plans for our work starting 3/23/20.
Schools are closed
All MCPS buildings are closed, including the Business Building, Administration Building, all school sites PK-12, and the Lifelong Learning Center.
Gatherings of people over 50 are all cancelled through May 8, 2020
The CDC has released new guidance regarding large events and mass gatherings. The CDC recommends canceling all events of 50 or more people until May 8, 2020. MCPS and schools will be canceling or rescheduling any school-related event that exceeds this limit- including the Strategic Planning Meeting scheduled for 3/25, High School Proms, and any concerts and special events planned at schools between now and May 8, 2020.
MHSA Sports and Activities
Mark Beckman from MHSA shared the following information on Monday:
- All MHSA spring activities will be indefinitely suspended until further notice. This includes practices and contests/meet/festivals. The Executive Board will reevaluate this situation on April 13th and any additional information regarding spring activities will be provided as it becomes available.
- If spring activities are resumed, the practice requirement for sports at that time will be five practices from resumption except for golf which will be the normal two practices required.
- Post season formats will be adjusted by conferences as necessary with MHSA approval.
This information impacts our HS spring sports as well as our upcoming District Music Festival. Coaches will not hold any practices until further notice from MHSA.
Pickup Day on 3/23/20
Our schools will be open on 3/23/20, with limited access, to allow staff and students to pick up essential items from the buildings. We will have very limited staff in the buildings to support access to students and families. Please be efficient and keep your time in our schools as brief as possible. Please observe social distancing on this day and avoid handshakes, hugs, fist bumps, etc.
- Parents and students can pick up personal items, medication, and instruments
- If your family requested one of our MCPS Access laptop donations, that can be picked up on Monday 3/23
Meals for students and family members
We will start providing sack breakfast and lunch meals to any students who need them on Monday, March 23, 2020. We are working on plans to have a few options for students to get meals; either by pickup at a school site or limited delivery to neighborhoods. We are still working on the details of this plan and will get exact information out as soon as possible. Any youth can access these meals. We do not have to limit the meals to students who qualify for Free and Reduced Price meals.
Schedule for the week of 3/23/-3/27/20 and Online Instruction Information
The MCPS Teaching & Learning Department will be compiling strategies and educational activities that families can use to keep students engaged in learning during the school closure. Our goal is to provide a structure for at-home learning so families have some easy-to-implement activities to keep our students engaged and prevent learning loss during an extended break. The goal of all online instruction during the school shutdown period is to provide a supplement that keeps students engaged in learning and to avoid a slide in skills and content knowledge. It is not a complete replacement for face to face instructional time. We will share this message with families.
During the week of March 23-27, from the District level, we will have some basic and general activities posted on our website for all parents to access for all grades K-12. These activities will be designed to keep students engaged in learning, but are not intended to replace what they may be missing in their classroom. During this week, we would not expect to introduce new content and would not expect any assignments to be graded.
We hope that parents can partner with children to complete these activities. Some will include learning with devices and technology, while others do not; similar to the student experience during a typical school day. Although some of these resources are already regularly used in school, we hope that students have opportunities to try something new or show their learning in a new way.
Starting on March 23, teachers will be asked to plan for some online learning options for their students that can be posted to classroom or school websites starting Monday, March 30, if schools remain closed.
We are still working with OPI and the Governor’s office to determine whether or not we will be required to extend the school year.
What happens if the Governor extends his directives and keeps schools closed?
If the Governor extends his directives and keeps schools closed, we will continue to deliver options for students to stay engaged in learning online and avoid a slide in skills and content knowledge. We will also continue to provide breakfast and lunch to youth and families in our community.
In accordance with Governor Bullock’s set of directives and guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable Montanans, including closing of public K-12 schools, social distancing measures, and limiting visitation at nursing home facilities, Missoula County Public Schools will remain closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020. This closure may be extended, based on guidance from the State Health Department and/or the Governor’s office.
Effective immediately, all sports practices and driver’s education programs are suspended along with all Life Long Learning Center programs and classes. This includes any activities or practices that were planned over Spring Break. All of these activities as well as other school related activities will be suspended, at least through Friday, March 27.
We understand that school closure can be a hardship for our students and families. We will be working during Spring Break to develop plans for access to our school lunch program as well as other critical student services during the closure. We will have plans in place by March 23. Please continue to check email and our website for information.
Several post-spring break activities will need to be postponed, rescheduled or canceled. The ACT test, to be given to all Juniors on March 24, will need to be rescheduled. There is a make-up day later in the spring. We have also had questions about the District Music Festival - coming up in early April. We assume this event will be canceled but we are still waiting for the final word from MHSA. If you have questions about specific activities at your school, please check with your building Principal.
The CDC has also just released new guidance today regarding large events and mass gatherings. Starting immediately and for the next 8 weeks, the CDC recommends canceling all events of 50 or more people. For this reason, from now until May 8, MCPS will be canceling or postponing any school event that exceeds this limit as well as any event that may be smaller than 50, but includes members of our community interacting with students/staff at the event. Exceptions to this rule would be any event that is essential to the function of the school, for example the school lunch program or the after school care programs at our K5 schools.
Our MCPS COVID-19 Response Team will be meeting throughout the day on Monday and we will share updates with our staff, parents, and the community about our plans to support student access to meals during the week of 3/23/20.
The Food Bank has these current sites open for meals during our spring break:
- Travois Village: Lunch: 11:30am – 12:00pm Monday – Friday
- Futura Mobile Homes: Lunch: 12:00pm – 12:30pm Monday – Friday
- EmPower Place at Montana Food Bank and Community Center:
- Breakfast: 9:30-11am Wednesday & Friday
- Lunch: 11 am – 1:30pm – Monday – Friday
- Supper: 5-7pm Monday, Tuesday & Thursday only
Our MCPS COVID-19 Response Team is managing our district plan to prepare our district and respond to this illness when it reaches our community. As a district, we will follow US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (Montana DPHHS), and the Missoula City County Health Department (MCCHD) recommendations to prevent any infection of any respiratory virus, including:
- Staff and students should stay home sick.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into an elbow or use a tissue and place immediately in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
We are also collaborating with the Missoula City County Health Department on the appropriate prevention and planning steps for when we get a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community. We will take the guidance from the MCCHD on when to exclude any students from school and and collaborate with them on considerations for closing schools due to high numbers of ill staff and students or for deep cleaning.
Additional information about the coronavirus is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services website and the Missoula City-County Health Department website.
We are advising teachers to plan for digital options that would allow students to continue their education from home if they are ill or isolated from school awaiting COVID-19 test results. Our IT Department has also fast tracked the MCPS Access program so that we will have up to 400 refurbished laptops from our schools to provide directly to students who need a device to continue their learning from home.
Thank you for your continued support in keeping our students and staff safe.
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