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Big Sandy schools doing full re-opening with precautions


Last updated 8/13/2020 at 11:30am

Big Sandy Schools is heading back to opening at full capacity, but with some precautions.

“The board approved the plan of re-opening — we had approved everyone comes back with precautions in place,” Big Sandy Schools Superintendent Kelly Haaland said.

Students are not required to wear a mask, but are highly suggested to when group gatherings cannot be avoided, he said.

Gov. Steve Bullock announced Wednesday he amended his directive requiring people in public places in counties with four or more active cases of COVID-19 to wear masks to specify that it includes K-12 schools.

As of this morning, Chouteau County was listed with two active cases.

He said the elementary school is going to be working in pods, which means they will be doing things like recess with their grade group, not combined grades.

This is because if someone is sick they would not affect multiple grades, he added.

Transportation will be offered, he said, but temperature checks will be taken before students get on the bus and they have to wear a mask.

Students who don’t ride the bus will have their temperature checked at the door when they enter school and will be handed a mask, he said.

“We will have the normal separations that we can do in the building,” Haaland said. “(For grades) seven through 12 there will be a longer passing time so that the teachers can wipe down the desks between classes.”

Everything will be disinfected as much as possible, he said, adding that bathrooms will be cleaned every two hours and hand sanitizer will be in all the classrooms.

Non-essential visitors will be discouraged from visiting the school, he said.

An opt-out option is available, he said, and remote learning will be provided.

He said as for athletics, it is going to be an ongoing challenge with the changing of the rules by the Montana High School Association and the national federation.

Athletic practices for football and volleyball are scheduled to begin Friday, he said, and the district is going to have to wait and see how that works out.

The conference is trying to work out a different plan where they flip the schedule for the conference games first and the non-conference games last just in case there is a COVID-19 issue in one of the schools, he said.

“The county health is very adamant on keeping everybody safe and that’s what we’ll try to do the best that we can,” Haaland said.


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