School re-openings reported a success


Last updated 8/24/2020 at 1:10pm

Havre Daily News/Rachel Jamieson

Seventh grader Rowdy Doney gets his temperature checked Friday at St. Jude Thaddeus School prior to going into the building.

Several local schools opened up with re-opening plans tooled to the COVID-19 pandemic and told The Havre Daily News how the first week has gone.

St. Jude Thaddeus School

St. Jude Thaddeus School is in phase two of its returning back to school plan at full capacity with social distancing being maintained in all classrooms and extended care.

Face masks and shields will be required for when all students are out of their desks.

"It's really worked well," Principal Mike Haugen said. "Our faculty and staff has done an incredible job, we've been wearing multiple hats. We've had to do things or take on more things."

For lunch in the Parish Center, he said, three lunch periods were created with students assigned to the tables, four per table along with plexiglass being placed between the students.

Classes are dismissed one at a time, he said, adding that, the students will enter and exit the building at different doors based on the letter of their last name.

"Teachers have been diligent in setting up their classroom routines, following our plan, the restrictions of our plan and they've just really done a remarkable job in getting this done smoothly," Haugen said. "The students have been incredible as far as when needed or whenever they are moving around to make sure they have their face coverings on. We allow them to take off the face coverings when they are socially distanced."


Turner Public Schools went back to school this fall at full capacity. 

"I think the first couple of days went as well as could have expected," Turner Public Schools Superintendent Tony Warren said.

With a small school size, he said, they were able to spread the students out within the classrooms pretty easily. 

The recesses and lunch were split up between K-2 and 3-6, he said, and that worked out well.

"We've only been back two days, but just based off my experience in the past two days staff and students were very cooperative, and went into this with a really good mentality," Warren said. "We all want to make this work and be in school as much as possible."

North Star

North Star Schools re-opened with all students coming back at 100 percent capacity.

"It's going really well," Superintendent Bart Hawkins said. "It's all new procedures, policies and stuff like that to try to keep our environment as safe as possible, and everybody has done a lot of work to make that happen, but just the attitude is positive and really, really fun to be around a school like that."

Temperature checks are taken when students, staff and parents upon entering the building. Students who ride the bus will get their temperature checked prior to getting on.

If a student has a temperature of 100.4 or more, they will not be allowed on the bus, and students who walk and are found with a temperature of 100.4 or more will be isolated and sent home.

"The effort by our teachers and staff was amazing to get the school year up and running with all the changes we've had and everything, just their effort and attitude has been fantastic as we've started the school year," Hawkins said. "That translates right over to the kids and the parents too, I mean they've really been willing to work with us and try to help us out where they can."

He said it has given him a great feeling the way everybody has come together and worked to try to make this school year work and make it happen.

Big Sandy 

Big Sandy Schools is headed back to school at full capacity, but with some precautions.

"Our first week went better than expected with students and staff wearing masks," Superintendent Kelly Haaland said. "Our check-in the first day was long, but as the week progressed everyone got in the building without standing in line."

He said the elementary school is 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, Haaland said.

Havre, Rocky Boy, Chinook, Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Box Elder start school this week.

Harlem starts school next Monday, Aug. 31.

Havre Daily News/Rachel Jamieson

Silas Belcourt has temperature taken Friday morning when entering the St. Jude Thaddeus School building.


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