Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

COVID numbers climbing in region again

Principal: St. Jude school closure not COVID-related


Last updated 1/12/2022 at 12:27pm

As numbers of new COVID-19 cases surge in Montana with a bigger increase expected still to come, numbers are creeping up in this part of the Golden Triangle including in schools.

Even so, a closure of St. Jude Thaddeus School in Havre due to illness appears not to be COVID-related.

Katie Kopp, principal of the Catholic parochial school, said Tuesday the school is closing for the rest of the week. She said 40 percent of the school's student body missed school Monday and 40 percent missed Tuesday, leading to the decision to close.

"We need students to have a positive educational interaction," Kopp said.

She said the school was scheduled to close Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day already, so classes will resume Tuesday. She said that will hopefully give the students time to get healthy.

She said medical professionals told her a variety of illnesses aside from COVID are going through town, and she had no confirmation that any of the absences are due to COVID.

But COVID cases are rising in Havre Public Schools.

Superintendent Craig Mueller issued a release Tuesday night saying one case was confirmed Monday in a person associated with the district and seven more were reported Tuesday.

Mueller said KN95 and N95 masks have been ordered and will be available in the coming days. Pepole can contact their building principal, who will compile a request for masks, and the district will get them to requesters as soon as possible, he said.

"If any staff member is feeling sick or is symptomatic, they are encouraged to stay home," Mueller said. "Contact the (Havre Public Schools) nurse or your medical provider if you have any questions. Nurse Jeri Zorn is still testing symptomatic individuals."

"If any person associated with the district is at risk of exposure, the Hill County Health Department or HPS Nurse Jeri Zorn may be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action," Mueller's release said. "It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, seek out their medical provider for specific instructions. The school district may be in contact with the health department and reviewing the Centers for Disease Control guidance to complete cleaning the school and other related facilities.

"The other steps taken by the school district include the continuation of social/physical distancing, encouraging face coverings, and frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing," the release added, saying people can contact him for details about these measures.

"School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available," the release said.

The Great Falls Public Schools district announced this week it was going to remote learning due to COVID cases.

And cases are rising through the region.

The state tracking map update this morning reported Liberty County had 18 new cases confirmed, and Chouteau County had eight new cases confirmed.

Hill County Health Department reported this morning that 12 new cases were confirmed Friday and 24 more were confirmed Friday through Monday with another 18 confirmed Tuesday.

"Due to the recent increase in cases, please know that we are working as quickly as we can to get through all of the positive tests, however we are not able to reach everyone in one day," the update said. "If you are showing symptoms and have been tested and not yet heard from us regarding your results, please stay home until you get a call from us or you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. Thank you for your understanding."

Blaine County Health Department reported seven new cases confirmed.

Statewide, the update reported 1,831 new cases in Montana with 9,613 active cases and 172 active hospitalizations.

The state has had 2,933 deaths, with Hill County reporting 71 death, Blaine 29, Chouteau nine and Liberty two.


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