CORONA TIME – 3/15 Update

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Mike Mozart

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March 15, 2020

Governor Steve Bullock decided to close all Montana public schools for the next two weeks. Since spring break for Helena Public Schools is the following week, school is not expected to resume until April 6th. Remote-learning will begin Thursday, though this may look different for different grade levels. If students need to get something from school, they can do so on Monday and Tuesday of this week. At present it’s unclear if teachers will be in their classrooms to hand out materials to students as they may be engaged in meetings. For more information, read Helena Public Schools Superintendent Tyler Ream’s March 15 School Closure Update.

March 13, 2020

In the ever-evolving story of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), recently the Helena Public School District has received a major news update from Superintendent Tyler Ream. At 6:20 PM yesterday evening, an email went out to the public updating the district’s stance on the Coronavirus pandemic and changes to our circumstances. 

Although there are no confirmed cases in Montana yet, the concern is legitimate because this will likely change in the near future. The district board is taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the public, as well as students and their families. These temporary solutions will hopefully slow the progression of the virus into our community.

As of March 12th, the Helena Public School District cancelled all district/school affiliated interstate travel, meaning all school related clubs, activities, and ventures that involve out-of-state travel will cease. The Helena High Travel Club already suffered a loss of their planned trip to Italy, amongst other clubs and classes that had trips scheduled. All these events will be cancelled or postponed through March and April, and possibly through May and June. In-state travel is still permitted, but may change in the future.

In addition, all planned, school-sponsored, indoor gatherings that are open to the public have also been postponed/cancelled. This includes concerts, performances, productions, school carnivals, dances, and more. Many of these will be rescheduled for another time, but as of right now, they are not permitted. 

More information regarding the situation will likely be available soon. Future updates to come. 

March 14, 2020

In the last 24 hours, updates on the Coronavirus in our area have continued to surface. Yesterday evening, the Helena Independent Record published an update informing that there were officially four presumptively positive cases of  COVID-19 in Montana. A man from Gallatin County, a woman from Yellowstone County, a man from Silver Bow county, and another man who was thought to be from Lewis and Clark County, but turned out to be from Broadwater County, all made the news with this announcement. 

The patients are being tested and inquiries regarding people they’ve been in contact with are being conducted. As for Helena Schools, measures are currently being taken in attempts to prevent the virus from plaguing our schools. An update on the Helena Schools website informs that preventive cleaning is currently underway in the schools to try and regulate the problem.

As of today, there are still no school cancellations yet, but updates on that status will emerge, and circumstances may change. The board is continuing discussion with state officials to make further decisions regarding the Coronavirus.