Posted in Broadwater County, Covid-19, Montana

Townsend School District Deals With Covid-19

Here in Broadwater County where there were a handful of confirmed cases of covid-19. Elected and appointed officials have been wrangling with answers on how to deal with covid-19. Townsend schools are getting ready to open but the directive from Governor Bullock is weighing heavily on the decision.

The Broadwater County Health Board last Monday were delivered a draft copy of the proposed school district action regarding the order regarding masks on children returning to school

The County Health Officer had not seen the draft proposed action and declined to comment on the issue.  The board agreed to review the draft proposal but were not sure if the school district authority over these matters were proper to come before the health board.

The School Superintendent Erik Wilkerson provided us a copy of the School Mask draft that is now up for review. It is important to know that this draft is a work in progress and may be changed as review continues.

The draft proposal will be reviewed by the full school board at their scheduled meeting on August 4th 2020.  The meeting will be at 6:00PM in the school Community Room.  It is a priority issue before the board as summer break is nearly over.

In the draft document it is proposed that schedules will be designed to limit large gatherings in the Gym, Multipurpose Room, and Playground areas.

As for Social/Physical Distancing it is proposed that physical distancing of students and staff will occur to the degree necessary for the activity, event and location.  The wearing of masks will be required where social distancing cannot be accomplished.

Face coverings will be called for by ALL staff, visitors, and students.  Masks will be required in any shared area where a physical distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.  The face coverings must be school appropriate.  It is not known what school appropriate is at this time.

It is proposed that staff will be asked to sign a release statement at the beginning of the year that guarantees they are responsible to monitor health and potential exposure every day.

“Townsend Schools is asking  for the public to be a part of this process. Townsend Schools believes that the school system is a reflection of the community it serves. We need your input to help make this school a representation of the people and needs of Broadwater County.”

“Townsend Schools is committed to building a school that provides a safe and healthy environment, while still being cost-effective, practical, and durable.  We need your help to make this happen. We look forward to working with the Townsend Schools community.”

Students and parents will also be asked to monitor for potential exposure and systems, and if exposed they “Must” stay home and seek medical attention. 

It is also encouraging that all staff and students submit to Covid-19 testing at the beginning of the school year and at any time through out the year if they are symptomatic.

The district is also going to look at the rural school bus schedule and policies that will provide an outline to accommodate safety.  

Many of the parents we spoke to are concerned about how a requirement for students to wear masks and maintain social distancing can be achieved. 

With many factors weighing in on the issue of safety the school board members may be faced with moving forward with holding the classes utilizing restrictions or possibly placing physical classroom learning. on hold.

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