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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Some Small Montana Schools Reopen As State Phases-Out COVID-19 Closures

A hallway in Willow Creek Elementary School.

Some small public schools reopened their doors to students Thursday, although with new guidelines. Montana is still in the first phase of its reopening plans as the number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19 declines in the state.

Most school districts are choosing to keep their buildings closed to all students and staff, finishing out the last few weeks of the school year remotely. But others are allowing students and staff to return, though that looks different depending on the district.

Willow Creek Elementary, in Three Forks, is fully reopening its doors. The district says that most parents surveyed supported sending their students back. Willow Creek is a small district with class sizes of around 10 students, making it easier to follow social distancing guidance from Gov. Steve Bullock.

Libby and Troy are allowing students who are struggling with remote classes to meet with teachers on an appointment basis. Circle Public Schools, which services about 200 students in northeastern Montana, plan to have some grade levels attend class in the mornings.

Many districts say following Gov. Bullock’s guidance on group sizes at this point prevents them from reopening now and say they will use the coming months to plan how they too can reopen their doors in the fall.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.
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