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

Whitefish Schools Reverse Course On In-Person Classes

Whitefish Middle School sign on a door.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio

Just days after a decision to move toward more in-person classes, Whitefish Public Schools announced Monday it will stay in a hybrid model and move its middle school to all remote classes.

The change follows 16 new COVID-19 cases in the district.

Last Thursday, school board members approved a recommendation from district Superintendent Dave Means to move students in 7th through 12th grade from a two-day hybrid model to 100 percent of students in class four days per week.

Districts across the state have been grappling with when and how to move from one education delivery model to another. Staffing shortages have been the primary issue for districts dealing with positive cases, temporarily shutting down some schools. 

Whitefish Superintendent Means told board members last week that despite the significant number of new cases in Flathead County, the district had seen limited spread in schools.

According to an announcement on the district website Monday, the district was notified about 16 new cases in all three of its schools following Thursday’s school board meeting. The release adds that the district had only experienced 13 cases prior this year.

Means said the district could shift to an all remote model if too many staff need to be isolated or quarantined. 

Means also noted that Whitefish Public Schools will provide staff and families with specific metrics later this week that will guide the district’s return to full-time in-person instruction.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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