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

Three Montana schools move to remote learning due to staff shortages, contract tracing

At least three Montana school districts are taking advantage of a two-day school break for statewide educator conferences this week to hold remote classes or close for a few days to help prevent further cases of COVID-19.

The Darby School District doesn’t have enough staff to keep its doors open, and students will switch to distance learning for the remainder of the week.

In his message to parents, Superintendent Chris Toynbee says the Bitterroot Valley district doesn’t have enough teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers or substitutes. Toynbee’s message doesn’t provide a specific reason for the staffing shortage.

Transitional kindergarten through second graders will be sent home with assignments for the next two days. Third through 12th graders will move to an online format.

Toynbee’s message to parents says in-person instruction resumes Monday, October 25, “If our employees are healthy.”

Glasgow Superintendent Wade Sundby announced last Friday that classes would not be held Monday through Wednesday.

“Due to substitute shortages in the Glasgow School District, we are unable to provide a high quality education for our students,” he wrote on the school district website.

In Livingston, the school board voted last week to hold middle and high school classes virtually beginning on Oct. 13, in part to give county health officials time to contact trace COVID-19 cases.

No public school classes will be held statewide on Thursday and Friday due to the annual educator conferences.

All three schools are scheduled to return to in-person learning next Monday

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O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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