Montana Public Radio

Gov. Says Schools Must Detail Plans For Remote Instruction, Other Services

Mar 19, 2020

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says school districts won’t need to make up any in-person instructional time missed during the two-week statewide closure he ordered Sunday. Local school boards will, however, need to approve plans for remote learning and other services to maintain state funding if the closures are extended.

Bullock’s office says schools need to take the next week-and-a-half to craft a plan detailing four things: how they’ll provide remote and online learning to students, school meals, services to students with disabilities, and other services typically given to students at school.

Those plans need to be approved by local school boards in order for any remote or online instructional time to count toward state requirements and to maintain state funding.

Butte Superintendent Judy Jonart says several districts are working with the state to craft a model plan to follow. Many districts are already providing meals and have an idea of how they will provide remote instruction if school closures last longer than two weeks, but Jonart says her district still needs to plan for how it will provide education and other support services to special education students.

"We provide the support services, whether it’s instruction, it could be speech and language therapy, it can be a plethora of kinds of support services. You can do it in a remote location, but you have to make sure we have identified how we’re going to do it and for how long we will do those. So, the individual education plans will probably need to be amended."

Jonart says it is a tight turnaround to craft a larger plan for the district before it reopens March 30, but she expects Butte will be ready to implement its plans by the deadline.