Montana Public Radio


Dr. Michael Horowitz is the founding president of TCS Education System.

What has been the real impact of COVID-19 on higher education? How will education adapt to the pandemic and the related recession? And can U.S. colleges and universities produce the skilled workforce that industries require? Learn more now with Can Do.

COVID-19 Cases In Montana Schools Double

Sep 25, 2020

Twice as many schools in Montana are reporting more than twice as many cases of the novel coronavirus among students and stuff over the week prior.

In a weekly report released Wednesday, the state health department announced 62 more schools reported coronavirus cases than the previous week, for a total of 121 schools kindergarten through university statewide.

The achievement gap in K-12 schools between Montana’s American Indian students and their non-Native counterparts has not improved over the past two years. That’s according to preliminary data from a report due to be released by state education officials in late October.

As Montana continues to lag behind the national census response rate, members of hard to reach rural communities are counting themselves in grocery stores, libraries and bars. The once-a-decade count decides millions of dollars in federal funding and could boost Montana’s representation in Congress.

Thirsty customers start meandering into 2 Bassett Brewing in White Sulphur Springs on a recent weekday evening.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.

Some public school districts and public health officials in Montana say medical privacy laws are preventing them from working together when a positive COVID-19 case is found in a school. On Thursday, Gov. Steve Bullock’s office released new guidance on the issue.

School hallway.

School districts across Montana have been in session for a few weeks now and there have already been confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in schools. But county health departments and school districts are taking varied approaches in how they are disclosing those cases to students, parents, staff and the broader public. MTPR's Aaron Bolton talks with YPR's Nicky Ouellet about his reporting on this.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana’s COVID-19 numbers are going to be shared each week by the Missoula City-County Health Department. Both confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contacts of COVID-19 cases will be included.

Advocates for Montana inmates say their fears of COVID-19 outbreaks within correctional facilities are coming true. They’re demanding state officials take bigger steps to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further.

Signs in hand, organizers stood outside the governor’s residence in Helena on Wednesday afternoon denouncing what they call inaction on behalf of the incarcerated.

As roughly 85 percent of Billings public school students return to the classroom this fall, many families are wondering if, or when, outbreaks of the coronavirus might force courses back online. YPR News asked then sophomore Helena Brown to keep an audio diary during the first few weeks of remote learning this past spring. Her story feels relevant again now.

The global pandemic will likely lead to revenue shortfalls at the University of Montana, according to its president, despite the school’s improved recruitment efforts.

UM’s annual start-of-semester State of the University address normally provides the chance to boast about campus achievements and outline a vision for the future. But, like almost everything else in 2020, Thursday’s address was like no other.