Montana Public Radio

schools

Schools and universities with current and past COVID-19 Activity, 2020 - 2021 school year. N=58.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State health officials Wednesday published information about COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in individual public grade schools and universities. The report shows that 68 of the state’s roughly 147,000 public school students have tested positive for COVID-19, along with another 96 cases in Montana's colleges and universities.

Lockers in an empty school hallway.
PD

Public school students in Montana may miss out on roughly $800,000 in federal aid for laptops, masks and educational services amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to a calculation from state education officials after the U.S. Department of Education’s plan for sharing emergency aid with private and home schools was thrown out in court.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
iStock

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.
iStock

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.

Campaign Beat: Greens, Guns And Preexisting Conditions

Aug 21, 2020

Montana's Secretary of State loses his battle to keep Green Party candidates on the ballot. New campaign ads focus on family and gun rights. The two candidates for governor release their health care plans. The national party conventions may hold little sway over Montana races. And Governor Bullock rebukes State School Superintendent Elsie Arntzen in their ongoing dispute over school masking policy

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Empty school classroom
iStock

It’s been about six months since most Montana students sat inside a classroom and as school doors reopen, teachers are eager to see if students fell behind while learning remotely. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton reports on districts’ plan to tackle the so-called “COVID slide.”

School hallway.
iStock

For the first time in months, students will be heading back to class in-person. What schools look like will depend on each school district, their community and what public health officials are comfortable with. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton joins Corin Cates-Carney to explain.

Elsie Arntzen is Montana's superintendent of public instruction.
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The ongoing dispute between Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and the state’s schools chief deepened Thursday when Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen blasted Bullock for announcing a school mask requirement without consulting her.

Arntzen is a Republican running for reelection in November, while Bullock, a Democrat, is running for U.S. Senate.

The first school to submit its results under Montana’s new lead monitoring program tested positive for lead.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says 36 different water fixtures at Hedges Elementary School in Kalispell showed at least some level of lead, which can enter water through old pipes.

DEQ says children are most vulnerable to lead exposure and the effects can include damage to the brain, red blood cells and kidneys.

Empty school classroom
iStock

The Governor’s Office and the Office of Public Instruction put out two separate plans earlier this month providing guidance to school districts as they try to hash out what K-12 education might look like in the fall. Districts say both plans are by and large the same, but lack some specifics.

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