Ronan School District No. 30 Staff and Families:
As we prepare to begin another successful school year, we are hopeful that there will be a return to what we have grown to appreciate from a traditional school experience. Ronan School District No. 30 is committed to full-time, in-person instruction, activity participation and parent engagement in our schools. We look forward to focusing on what we do best, supporting the growth and success of our students.
Keeping our staff, students, and community safe and healthy also remains a top priority for the 2021-22 school year. We continue to thoughtfully consider decisions regarding COVID-19. Much like last year, arriving at an approach that prioritizes safety while also providing the highest quality educational experience is an extremely challenging and sensitive process with many considerations. We are monitoring Lake County data closely and continually discussing the developing guidance and recommendations that we receive from federal, state and local health authorities.
The administration team developed and our school board has approved our Plan of Safe Return. That document can be found on the District’s website on the main page, www.ronank12.edu. Some of the items you should be aware of are:
All students and staff will be required to wear face coverings on district school buses, regardless of vaccination status. This is a federal law for public transportation including public school buses. Ronan School District will comply with any federal, state or county health mandates.
· Students rotate through schedules and routines as normal
· Food Service will be 100% on-site and will continue to be free for all students
· Parental involvement of health screening prior to school day is necessary
· Staff and students are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling ill
· Handwashing and germ transmission prevention pro-actively taught and frequently encouraged
· Frequent sanitizing of physical space and equipment
· Face coverings are optional for all staff and students
· Extra-curricular activities resume per MHSA regulations
· Field trips will be allowed
· Student or staff school related travel allowed
· There will not be a District calendar printed this year because of the constant changes in events. Instead, both our District condensed calendar and our monthly calendars will be on the District website (easy to find in the black on the top of the main page).This will be constantly updated to hopefully give you the most accurate information. This calendar will include athletic activity events.
Keep in mind everything can change in an instant. I have been monitoring the news and understand that nationally, there seems to be an increase in cases due to the Delta variant. Lake County Health Department and local hospitals are strongly recommending that all eligible persons be fully vaccinated to help prevent COVID-19. Vaccination is important to not only prevent infection, but also to reduce the severity of illness, protect the more vulnerable people around you, and slow the mutation of new, more harmful strains. In the last report I read, it said 97% of all hospitalizations due to COVID-19, are from the unvaccinated population. I am not sure if these numbers are accurate, but even if it is close, vaccination seems to be a good choice.
Protocols related to COVID-19 isolations and quarantines will still be in effect for the 2021-22 school year. The Lake County Health Department released the following information:
Lake County and Tribal public health officials strongly recommend that anyone 12 years of age or older be vaccinated against COVID-19 as long as they are without any contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please note the following regarding isolation and quarantines for COVID-19:
● If someone tests positive for COVID-19, that person will have a mandatory 10-day isolation period regardless of vaccination status.
● If someone is a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 (defined as anyone who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick (or tested positive in the case of asymptomatic persons) until the time the patient was isolated):
Any unvaccinated close contact will have:
● A ten (10) day quarantine if he or she has no symptoms and no COVID-19 test
● A seven (7) day quarantine with no symptoms and a negative COVID-19 test. The negative test must have been completed five days after the initial exposure. If the test result doesn't come back by the end of seven days, the close contact must quarantine until results come back negative or until after day 10. The test can either be a PCR test (which is primarily the test given at the hospital) or a rapid antigen test.
If someone is a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and is vaccinated and not symptomatic, that person will not have to be quarantined.
· All Montanans aged 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are interested in receiving a free COVID-19 vaccine, Walgreens in Polson, call 406-300-6042 or go online at: (https://www.walgreens.com/topic/findcare/coronavirus.jsp?ban=dl_dlDLB_03292020_covid19)
· Pfizer vaccines for ANYONE (Tribal or non-Tribal) aged 12+ are also available through Tribal Health Pharmacy Polson or St. Ignatius. Walk-in hours are Monday-Friday from 8 AM-5PM.
· All COVID-19 vaccine recipients who are minors will need a parent or legal guardian to accompany them to their appointment to sign the consent form.
Exception to the definition of close contacts related to school settings – updated July 9, 2021
· In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition makes an exception for students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) where:
■ both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks; and
■ other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K–12 school setting.
· This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting
We will closely monitor the COVID activity within our schools and continually evaluate if adjustments are needed in our responses and protocols. Please understand the health and safety of our staff and students is and will continue to be a priority that guides decisions. We humbly ask our entire school community to respect and care for one another.
As always, thank you for your support of Ronan School District No. 30,
Mark J. Johnston
Ronan School District No. 30
Posted May 25, 2021
First day of school for students is Wednesday, August 25th.
I would like to write a quick letter to let you know what my tentative plan is for the upcoming school year. My tentative plan is to ask the Board to consider going back to school full-time for the 2021-22 school year. This would mean we would not be offering any remote learning next year. The following are practices that will either be the same or changed from the current school year:
Keep the daytime custodians – Administrators and teachers felt having these custodians during the day really made a difference. This will allow us to keep the cleaning protocols we currently have in place, which according to the staff might have led to a decrease in the flu and other contagious outbreaks they normally see. The daytime custodian will also continue to keep common areas cleaned and sanitized.
Making masks optional – We will continue to follow the CDC, state and local guidelines that are in place. Students and staff will still have the option of wearing a mask or shield if they so choose. Our District mask mandate ends on June 4, 2021, with the conclusion of school for the current year.
Increased paraprofessional support – As a District, we are expecting over $10 million dollars in ESSER II and ESSER III funds from the federal government to help schools open and help with the learning loss due to the COVID pandemic. One of the provisions of the funding states 20% ($2,000,000) must be applied to those two areas over the next three years. That is about $700,000 per year over three years. We feel if the workforce is out there, we could be looking at hiring more paraprofessionals. I feel our District pays competitively for a paraprofessional. For the 2021-22 school year, a first year para with no education can make $13.70 per hour. One with any bachelor’s degree starts at $15.27. Employees also receive insurance, vacation, and sick pay. This is a great job for someone with kids in school, because when your kids are at school you are getting paid working and when they are home, you will be off with them also. The District is also looking for food service help. They also start at $13.70 per hour with the same benefit package. Keep an eye on the Districts website and click the employment button to see any and all current openings.
Additional Counselor at the middle and high school – We are pleased to have an additional counselor hired as half-time at the middle and half-time at the high school. We feel there will be a need for more mental health services for next year, and it will give additional support for career counselling for all of our students.
Seven period day at RMS and RHS – We will go back to a seven period day next year. Even though we know there is some support to continue with block scheduling, the middle and high school share many staff members. After some discussions within the buildings, we felt that at this time a seven period day is our best option.
School days – For next year we will be going back to our original times for our students.
Pablo – Start serving breakfast at 7:30 AM and instruction runs from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
K. William Harvey – Breakfast starts at 7:50 AM and instruction runs from 8:20 AM to 3:20 PM
RMS and RHS – Doors open at 7:45 AM and instruction run from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Here Comes the Bus APP – The District purchased bus tracking software with a tracking app you can download. This app will let you know where your student’s bus is, if they are on the bus, or how far away the bus is. This should really help if there is a delay or when you need to be at the bus stop. Information about the Here Comes the Bus app can be found on the main District webpage, www.ronank12.edu. Contact the transportation department if you have any questions about downloading or using this app. Matt Gaut, head of transportation, can be reached at 676-3390 Ext 7230.
Tentative Plan – Keep in mind that all of this is tentative and things can change. The best we can hope for is to be back in-person full-time for the upcoming school year. We all understand that this plan needs to be fluid in case of a setback. We will embrace the positive things we have learned and incorporate them into the way we do business. There are aspects that I hope to never deal with again.
I would like to personally thank the students, staff, parents, community, and the Board for being supportive during this challenging year. I know we are not perfect and probably would have made some different decisions if I had a crystal ball, but under the hand we were dealt, everyone really stepped up. The District has been tracking COVID numbers since the beginning of the year and from April 5, 2021 to today, we have only had one positive COVID case. That is awesome considering we have over 1450 students and 250 staff. Hopefully, this is behind us.
Mark Johnston, Superintendent Ronan School District No. 30