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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

August 6, 2020

Ronan School District 2020-21 School Reopening Draft

Since June, the Ronan School District has been working on reopening plans. We understand not everyone will agree with our draft plan, but hopefully we will give parents and guardians the ability to make the choice between in-person or remote learning.

We will be sending out a survey to all parents and guardians to find out if they will be choosing in-person instruction or remote learning for their child later this week. We will be contacting any parent we do not hear back from so we can get an accurate number. We have discussed giving parents a two week trial period to decide what they feel is in their child's best interest, in-person or remote learning.

Currently, Governor Bullock has our State in Phase 2. After many discussions with various local health departments, other superintendents, and educational leaders throughout the State, most feel we will continue in Phase 2 for the near future. With that thought, our plan has taken into consideration guidance from the CDC, as well as the American Pediatrics Association.

Phase 2 Plan

Schools will be open Monday thru Friday for direct in-person instruction. Teachers will be at their scheduled school and contracted times Monday thru Friday. Students will be released early each day.

The following times will be the school day for the students:

Pablo Elementary 8:05 AM to 2:00 PM
K. William Harvey 8:10 AM to 2:10 PM
Ronan Middle School 8:20 AM to 2:15 PM
Ronan High School 8:20 AM to 2:15 PM

The teacher’s current workday is:

Pablo Elementary 7:40 AM to 3:30 PM (3:00 PM on Friday)
K. William Harvey 8:00 AM to 3:50 PM (3:30 PM on Friday)
Ronan Middle School 8:10 AM to 4:00 PM (3:30 PM on Friday)
Ronan High School 8:10 AM to 4:00 PM (3:30 PM on Friday)

The time after students are released will be used for prep and working with remote learners, deep cleaning the classroom, contacting students or parents/guardians and other duties as assigned.

Grades 6th through 12th, will be using a A/B block schedule, which provides four classes a day and then four different classes the next day. This allows us to keep groups of students together longer, which could help with contact-tracing if necessary. Blocks also eliminate students attending seven different periods with seven different groups of students and seven different teachers during a given day. The block schedule will allow for students to accumulate 8 credits for the year instead of the traditional 7.

In grades K-4, we will be following the governor’s and CDC’s guidance by having groups no larger than 50. Our plan is to keep classes together. For example: K. William Harvey has four (4) first grades. Two would be paired together creating a cohort. For example, two first grades would share space together on the playground, use the same doors to enter and leave the building. They would also travel together to lunch maintaining the expected 3 to 6 feet of separation.

Grouping and Scheduling

Kindergarten through 5th grade students will be in class and grade level cohorts. Schedules will be designed to limit large gatherings in the library, gym, lunch area and the playground.

Block schedules will be used for 6th through 12th grade to reduce the frequency of movement and limit contact to less people.

Social/Physical Distancing

It is the goal of the District to encourage social and physical distancing as much as possible. We feel in most classrooms, 3 to 6 feet is achievable. Students will use assigned seating and be facing the same direction. The wearing of masks will be required in common areas where physical and social distancing cannot occur. Some classroom group activities may require students to wear masks.

Face Coverings

Parents will be encouraged to provide their child with a mask or face shield. The District will have some available for those who do not have one. These masks or face shields must be worn in areas where social distancing of 3 feet cannot be maintained. All students must have a face covering to get on a bus. Face masks or shields must be school appropriate.

Health Screening

We are hoping to work with the parents and guardians of our students to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposure. If a student has been exposed, then they must stay home from school and seek medical attention. They may not return to school until they have been cleared for return to school by a healthcare professional. If a student exhibits symptoms at school, they will be isolated until a parent or guardian can be notified to pick the student up. It is crucial that all parents/guardians update their contact information with your child’s school.

All schools will have a designated area for students who exhibit signs of COVID-19 to keep them away from the other students and staff as much as possible until a parent or guardian can get to the school to pick them up.

Busing

Parents are encouraged to transport students whenever it is feasible to do so. Masks or face shields are required on all District school buses unless special circumstances exist. All students will have an assigned seat. Family members will sit together. Students will be seated two to a seat, at most. Additional routes may have to be added to do this. Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses and the buses will be sterilized with our new Protexus electro-static cleaning sprayers when they return to the bus garage after their morning and afternoon routes. To view the Protexus sprayer, click on the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ah4uTo4vg

We will also have our Synovia Bus System installed in all of our route buses by the beginning of August. Along with the Here Comes the Bus app parents and guardians will be able to track their student’s bus and whether their child is on a specific bus.

Hallway and Lockers

Hallway traffic will be one way on half of each hallway. Students will be encouraged to use the closest exit, when possible. We understand there will be a substantial learning curve, but hopefully through education we can teach all of our students the importance of masks.

All of the middle school classes have been moved from the high school. Shared staff will be using the Career Center or the Art Room building to teach their electives classes to middle school students.

High school administration plans on not using lockers. Middle school administration plans to start the year using the lockers.

Playground Areas

We will be keeping cohorts together for recess time at the elementary schools. That means that two grade level classrooms (cohorts) will be sharing the same area. Each school will divide their playground up and to keep less than 50 students in an area. We will also be using the Protexus Sprayer on equipment whenever possible.

Meals and Cafeteria

K. William Harvey and Pablo Elementary will be doing “Breakfast in the Classroom”. Last school year at KWH, we utilized the process of serving breakfast in the classroom with great success. The teachers felt more students ate breakfast.

Both elementaries will be using a mix of staggered lunch times along with grab-and-go meals that will be eaten in the classroom or the cafeteria. The goal is to keep the numbers in any one area to less than 50 and also maintain the social distancing requirements. This is going to increase the amount of time needed to feed all of the students.

RMS and RHS will be doing a grab-and-go breakfast. In the morning, students will enter the cafeteria to get their breakfast. They will then go to their first period class or one of the designated areas to eat. RMS lunch will be a mix of grab-and-go meals that will be eaten in the classroom or some other designated area. Again, the goal is keep the numbers to less than 50 at any one time.

RHS lunch will remain open. Students can still leave campus, and the ones who decide to stay will do a grab-and-go to specific areas to eat where numbers will be kept less than 50 and social distancing protocols encouraged.

Visitor Protocol

We will be installing Plexiglas screens at every secretary’s desk for their protection. In order to protect our medically fragile and immunocompromised students and staff members, for the most part, schools will be open to students, family members and staff. Ronan School District No. 30 will allow limited access for pre-approved visitors, vendors and volunteers. They must wear a face mask or face shield during their time in the building and allow a touchless temperature check. There will be a District approved screening form which will help with contact-tracing, if necessary, and enhance the health of the District.

Organized Field Trips and Extracurricular Activities

All field trips must be approved by the building administration. The District will follow the guidelines set up by the Montana High School Association. At this time, fall sports will continue. There are still questions about whether or not fans will be allowed. This could change Activity Fees to Participation Fees. Remote Learning As a District, we understand there will be a percentage of our population who will prefer remote learning, for various reasons. With this in mind, we are looking at ways to make this an effective means of education for your child. Students who choose remote learning will be graded the same way as the in-person students. They will receive an actual grade. There will not be a pass/fail option.

During the parent survey, many discussed the challenges they faced during the spring remote learning. The biggest concern was communication and a desire for video instruction on the lesson. We are looking at ways to help in this area.

All on-site students will be dismissed around 2:00 PM to 2:15 PM on Monday thru Friday. This will allow time for teachers to work with remote learning students thru their contracted time, as stated above.

We have also created a director of student services who will work to coordinate efforts or concerns of students or parents who choose the remote learning option.

We will send home any books or other materials students may need for remote learning. We will have some Chromebooks available for student check-out. We are in the process of purchasing additional Chromebooks, but as you can imagine, there is a huge demand for them at this time, which affects availability.

The District will provide training on Google Classroom for our staff before school starts. This will allow teachers to upload lessons onto the teacher’s Google Classroom so the students can access it.

We understand there will also be a need for training the parents/guardians who will have to assist their student with remote-learning. We are working with one of our staff members who is skilled at using Google Classroom who will put together instructional videos or training for our parents/guardians and remote students about using this platform. We feel it is important to use the same platform for the entire District.

For remote learning students, elementaries will be sending some of the work home, like spelling handbooks and other materials needed to keep up in the classroom. We have discussed concentrating on the core subjects for the elementary students enrolled in remote learning. We will hopefully have videos for each of the specific lessons available through remote learning. Again, teachers will be available daily in the afternoons at the specified times to work with students and parents/guardians. Hopefully, they will be able to address your concerns during this time.

If a student with an IEP or 504 Plan chooses remote learning, the District will help determine if the accommodations and support can be delivered remotely or will need to be modified.

Other Improvements

● All schools will have a Protexus sprayer
● Transportation will have a Protexus sprayer to be used after each trip
● Sanitizer stations will be installed throughout the buildings and on the buses
● Standup sanitizer stations at most of the entrances
● We will have one daytime custodian at each building.
● A significant amount of time will be spent educating staff and students on the importance of handwashing, use of sanitizer, social and physical distancing, use of masks or face shields
● The District will limit outside visitors as much as possible
● Each school will have a designated isolation room
● Plexiglas will be installed to protect staff when needed
● Google Classroom training will be provided for all staff
● Google Classroom training for students and parents/guardians
● Additional garbage cans will be purchased for each building
● Rollup metal windows have been installed at the entrance of K. William Harvey and RHS for safety reasons

June 30, 2020

Update - 06/30/20

June 30, 2020

Dear Ronan School District No. 30 Staff and Families,

The school year ended much differently than any of us anticipated. We want to thank you for your patience and flexibility during the 12 weeks of remote learning.  We also want to continue to acknowledge the tremendous strain these circumstances have placed on our families, our children, our teachers, our support staff, our administrators, our community, and our economy. We know the sacrifices and changes that our families and staff have had to make in order to implement new remote learning plans, and we are grateful for the partnerships we have had during this challenging time.  

As we end this school year, we want you to know that school leaders in the Flathead Valley and Lake County are already discussing plans for the opening of school this fall.  We are meeting regularly and working closely with state leaders and remain in contact with the local health departments. We will continue to do so throughout the summer.  We are sharing ideas and working together to hopefully bring all students back to school this fall in a safe and healthy environment.  While our hope and goal remains to return to school in the fall at 100% capacity, we recognize that, in light of COVID-19, we must do so with the guidance of our local health officials.  As always, the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, staff, and community is our highest priority.  

As we begin planning for next fall, it will be helpful for us if each family completes the following survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/98MB5FP (Survey Closed)

As school leaders continue to meet throughout the summer, my plan is to provide updates on decisions that will affect the Ronan School District No. 30 students, staff, parents, and community for the upcoming school year. It is hard to predict where we will be in the next couple of months. Regardless of the decision, I understand that our decision will have a big impact on our families.

Thank you for your continued support, and we wish you all a very safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer!

Sincerely,

Mark J. Johnston
Superintendent
Ronan School District No. 30

April 29, 2020

Update - 4/29/20

The Board of Trustees unanimously decided to extend online learning through the end of the school year. Food Service will continue to provide breakfasts and lunches as usual.

April 22, 2020

Update - 4/22/20

Good afternoon,

Today, Governor Bullock held a press conference where he discussed lifting some facets of the Stay-At-Home order currently in place. Governor Bullock stated this is not a time for celebration, and our goal as a State is to remain open for good once we open. He did say that regardless of our decision, our school funding will continue as normal. I would like to share what he said about the current school closure.

Starting May 7th, how schools move forward will be decided by local control. That means our school board will have the final say. I will also be seeking input from the Lake County Health Department and the CSKT Tribal Education Department to help us make an educated decision. We also have a vulnerable population that has to be considered. That being said, we are fortunate to have a great board made up of intelligent individuals, who like me, will analyze this situation and make a decision that is in the best interest of our students, staff, and the community.

Schools have some interesting challenges that have to be considered. Would it even be possible to have a classroom of 20-30 students in the same room while trying to follow social distancing protocol? What would lunch or breakfast look like? What would passing time in the hallways look like? How would we put one student per seat on a bus that currently has two to three students sharing? Would parents just opt to keep their children at home for their safety or the safety of others? These are just a few of the many questions or scenarios that need to be considered.

At this time, we are working hard figuring out this distance learning process. I feel we have come a long way and will continue to tweak our efforts to provide the best possible education for our students. Today, I met with a teacher and an administrator from each building. We discussed some of the challenges, but we also were able to celebrate many of the successes we are seeing.  All of us appreciate the hard work of our students and parents and their willingness to step out of their comfort zone and learn along with us. We know it is not perfect, but we will continue to improve our current system.

We are having a special board meeting on April 29th at 7:00 PM where we will discuss and possibly vote on how our District will proceed for the remainder of the school year. I know how important it is for you to know, as soon as possible, the direction we will be taking going forward. Please feel free to email me any questions, comments or concerns you may have. Also, you can call the District Office to discuss with me or you can contact your child’s school if you have questions, comments, or concerns.

Stay Safe,

Mark J. Johnston
Superintendent
Ronan School District 30

April 7, 2020

Update - 4/7/20

Governor Bullock announces extension of school closures through April 24th, 2020. 

Mark Johnston

Superintendent

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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