2020-21 Back to School Update

August 14, 2020

Last Tuesday evening, the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees approved the 2020/2021 Opening of Schools plan.  While this is an important step as we prepare for the coming school year, our plan will remain a dynamic document in order to remain aligned with updated guidance and incorporate needed changes across this ongoing pandemic.  As part of Tuesday’s Board Meeting, Superintendent, Dr. Tyler Ream, provided a brief update including an overview of local health measures the district is continually monitoring with the assistance of local health officials.  The presentation deck from Tuesday’s meeting is linked for your consideration.  As we proceed toward our opening of school later this month, we have targeted Phase I to follow the Rolling Start schedule designated within our plan.  As of now, our back to school schedule for the first few weeks of school includes the below:

2020 Back to School Schedule:
August 24 through August 28: School Preparedness Week

  • This week is dedicated to training, professional development and campus/classroom preparation
  • No designated school days requiring student attendance (digital or in-person)
  • Per specific schools, small groups of students and/or parent/student/teacher “meet & greet” opportunities may be included this week

August 31 through September 4: Rolling Start Week

  • Small orientation and transition groups of students per day
  • Schools will be communicating school-specific schedules shortly

September 7 through September 11: Phase I (TENTATIVE)

  • September 7th (No School – Labor Day Holiday)
  • Phase I will remain ongoing until announced otherwise

Beginning Phase I on September 8 is an optimistic goal but not a guaranteed reality.  We will continue to closely monitor local health conditions and make decisions in concert with health professionals at Lewis & Clark Public Health.  A list of local health indicators are included in the above-linked presentation deck.  These include information updated to the end of last week and targets for how we would like to see these indicators improve come early September.  We continue to encourage parents/families to plan for childcare for their children as needed.  Even with a phase designation, conditions may change at any moment and necessitate ongoing childcare.  Please look for an update from your child’s school as well as continued updates from your Helena Public Schools next week.  As planned, an updated version of the Opening of Schools Plan will be posted on Monday, August 17.