Hello Montana District Superintendents,
Following up on the below email, I wanted to let you know that the Governor held a press conference yesterday where he announced that the state is activating a coronavirus task force. Subsequently, OPI held a meeting with the Governor’s staff and DPHHS to ensure that communications are coordinated. The press conference can be viewed HERE. The key takeaways from State Medical Officer Dr. Holzman are below. Let me know if you have any questions and visit DPHHS’ coronavirus WEBPAGE to stay up-to-date. The OPI will continue sharing information with you as well.
- As of March 4th, there are no COVID-19 cases in Montana
- Best practices for prevention and response to any communicable diseases should be practiced:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue (or your elbow).
- Stay away from work, school, or other people if you become sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Class and school activities should not be canceled without consultation with your local health departments and any communications regarding cancelations should be a joint effort.
- The existing statutes regarding school closures can be found HERE and HERE.
- In the event of a coronavirus case in a community, local and state health officials will determine the level of response. A small number of cases with minor symptoms will most likely result in at-home self-quarantine. It would not necessarily mean that you have to close the school.
- In the event of a larger outbreak in a community, local and state health officials will communicate with you on the need to cancel school and activities for an extended period of time. Per-pupil-instruction-hours could be waived if the Governor declares a state of emergency in your county. We encourage school leaders to have a plan in place that will allow students to continue their coursework from home.