Skip To Main Content

Return to School 2021-22

Download/Print Copy

Return to School 2021-22

Belgrade Schools Back to School Plan 2021-2022
Revised Draft/Plan Approved 3/7/2022

Current Phase: 3

Our Model

The Belgrade Public Schools will reopen for the 2021 – 2022 school year using one primary model for instruction: In-Person. Distance Learning will be a needs-only option, due to limited FTE and interest. Please see the Distance Learning section of the plan for more information.


Our core purpose is to educate students to become responsible members of society. Our Values are:

  • Students are our priority
  • Community and families are our partners
  • High expectations and a commitment to excellence
  • Our community’s acceptance of diversity
  • Optimizing the highest levels of respect, responsibility and integrity for all
  • Learning and working in a safe environment

Commitment to Safety

Given today’s environment, learning and working in a safe environment is not just a value, but a goal. One positive side effect of the pandemic has been the emphasis on safety and cleaning. The following list includes some of the things that BSD 44 will continue doing, in its efforts to keep everyone safe:

  • Frequent hand washing will be encouraged.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom.
  • PPE will be available for staff and student use.
  • HVAC systems will be evaluated.
  • Some portable Plexiglas shields are still available for staff use.
  • We will clean frequently-used spaces and equipment as resources allow.
  • Students will be asked to clean and sanitize their hands instead of the computers. Too much moisture is not good for technology.
  • We are working to reach a goal of one-to-one so students don’t have to share technology.
  • Because COVID had a huge emotional effect on our educational community, we also plan to have a process in place to address the mental health of our students and employees.
  • The trustees will decide if masks are optional or required for anyone on school district property. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we will pay close attention to the local data to make sure the trustees have the information needed to make a sound decision on this issue. 
  • When possible, maintain a social distance of three feet.

Reopening our schools still presents us with many known and unknown challenges. Will the state, county officials and the CDC find common ground on the issue of how to deal with a pandemic? What happens if the virus begins to have an adverse effect on young people? How do some people deal with the anxiety of a return to normalcy? These are valid questions. All we can do to address such questions is refer to the research and practice, to the best of our ability, the recommendations from our local, state and national health officials.

Lastly, COVID has not disappeared and this is probably not the final pandemic we will face as a school community. Our diligence, flexibility, teamwork, patience and courage enabled us to get through last year. Those qualities will also enable us to deal with the aforementioned uncertainties.

Phased Response Plan

State or Local Health Directives


Safety and Health Precautions

Instruction and learning model
Phase 0 Remote instruction and learning
  • All school facilities are closed to the public

  • Remote food service

  • Full time remote learning

  • No student activities

  • No public rental of school facilities

Phase 1  

Restricted local or state operations

Limits on group size at 10-15, without social distancing, as per local or state order.

  • Health screening for students done at home.

  • Handwashing and steps to limit germ transmission are pro-actively taught and dedicated time throughout the day

  • Student groups will be kept together in static groups

  • (when possible) for contact tracing and limiting germ transmission

  • Frequent sanitizing of surfaces and bathrooms

  • Face coverings: We will recommend following the county health requirements.

  • No public visitors to schools

  • Blended Model of on-site (limited) and remote learning (primary)

  • Onsite instruction will be used on a limited basis to support students experiencing difficulty with remote learning.

  • Classes will be divided into two groups alphabetically, students

  • with last names beginning A-L will attend Mondays and Tuesdays on-site and students with last names beginning M-Z will attend Wednesdays and Thursdays (keeping families together) and Fridays will be for student assistance and PD.

  • Families could choose 100% remote learning, but must supply their own technology, unless medically warranted.

  • No extra-curricular activities

  • All school facilities closed to public rental

  • No student or staff travel

  • Accommodations will be made for student and staff who are required to quarantine.

Phase 2  

Modified local or state operations

Limits on group size at 50, without social distancing, as per local or state order

  • Health screening for students, done at home.

  • Handwashing and steps to limit germ transmission are pro-actively taught and dedicated time throughout the day

  • Student groups will be kept together in static groups (when possible) for contact tracing and limiting  transmission

  • Frequent sanitizing of surfaces and bathrooms

  • Face coverings (masks/shields) required for MS and HS when social distancing is not possible. Face coverings recommended at K-5 when feasible and appropriate.

  • No public visitors to schools

  • On-site learning will return to every day for all students

  • Near to full capacity in schools with modified operations and school activities (modified lunch or recess to limit large grouping)

  • Modified school schedule to allow for static groupings of students and limit mixing of students during the day.

  • Families may choose 100% remote learning

  • Limits or restrictions on extra-curricular activities in order to minimize mixing of groups

  • All school facilities may be open on a limited basis, with approved use plan.

  • Gatherings may be allowed if social distancing can be adhered to.

Phase 3  

Return to normal local or state operations

May be limits on group size, unknown

  • Handwashing and steps to limit germ transmission are pro-actively taught and dedicated time throughout the day

  • Frequent sanitizing of surfaces and bathrooms

  • Face coverings voluntary?

  • Visitors & volunteers will be allowed

  • On-site learning will return to every day for all students

  • Students will rotate through schedules and routines as normal

  • No restrictions on extra-curricular activities

  • School facilities available for public rental

  • Extra curricula activities are ok, pending MHSA approval.

Positive Case Response

If there is a positive case in the school we will:

  • Isolate the individual as soon as possible.
  • Make the necessary contacts (family member) – Pickup timeline is important.
  • Develop contact tracing procedures aligned to CDC guidelines.  Contact tracing will not occur if the CDC discontinues it as a recommended practice.
  • Require infected persons to be out of school for 10 days. 
  • Close and deep-clean all areas around the infection.
  • Allow all isolated individuals to return to school in 5 days, if negative for infection.

Overall Guidelines

Bus Guidelines

  • Hand sanitizer available;
  • Use of masks will be determined by the school board or designee;
  • Bus windows down when appropriate;
  • Assigned seating;
  • Parents are required to keep sick children home;
  • Follow previously-established bus rules.
  • Buses will be cleaned regularly.

Campus Guidelines

  • Students
    • Students are required to stay home when sick.
    • Students will follow the health screening protocols as outlined by School District Nurses and Administration.
    • Students will be assigned seats.
    • Students diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus are asked to immediately notify their physician and call their school. 
    • Use of masks will be determined by the school board.
    • Students are encouraged to practice safe and sanitary practices.
    • Students encouraged to wash hands frequently.
    • Students are expected to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
  • Engineers/Custodians will:
    • Perform all regular tasks for normal housekeeping.
    • Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces to include door knobs, handrails, table/counter tops, outside of lockers, etc., when possible.
  • Staff (administrators, teachers and support staff) 
    • Expectations, Routines and Procedures:
      • Classroom and School Celebrations are an important part of the school experience.  All treats and awards need to be individually-wrapped with care taken on how they are distributed to students;
      • Remove extra, personal items from the classroom to allow for efficient cleaning;
      • Utilize seating charts in classroom, labs, and maker-spaces;
      • Help maintain classroom/work space.
  • Staff Illness:
    • Practice self-monitoring and self-assessing prior to coming to work
    • Should a student or staff member become ill with COVID-like symptoms, all staff members must adhere to HIPAA and FERPA expectations to protect the privacy of others; 
    • Belgrade Public Schools is still to follow contract-tracing protocols if recommended by the CDC.
  • Volunteers and Guests
    • Volunteers and admitted guests must follow all established health and safety protocols while in the buildings.
    • In addition to the background check, volunteers are encouraged to be vaccinated or wear a mask.
  • Vendors
    • Vendors must follow all established health and safety protocols while in the buildings.

Lunch Service Guidelines

  • Return to our regular meal program hosted in the cafeteria,
  • Maintain food allergy and other health protocols,
  • With advance notice, parents may eat with their child in designated areas.

School Schedules

  • Daily schedules will resume as normal, including the Friday early release.

Learning Platforms

In-Person Learning - Belgrade Public Schools believes that in-person attendance has distinct educational advantages, including collaboration, communication, course selection, relationship building and caring for social-emotional needs.

Distance Learning - Belgrade Public Schools believes that the role of distance learning is to:

  • Provide educational opportunities for students in a personal or community health crisis.
  • Allow flexibility in accessing education for students with intense schedule demands.

Proposal: For the opening of school in August 2021 our district will be in Phase 3 which means that:

  1. All instruction in K-8 will be offered in-person only.
  2. All district teachers will maintain at least one week of content on Google Classroom or Seesaw (K-2 option only). 
  3. Students will be instructed on how to navigate the online platforms.
  4. HS students who have a successful track record in DL may apply to attend as a DL student via the Montana Digital Academy.

DL Survey Results - A survey conducted in April 2021 indicated that an average of 20 families per grade band (K-4, 5-8 and 9-12) were considering DL for the opening of school in 2021. Of those interested students, several were not eligible to continue as DL students due to nonperformance issues. There also was no significant cadre of interested students at any one grade level, which makes offering DL courses unfeasible.

Student Interest & Economics - The district doesn’t currently have the resources to offer courses for very few students. At the point which DL becomes feasible for academic core courses we may respond to the interest by hosting our own classes.

Determining HS Student Interest - Student interest will be tracked every two years via an online survey or feedback from counselors and other school personnel.

Phases Of Distance Learning

Phase 3 - Specific courses may be offered in grades 9-12 at the district’s discretion to meet requests from students who have temporary challenges attending in person. Course demand must justify a teacher being assigned to the course (generally 12+ students if asynchronous). Course enrollment for individuals may occur through MTDA.

Phase 3 Teacher Policy - All teachers of students in grades 3-12 who are not currently teaching a DL class will be expected to maintain an updated Google Classroom presence. Teachers in K-2 may choose to have one week of content in Seesaw or Google Classroom.

MTDA - With prior approval from the principal, BHS students may earn credit by taking courses offered through Montana Digital Academy and apply credit towards graduation at Belgrade High School. Students must comply with the requirements, calendar, course offerings and rules of MTDA. BHS Staff will coordinate and oversee MTDA use at BHS.

BHS Course Offerings - If adequate interest exists, BHS DL course offerings will be limited to required classes in core subjects. The intent of DL is to bridge a temporary health or scheduling conflict and is not intended to culminate with a Belgrade High School Diploma.

Student performance requirements are in place for students to be enrolled in and continue in a BSD-staffed Distance Learning course.

Phase 2 - 3 - Some district instruction offered in Distance Learning format to accommodate small scale concern (e.g. outbreak of concern to <25% of population) regarding in-person attendance.

Grade Levels

  • K-4 - no DL offered
  • 5-12 - offerings in response to needs

Course Offerings in 5-12 will be limited to required courses and those that are conducive to be taught in an online format. Student criteria for continuing participation requirements will be the same as for Phase 1.

Phase 1 - All district instruction offered in Distance Learning format in response to a large-scale event that precludes in-person attendance.

All student services should be available, if feasible. Especially important are school counseling services which should continue for individual or small groups via virtual meetings.

School Communication 

Providing Information:

  • The Superintendent is the Belgrade Public Schools District designated contact for communication related to the reopening plan;
  • Schools and staff will be briefed prior to the public, when possible;
  • Use the Belgrade Public Schools website (, Facebook page, and school-associated social media to provide updates to the public; 
  • In the event of an emergency, Belgrade Public Schools will initiate mass notification system through Infinite Campus Messenger; 
  • The press and media partners will be included in communication when possible; 

Possible Illnesses on School Property

  • Communicate with the proper authorities, school trustees, school and district administrators;
  • Follow best practices in regards of disinfection/sanitization and contact tracing protocols and communication to staff, community;
  • Follow legal requirements of HIPPA and FERPA.

Human Resources

The most significant change in HR is that if an employee becomes infected with the COVID virus, they will have to use their accrued leave to address the illness and quarantines. The district will no longer provide leave for COVID infections.

Mental Health Services

Belgrade Public Schools (Belgrade Public Schools) is dedicated to providing support for students, families and staff in the area of mental health and wellness.  We recognize that living in this post-pandemic has contributed to added stress for families and staff.  In this acknowledgement, options for mental health support, when needed, outside of what Belgrade Public Schools can provide is a priority we continue to advance with local and regional partners.  Services can be facilitated through the following Belgrade Public Schools professionals:

  • School-based academic counselors
  • Building level administrator(s)
  • Behavior Specialists
  • Therapists

This guide will be revised/reviewed every six months and allow for public participation in the process.

School Board Acceptance


Date: ____________________

This reopening plan has been developed by Belgrade Public Schools in accordance with the best practices for reopening schools. It has been reviewed and approved on the date listed above.  


Godfrey Saunders
Superintendent of Belgrade Public Schools


Dee Batey
Chairman of the Belgrade Public Schools Board of Trustees