Cut Bank Schools ‘lunch ladies’ have been busy preparing free lunches, and now breakfasts, for students to pick up daily from Anna Jeffries Elementary School. According to Barb DeZort, left, the District’s Food Services Director, approximately 30-40 children are taking advantage of the meals. Also pictured is Arceli Barnard.

March 30 is the first day of new plan for teaching kids

Cut Bank Schools are preparing for an extended closure due to the spread of COVID-19. At the time of this writing, we do not have a case of COVID-19 in Glacier County, and we hope that this trend continues. However, we are unable to have students attend school in our facilities due to Governor Bullock’s closure directive. We are working on a plan for moving forward with educational activities while maintaining the closure of our facilities, and promoting social distancing. 

Our administrative team met earlier this week to develop a plan by which educational materials will be distributed beginning Monday, March 30. We have surveyed our students and it appears that approximately 70% of our students are capable of online work with positive connectivity to Internet services. 

Principals will meet with their teachers today (Wednesday, March 25) to collaborate on the best methods of delivery of educational materials for their students with and without Internet access. Teachers will be reaching out to their students for home delivery of educational services electronically for those who are connected. We will be delivering hard copies of homework packets and instructions through our paraprofessionals, and our bus route drivers, for those with limited Internet access. 

Food services director, Barb DeZort, is providing grab and go lunches and breakfasts for those who call in through the Anna Jeffries kitchen. Lunch and breakfast can be ordered by calling (406) 873-2229, ext. 214.  There is no charge for these meals. The plan for breakfast and lunch is still being developed because it is complicated with the rural nature of the students in our district. Delivery of meals can be arranged. 

A formal plan of action will be adopted at a special meeting of our Board of Trustees on Thursday, March 26 at 12:30 p.m. Members of the public who would like to participate in this meeting should see our Facebook pages (Cut Bank Elementary Schools, Cut Bank Middle School or Cut Bank High School) for instructions on how to participate through Googlemeet. 

The COVID-19 situation is a very fluid one, and our plans get altered each day. Our facilities were completely closed March 20-22, and our staff will be meeting on a limited basis in our buildings this week for plan formalization and delivery methods of instructional materials. Our facilities will be closed again from March 27-29 and reopening on Monday, March 30 for staff, as needed, to deliver educational materials to our students.

Closure of our facilities have been determined to be the best way to kill any potential COVID-19 virus that would exist in our buildings. Periodic closure combined with thorough cleaning should provide a safe environment for our staff during the closure, and our students when we are allowed to resume traditional school operations. 

The challenges presented to our public schools by COVID-19 are unprecedented, and we will strive to deliver the best services available for our students. This will be a very interesting process, and we are hopeful that we may assume regular operations very soon. There are many questions yet to be answered. 

We are developing plans for resumption of spring activities, prom, graduation, and much more, but at this point we just don’t have enough information to make such decisions. Please bear with us as we navigate these uncharted waters.

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