Following the latest MCPS School Board meeting, Superintendent Rob Watson revealed details of the district’s phased reopening of Missoula Public Schools.

There are three phases: 0, 1 and 2.

“Phase 0 is basically what we had last spring, which is full time remote learning, where students are at home and teachers are teaching virtually,” began Dr. Watson. “Phase 1 is what we call a hybrid schedule. It’s a blended model where there’s part of the week where the students are at school in person, and then part of the week where they’re learning from home. The reason we’re considering that is just to limit the number of students in the building. So, that’s Phase 1.”

Dr. Watson then described Phase 2.

“Phase 2 is every day, every student is at school, but it’s a reduced school day,” he said. “We reduce the school day to change the schedule to add in block periods to make the school day shorter for busing purposes.”

Watson notes that the first few days of school are always different than the regular schedule.

“I think it’s important to note that the start of the school year is always a little unusual in terms of schedules,” he said. “For example, at the high school level on the first day of school we have 9th graders only and the 10th through 12th graders stay at home. That’s something we’ve been doing for years. The start of the school year always has kind of a unique schedule in terms of school days and who’s going to school.”

Dr. Watson said the decision on which phase the district adopts has everything to do with the regular COVID 19 case counts released by the Missoula City County Health Department.

“Case counts can go up and down based on when the case results come back to the county,” he said. “Sometimes you have really high days and sometimes you have really low days, but what you want to do is look at that overall trend. What I’m saying is as long as we continue to see a downward trend or a trend that remains pretty steady and pretty low, then we’d feel comfortable saying yes, we’ll start in Phase 1, and if it continues to look pretty steady at a low rate then we’d go to Phase 2.”

Click here to see Dr. Watson’s plan for MCPS parents and families.