BILLINGS — Billings School District 2 recorded 117 new COVID-19 cases last week among students and staff, on par with the week ending Sept. 4 which saw 109 new cases.
On Tuesday, due to a high number of positive COVID tests, the school district announced that it would halt classes for the remainder of the week at Rimrock Learning Center, which offers preschool and caters to kids with special needs.
The previous week, according to the school district's COVID-19 data, Rimrock Learning Center had seen zero cases. This is the first time a building has had to shut down due to overwhelming COVID-19 spread since the pandemic began in 2020.
So far, McKinley Elementary School and Miles Avenue Elementary School are the only locations in the district that haven't seen any cases in students or staff this year, according to the district's data. Click here to view the number of cases in Billings schools.
In total, the district has seen 241 student COVID-19 cases and 14 cases in staff.
As new cases continue to trickle in, one Billings mother said she's nervous about sending her daughter in first grade to school. Wendy Rivera tried home schooling for three months last year, but work got in the way.
“I’m a busy mom. I help my husband to run errands for work and I work too. It was so hard for me to get the time and make her sit down with me. I know we can make hard work for helping them, but they need teachers. The teachers are a very important part of their lives and they need to go to school, even though I know it’s getting worse with COVID," Rivera said while watching her kids at Pioneer Park.
Rivera said her daughter, Shayla, truly loves going to school and being around her friends and teachers.
The choice between a child's health and their education is a tough one.
“It's something that worries everyone. Of course it makes me feel so worried about her, but at this point, I think the only thing we can do is just pray for our kids. Because nobody is safe at this point. COVID is around everyone," Rivera said.