BILLINGS — School District 2 superintendent Greg Upham told MTN on Face the State Sunday morning that he will require staff to wear masks in all district buildings when the academic year begins August 24.
"Absolutely, and that's because of where the evolution of the COVID-19 virus in Yellowstone County is right now," Upham said. "Initially, I had shared that I wasn't in support of the masks unless we absolutely had to have them because of the management of them. Try and keep a mask on a kindergartner. Try to keep a mask on a senior. It's going to be a challenge, but again nothing is going to be the same for any of us and we need to accept it, say it out loud, do whatever we need to do."
Upham circulated a district-wide email last week with new measures that will be in put in place if staff and students return to in-person learning, which he believes will happen. Upham acknowledged however that no decisions have been made, and he is weighing all options.
Upham did not say students would be mandated to wear masks at this time, though he said "everybody needs to do their part" to ensure in-person learning as a possibility.
The Missoula County Health Department announced a county-wide mandate Thursday that all people ages 12 and older must wear a mask inside all public places. That includes schools, though the mandate was not made with schools as a main focus.