Detailed back-to-school plans to be revealed at Billings board meeting Wednesday

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 20:03:05-04

BILLINGS — More details on the plan to get Billings students back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic will be revealed at a virtual school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m.

The plan will be reviewed by the school board in its draft form at the meeting and administrators will hear feedback and questions from trustees, Billings School District 2 Superintendent Greg Upham told Q2 over the phone Tuesday.

Upham said the board likely won't have to vote on any aspects of the plan he helped create with the help of community experts.

In past presentations, Upham said he's worked with local disease specialists and pediatricians from local hospitals, Yellowstone County public health officials and took guidance from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's reopening plan for schools, along with documents from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It's known that Billings students will be offered two types of classes: in-person and online, and parents must choose one for the entire school year. Online enrollment will be prioritized first to students and staff with health risks.

For students in physical classrooms, masks will be required for a majority of the day except during times like lunch and recess, depending if six feet of physical distance can be obtained.

It's expected that more will come to light about the specific procedures for lunches, recess and busing at the meeting. Another big topic could be more information about how exactly online classes will be taught.

Upham has said in the past that the online classes won't be as "broad" as in-person classes, but they will conform to state standards for school accreditation and graduation.

Questions about online classes have centered on whether there will be some kind of live-video instruction where students will be able to participate in real time.

Q2 will be broadcasting the board meeting tomorrow on our Facebook page and on starting at 3 p.m.

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