St. Ignatius Schools

As St. Ignatius Schools complete construction, they are also hard at work making sure students, teachers and staff are safe by adding new policies, equipment and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Char-Koosta News 

ST. IGNATIUS — The COVID-19 pandemic has put a big hitch in the giddy-up of the American education system. As a result, schools have to use a huge monkey wrench to adjust to the ever-changing learning atmosphere created by the ebbs and flows of the pandemic nationally, regionally, statewide and locally — as is St. Ignatius.

“This virus is not going away soon — I don’t see an end. This is the new normal for us. We are prepared for whatever comes our way,” said St. Ignatius School District 28 Superintendent Jason Sargent in reference to the 2020-2021 school year and the school district’s preparation for it. “I think we will be starting with the Phase 2 operation plan. Our hope is things will get better not worse this school year.”

Phase 2 complies with modified local or State of Montana operations based on the State’s COVID-19 Phase II operational declarations. Currently, the state is in Phase II, so if school started tomorrow, the School District would be in its Phase 2 school operation mode. Phase 2 gives parents the choice to have their students in school, or remote learning from home. This would be four days a week for in-school students. Fridays are dedicated to online remote learning assessments and check in for weekly progress.

What has been Ordered:

• 700 Bulldog masks for students and adults

• 3,225 disposable face masks

• 100 full-length face shields 

• All school facilities are equipped with Ninex Tempcon Network System.  

The Ninex TempCon System is the first of its kind that can automatically check the temperature of everyone at our school multiple times a day without “Human Interaction” utilizing the Thermal Imaging Cameras and Artificial Intelligence Technology.  

This system will help School District #28 be one of the safest schools in the State of Montana and comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act general duty clause.  (Section 5(a) for Covid-19) This system will identify anyone with an elevated body temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.  

Detect-Analyze-Identify-Notify… In Seconds Equipped in Main Entrance and one in each School Hallway.   

• Five cameras total  

• Three Motorscrubber Jet Backpack Storm Ballistic Virus Killer with Vitalized Covid-Killer Liquid Mist Spray 

• 50 containers of Clorox wipes 

• We have five gallons of hand sanitizer and looking to find more

Sargent said the School District surveyed its staff and students’ parents to gauge their feelings before coming up with its flexible four-phases 2020-2021 operational plans approved by School Board. The survey, he said, revealed about an equal three-way split on the three options: one-third for remote learning, one-third for in-school learning, and one-third for a combination of remote and in-school learning.

“There were varying degrees of strong feelings expressed on whether to continue remote learning or whether to go back to regular in-school operations or go with a combination of both. That made our lives more complicated. There is no way to come up with a perfect plan but our focus was to create a safe place to educate students,” Sargent said, adding that means a safe and welcoming school where parents feel comfortable sending their children — the best academic program possible under the shadow of COVID-19 to ensure a positive future for students based upon their education foundation at St. Ignatius school system. “We gave all the parents a choice. This year, until we start, we don’t know for sure what percentage of students will start in school and how many will be in till the school year ends. Based on the survey, about two-thirds of the students will be in school and one-third will be remote learning at home.”

The unknown situation’s ebbs and flows are the driving force for the various operational phases adopted for school operation — it too, has its ups and downs.

“This virus has been hard on everyone, the students, the parents; every person that works in the school, at the grocery stores, at the gas stations,” Sargent said. “We are in an unknown situation. We don’t know where we’ll be in six months. Hopefully it will get better, not worse.”

Sargent likened the in-school learning approach to silos where the kids, as much as feasible, remain in a classroom and the teachers come to them. He did express concern about academic and social achievement with remote-learning.

“Last spring, we went completely to remote learning, with the thought of getting people here part time. The educational pieces were there. But there was some leniency and latitude of enforcing expectations without the kids in school,” Sargent said. “Now, this year with one-third of the kids at home learning there won’t be that leniency in enforcing expectations. We are more worried about the kids at home than the kids that’ll be here in school. It really is a challenge for them to keep up with the in-school students. We will give them study guides with important elements of what the have to know to pass the semester tests. That will help us — and them — meet our educational goals for them. I hope the home kids prepare for the challenges ahead for them as an independent learner. That takes a lot of work, a lot of motivation.”

Also, of concern are extra-curricular activities, school trips and student trips.

In regards to extra-curricular sporting activities, the Montana High School Association Executive Board approved various directives, requirements and considerations regarding the return to MHSA fall activities. For the return to fall activities, schools must follow these MHSA requirements along with the Governor’s directives, and the directives from their local health departments.

First contests can be played on the scheduled dates if the required number of practices for that sport is met. For detailed information visit: www.mhsa.org


St Ignatius School District Statement on 2020-2021 school operations

Currently, the State of Montana is in Phase II, so if school started tomorrow, St. Ignatius School District 28 would be in Phase 2 of its 2020-2021operational plans, and parents could choose to have their students in school or choose to remote learn from home. This is would be four days a week for in school students and Fridays dedicated to online remote learning assessments and check in for weekly progress.

St. Ignatius Schools are proactively looking at the return to school plans for the fall of the 2020-2021 school year. We recognize that we don’t know yet what impact COVID-19 will have on our plans for returning students to the building. We do know that COVID-19 is here and it will not be over anytime soon or ever.

There are no guarantees at this time other than it will be present and at this time there is not a vaccine or cure. With that said we have put together a four-plan option below preparing to implement one or all of them as situations unfold.

As a community, we need to be flexible and able to rotate from plan to plan fluently as situations change.

We have surveyed staff and parents to get an idea of where everyone is at and as expected there are many mixed feelings across the board.

We do not want to lose students and we will find a way to serve every student in our district to meet the educational needs of all students.

I. As of July 16, 2020 at 9am Lake County Health: Lake County: 51 Active, 3 Hospitalized, 0 Deaths. County wants to follow State Directives.

State Stats: 2096 Recorded Cases, 37 Hospitalized (1 percent) Deceased 34 (2 percent) Recovering 1110 (52 percent) Recovered and released from isolation 915 (45 percent)

II. Governor’s order for masks exempts schools for the mask order. Lake County Health recommends everyone wears a mask as much and as often as possible. We have ordered 3,000 masks and Thermal Temperature Readers for all schools.

III. Health Department recommends that students, social distance 6’ and if within 6’ for no more than 15 minutes.

So, at recess as long as students stay 6’ apart or do not remain within 6’ for 15 minutes they are following the health department recommendation.

IV. If a student is tested positive that student will obviously be quarantined for duration of illness and a minimum of 14 days.

Anyone who was within 6’ of this student for more than 15 minutes will also be quarantined for 14 days and this includes teachers, staff and students.

If the original student comes back negative they can be allowed back in school. If a student was exposed to a person who tested positive (within 6’ for more that 15 min.) and gets tested and is negative that student is still quarantined for 14 days.

V. It takes 2-7 days to get back testing results.

VI. We will need to move fluidly through situations and be able to adjust as new situations arise.

VII. There is no cure, there is no vaccine and this will not be over anytime soon or ever.

We have a plan that will allow us to move from phase to phase and be prepared to move from 0 to 3 at any time.


St. Ignatius Schools phased approach

St. Ignatius School District 2020-2021 operation options dependent upon State of Montana COVID-19 phase mandates

Montana is presently in Phase 2

There are four option categories for St. Ignatius school operations: Phase 0, Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 4.

PHASE 0 is all school facilities are closed to the public and students as per local or State Home Closer Order.

  • That would kick in fulltime Remote Learning, as was a done this past spring.
  • Faculty would be either on or off campus, dependent upon Montana Department of Health and Human Services standards and recommendations.
  • Faculty would remotely teach students with limited contact.
  • Faculty could be asked to be at work during normal hours one to five days a week, depending upon situation.
  • Extra-Curricular activities follow Montana High School Association guidelines.
  • Maintenance would do evening cleansing and normal schedule of cleaning of all facilities.
  • Classified Employees, normal on-site supporting Online and Food Distribution.
  • Human Contact limited to all.

PHASE 1 complies with restricted local or State operations that limits group size to 10-15 people without Social Distancing.

There are three learning options — 1-A, 1-B and 2 — for parents to choose from.

  • Teachers: On-Campus serving students with a blended approach Monday through Thursday; Friday serving remote learners, and remote assessments.
  • Maintenance: evenings cleansing facilities. 
  • Classified Employees: Normal hours on-site supporting students and food distribution. 

Option 1-A:

Blended Model of on-site and remote learning 

  • Learning will occur two days a week on-site, with the remaining three days remotely.
  • Classes will be divided into two groups: One Group attending on ‘A’ Days; The other Group on ‘B’ days Monday-Thursday. (We will divide this so families stay together).
  • Students will attend all eight classes two time a week.
  • There could be short term school closure (2-5 days).

Option 1 (B): 

Elementary:  Music, library, and NAS teachers move around to classrooms instead of students traveling down the hall. 

  • PE when doing the health portions.
  • Breakfast and Lunch in classrooms.  
  • Modified recess schedule so no large groupings during lunch

High and Middle School: Block schedule with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Days Monday through Thursday. 

  • Potential option: Four classes a Quarter with block every day and Quarter would count for Semester. This will limit student movement and allow teachers more prep time to support students that have chosen to be served remotely.  
  • Fridays will be optional for students attending regular classes. They can come to school and work in the library or in classrooms to work on projects or current classes. Students will be given front load material and essential understanding work to be completed for the upcoming week.  
  • On Fridays teachers will have time to check in and line out their remote learners.

Option 2:

Families could choose 100 percent Online Remote Learning, very similar to Phase 0.

  • We will make available the lesson plans and preparation for essential understandings weekly.  
  • Fridays will be dedicated to remote learning and teacher contact. 
  • Fridays will be dedicated to remote learning and contact of remote learners from staff to organize and assess remote learners.  

Safety precautions

  • All school facilities are equipped with Ninex Tempcon Network that automatically checks temperatures of everyone in school multiple times a day without human interaction via thermal image cameras.
  • Masks provided and staff/students encouraged to wear.
  • Hand washing taught and time dedicated numerous times a day.
  • Cleansing of buildings daily.
  • No Public Visitors allowed.   
  • Extra-Curricular activities follow Montana High School Association guidelines.
  • Follow State Recommendations for transportation of students and staff.

PHASE 2 complies with modified local or State operations that limits on group size at 50 without social distancing.

There are two options for parents to choose from.

  • Teachers: On Campus serving students a with block approach Monday through Friday.  Serving Remote learners and remote assessments on Friday.
  • Maintenance: Evenings Cleansing Facilities. 
  • Classified: Normal Hours On-site Supporting Students and Food Distribution. 

Option 1:

Elementary: Music, library, and NAS teachers move around to classrooms instead of students traveling down the hall. 

  • PE when doing the health portions. 
  • Breakfast and Lunch in classrooms.  
  • Modified recess schedule so no large groupings during lunch. 

High and Middle School: Block schedule with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Days Monday through Thursday. This will limit student movement and allow teachers more prep time to support students that have chosen to be served remotely. 

  • Potential option: Four classes a Quarter with block every day and Quarter would count for Semester. 
  • Fridays will be optional for students attending regular classes. They can come to school and work in the library or in classrooms to work on projects or current classes. Students will be given front load material and essential understanding work to be completed for the upcoming week.  
  • On Fridays teachers will have time to check in and line out their remote learners.  

Option 2: Remote Learning

Families could choose 100 percent Online Remote Learning, very similar to Phase 0. 

  • The School District will make available the lesson plans and preparation for essential understandings weekly.  
  • Fridays will be dedicated to remote learning and teacher contact.  
  • Fridays will be dedicated to remote learning and contact, organize and assess remote learners from teachers. 

Safety precautions

  • Masks provided and staff/students encouraged to wear.
  • Hand washing taught and time dedicated numerous times a day.
  • Cleansing of buildings daily.
  • Limited Public Visitors.
  • Extra-Curricular activities follow Montana High School Association guidelines.
  • Follow State Recommendations for transportation of students and staff.

PHASE 3 is a return to normal — pre-COVID-19 —local and state operations of school systems. 

  • Teachers: On Campus serving students a with block approach Monday through Friday.  Serving Remote learners and remote assessments as needed.
  • Maintenance: Evenings cleansing facilities 
  • Classified Employees: Normal hours on-site supporting students and food distribution.  

Traditional School Model 

  • On-site learning will return to students, with a full schedule Monday through Friday with Block Schedule for one year (2020-2021) 
  • Students will rotate through schedules and routines as normal.  

100 Percent Remote Learning

  •  Remote Learning will be available to some students based on personalized learning plan.  

Safety precautions

  • Hand washing taught and time dedicated numerous times a day.
  • Cleansing of buildings daily.
  • Public Visitors allowed.
  • No Restrictions on extra-curricular activities. 
  • Transportation will return to normal operations.

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