OPI Statement on School Closures - news.mt.gov

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OPI Statement on School Closures

OPI Statement on School Closures

Sunday, March 15, 2020/Categories: Office of Public Instruction/Tags:

Hi District Superintendents,

Please see the below press release from the Governor regarding school closures. The OPI has been in communication with the Governor’s Office since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak encouraging the waiving of per-pupil-instruction hour requirements for school closures and Superintendent Arntzen spoke with the Governor earlier today. The OPI continues to advocate for local control and will support districts knowing that each of you will implement this differently in your communities. Superintendent Arntzen will continue advocating for your schools at the state and federal level.

The Superintendent appreciates that action has been taken to ensure that students, teachers, and communities remain safe and that schools will continue to receive funding. She looks forward to continuing to work with local communities and school leaders who are on the front line of these efforts, while also coordinating with her fellow state officials to provide support. Visit the OPI’s new COVID-19 webpage for updates and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions. Superintendent Arntzen looks forward to school doors opening again when it is a safe environment for learning. Thank you for putting Montana students first.

More information will come tomorrow.



Dylan Klapmeier

Director of Communications & Federal Relations

Montana Office of Public Instruction



Sunday, March 15, 2020


Marissa Perry, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-4514

Erin Loranger, Press Secretary, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-9725

Governor Bullock Directs the Closure of Public K-12 Schools for Two Weeks; Strongly Recommends Social Distancing Measures to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced a set of directives and guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable Montanans, including closing of public K-12 schools, social distancing measures, and limiting visitation at nursing home facilities

“As governor, it is my top priority to protect the health and safety of Montanans, particularly our most vulnerable, at a time when we face the potential for extraordinary health risks from coronavirus in our state,” said Governor Bullock. “Social distancing is one of the most important primary protective measures to flatten the curve of this virus. I cannot underscore the seriousness of following these measures to help our neighbors, friends, and families.”

Governor Bullock directed Montana’s public K-12 schools to close starting tomorrow, March 16 until March 27. During this time, schools will engage in planning to provide arrangements to provide free meals to students who need them, pursuant to a waiver obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture, and to provide for all other matters and services that students need in the event of future or ongoing closure. Schools will continue to receive all state funding during this two-week closure. 

The state will work with schools during this period to evaluate and consider next steps as needed. The decision to close schools is to slow the spread and is not in response to an outbreak in schools.

“I recognize that our schools often serve as a lifeline for families and that this decision is going to have disruption on Montanans over the coming weeks. I’m committed to working with schools, communities and public health to minimize the impact. I encourage businesses to do everything they can to support families as well,” said Governor Bullock.

To mitigate the impact of school closures on families, Governor Bullock encourages all employers to be generous with their employee sick and paid leave policies during this time.

Governor Bullock is strongly recommending that the public limits all gatherings, especially those more than 50 people, in every community across the state. Governor Bullock is also recommending that individuals over the age of 60 or who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions do not participate in gatherings of more than 20 people. He also recommends that parents should avoid, if possible, placing children for childcare with grandparents or individuals over the age of 60 or immunocompromised persons.

Visitation in Montana’s nursing homes is suspended except for certain compassionate care situations. People who meet the exception for visitation will undergo a screening to determine whether they have traveled in the last two weeks, are residing where community spread is occurring, or if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

In addition to taking part in regular briefing calls with the country’s governors and the White House, Governor Bullock has consulted with doctors and other public health authorities and school leaders to develop efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 in Montana.

The Governor’s Directive implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 and providing for measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus is attached.

Governor Bullock will host a press call tomorrow, Monday, March 16, to discuss further details on these directives and recommendations.




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