Below are a series of requirements, recommendations, and considerations for our schools to re-open their campuses for in-person instruction. These should be read in conjunction with all federal, state, and local regulations, as well as school reopening guidance from the State and federal level.
The requirements in this document are actions that our local school district feels are necessary from the guidance that the Governor and the Flathead County Health Department are requesting schools to follow as they resume in-person instruction. In accordance with Kalispell Public Schools’s Pandemic Operational Phases, only those items labeled “requirements” in this document must be in place at our schools to proceed with in-person instruction.
The recommendations in this document are additional measures that the school can take to protect the health and safety of students, staff and the community. Because of the uniqueness of our schools, not all recommendations can be implemented at all locations. Federal, state or local public health officials' recommendations are also considered and presented in this document.
The guidance in this document reflects the best judgment of Kalispell Public Schools as to the practices that schools should follow and takes into account local conditions and considerations.
Arrival and Departure
● Minimize close contact between students, staff, families, and the broader community at arrival and departure.
● Use as many exits and entrances as can be supervised appropriately to decrease crowding at entry and exit points.
● Instruct drivers to remain in their vehicles, to the extent possible, when dropping off or picking up students. If leaving the car is necessary, wait outside the building and follow social distancing guidelines. Only a single parent or caregiver should enter the building to pick up or drop off when in-person communication must occur.
● Provide supervision to disperse student gatherings during school arrival and departure.
● Divide before school gathering areas into sections that allow for as small as a group as possible (no more than 50) to congregate. Follow social distancing guidelines while in groups.
● Place markings on the ground to facilitate physical distancing of six feet or more at all school entry and exit points and crosswalks near the school.
● Have parents that drive students to school arrive as close to the start of school time as possible.
● Students driving themselves to school arrive as close to the start of school time as possible.
● All Schools
○ Ensure students and staff remain in assigned classrooms mixing only when appropriate according to phase opening guidelines.
○ Reduce transmission risk by maximizing the space between student desks with a goal of at least 6’ of separation.
○ Distance teacher and staff desks at least 6’ away from students to minimize adult-to-child transmission.
○ Remove unnecessary items in the classroom that prohibit the appropriate distancing of classroom desks and tables used by students.
○ Assign seating arrangements for students to ensure that close contacts within classrooms are minimized and easily identifiable.
○ Seating chart access will be readily available for every classroom. If seating changes need to be made, seating charts will be updated on the day of the change with the date identifying when the change occurred.
○ Arrange classroom desks and two person tables to allow students to face the same direction.
● Elementary School
○ Practice physical distancing. Given the social and educational needs of this age group, physical distancing may be difficult to enforce for this age group. Therefore, strict maintenance which minimizes the total number of contacts is the primary mechanism of risk reduction.
● Middle School/High Schools
○ Students should remain at least six feet apart, if possible.
○ Establish stable grade level movement without mixing different grade levels if possible.
● All Schools
○ Class size should be as small as practicable.
○ Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent practicable, or limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between uses.
○ Keep students’ belongings separate so that students do not come in contact with other students’ belongings.
○ Reduce the amount of furniture and equipment in the classroom to facilitate distancing and reduce high-touch surfaces.
○ Increase ventilation by increasing outdoor air circulation (e.g., opening windows) or keeping high-efficiency air circulation units on 1 .
○ Ensure HVAC systems run at a capacity to allow a full air exchange every 20 minutes where applicable.
○ Physical Education: Conduct physical education classes outdoors whenever possible, maintaining separation of classes and with appropriate physical distancing within groups to the extent practicable. Face coverings should be optional during exercise. Activities should promote physical distancing and minimize person-to-person contact. Some classes may take place in the classroom setting when appropriate. Routines and procedural expectations taught with intention to accommodate social distancing and safe practices. Locker room plan set by building department to reduce the amount of students in the locker room at any one time.
○ Instrumental Music: Typical performances need to be evaluated to support health and safety guidelines. Limits on crowd size may result in streaming performances. Small ensemble literature instead of large ensemble pieces should be considered. Focus may be on getting students caught up on technique and individual skills from missed instruction in the Spring, not on preparing a lot of music for performance. More in-class small performances and assessments may need to be used to keep students motivated until formal concerts can be scheduled again. Focus on music fundamentals; reading music, rhythm activities, notation and literacy.
○ Vocal Music: No sharing of music notation and folders. Students will need to spread out as much as possible when singing, and should never sing into the back of someone. Large spaces not typically used for rehearsals should be explored (auditorium, auxiliary gyms, outside space). Full singing should be avoided in general music classrooms. Humming with mouth closed is an acceptable form of performing music at all levels. Limit physical activity (i.e., dancing) unless there is enough space to social distance. Limit the amount of students singing at one time to 8-12 students unless the rehearsal space is large enough to spread everyone out in a single row. Teachers need to devise ways for students to rotate in organized groups so that singers are always in the front. Special attention to distancing should be taken into account for large scale ensemble singing. If distancing for increased velocity and distance of airborne particles cannot be achieved this type of ensemble should not be done at this time. Emphasis may need to be on individual vocal growth and pedagogy, as well as music fundamentals, not full ensemble pieces. Ways to move air in music classrooms should be explored—fans, increased HVAC rates are all options that can be used to clean the air, especially between classes.
● Use non-classroom space for instruction (including regular use of outdoor space, gyms, cafeterias, performance halls, etc.), if doing so will allow for greater distancing between students.
● Place markings on classroom floors to facilitate physical distancing. (i.e., at teachers desks, drinking fountains, etc.)
Large Gathering Areas Recommendations
● Cafeterias: During lunch all student seating location will be identified through a seating chart. Seating charts will be kept and updated at the building level. Seating chart changes will be corrected on the chart and dated on the day the change occurred. Students must remain in their assigned seat while eating and not mix with other groups sitting at different tables.
● Restrooms: Stagger restroom use by groups of students to the extent practicable and/or assign certain groups of students to use certain restrooms.
● Libraries: Stagger group use of libraries. For scheduled groups, follow classroom guidelines for student distancing and desk placement. Minimize students touching books as they pursue their literature of choice. Post markers on the floor to encourage social distancing. Instruct students and staff to return all items to a secure location outside of the library entrance. Isolate all returned items for a minimum of 72 hours; at which point items need to be disinfected before being returned to the shelf. Keep doors and windows open when possible.
● Cafeterias: Routines and procedural expectations will be taught with intention to accommodate physical distancing and safe practices. For larger populated schools, divide the cafeteria into quadrants of groups of 50 or less. Students within their cohort group should be placed 6’ apart, if feasible, and in their assigned seat. Cohort groups should be placed as far away as possible trying to be no less than 6 feet apart. Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings while in line.
● Playgrounds: Consider holding recess activities in separated areas designated by class and/or grade level. Limit the use of shared playground equipment in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces and allow for greater physical distancing. Sanitization of playground equipment will occur on a scheduled basis. 12
● Lockers: Minimize use of lockers to avoid unnecessary mixing and congregating of students in hallways and/or pods.
● Hallways: Routines and procedural expectations will be taught to accommodate physical distancing and safe practices. Minimize congregate movement through hallways as much as practicable. For example, establish more ways to enter and exit campus, stagger passing times when necessary and practical and establish designated one-way walking/passage areas. When one way traffic is not possible, use signage and markers to indicate traffic flow.
● Staff Break Rooms: Consider closing break rooms or limiting the number of staff who can be in the break room at a given time (especially rooms that are small) to allow for physical distancing. Encourage or require staff to eat meals outdoors or in large, well ventilated spaces.
● Labs: Consider students having their own required equipment and/or devices (i.e., safety glasses, calculators etc.). For those that use school district items, clean and sanitize before and after each use. Assign stable seating arrangements for students to ensure that close contacts within classrooms are minimized and easily identifiable. Have students wash or sanitize their hands upon entry and exit.
● School Offices: Space staff at least six feet apart. Place markings on the ground to facilitate physical distancing of six feet or more for visitors. For small foyer entrances, place signage indicating entering only if no others are currently inside.
● Staff need to set up “Google Classroom” to use in case of immediate school shut-downs.
● Staff need to be ready to accommodate alternative schedules with short notice depending on district, county and state directives.
● On-line remote teaching may be required in the place of face-to-face instruction due to an emergency closure.
● Establish an “on-line” presence with students during the first two weeks of the school year.
● Continue to develop on-line routines on a consistent basis during in person instruction.
● Emphasize social/emotional support and building relationships for the first 90 days. Re-evaluate after the 90 day period to continue appropriate support.
● First benchmark assessment for students will be the Winter Benchmark.
● Teach and reinforce routines and procedural expectations, with intention, within content classes and common areas to accommodate social distancing and safe practices.
● Utilize virtual meetings for students, parents and colleagues, when possible.
● No combining of classes when teachers are not available to teach their own sections. Students must be monitored and not sent to another classroom with other students that increases the number of students in a room.
For more information about our plan to reopen schools, view the pandemic operational guidance overview.
If you have specific questions for a certain school, please contact the school's principal.