GFPS moves to remote learning for the rest of November

Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 19:39:57-05

Great Falls Public Schools announced on Tuesday that it will transition to remote learning for all students on Monday, November 16, and remain in that mode until at least Monday, November 30.

GFPS sent a text message to parents on Tuesday afternoon:

Text message from GFPS on November 10
Text message from GFPS on November 10

The decision comes as the number of COVID cases continues to spike both within schools and across the community. As of Tuesday, the state COVID website reports that Cascade County currently has 1,911 active cases, 925 recovered, and 41 deaths.

COVID in Cascade County as of November 10
COVID in Cascade County as of November 10

GFPS has been posting regular updates on COVID cases to its website; as of Monday, November 9, the total number of active cases confirmed by GFPS nursing staff, in conjunction with the City-County Health Department, was 87. Here is the number of cases associated with each school:

COVID cases in Great Falls Public Schools
COVID cases in Great Falls Public Schools

GFPS superintendent Tom Moore posted the following message on Facebook:

Due to the rapid increase of COVID+ cases among GFPS staff and students, along with the highest numbers of people quarantined since school started, we have decided that it is necessary to take action to try to slow or reduce this trend. After consulting with our Community Emergency School Closure Task Force, the School Trustees and District Leadership we have decided to move to district-wide, distance learning for all students and staff in our schools for two weeks. This change will begin at 5:00 PM on Friday, November 13th and we will resume in-person learning in all schools on Monday, November 30th. Teaching and learning will continue remotely during this time period for all students.
The only way that this intervention will work in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, is if all of us take every extra precaution possible during this period. We will need to self-quarantine, limit our interaction with others, aside from our immediate family, and follow all of the healthy guidelines of sanitation and PPE when we do have to go out and about.
I realize how difficult this is on many of our families in the school district and on the community, and it is not an ideal way to educate our students. However, if we are diligent during these next two weeks hopefully, we can reopen schools and resume face to face learning safely and in a healthy manner for the three weeks between Thanksgiving and the Holiday Break.
The District is working to provide adequate childcare for school aged children during this period of remote learning with medical and health care institutions. Please consult with your employer for details.
Specific questions regarding student learning should be directed to teachers and your school principal.

We will update you if we get more details.

There were 1,101 new cases and 5 new deaths added to the total on the Montana COVID-19 tracking site on Tuesday morning; the data below is from the official Montana website on November 10:

  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: There are 487 current hospitalizations, and a cumulative total of 1,510 hospitalizations.
  • DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths in Montana is now 462.
  • ACTIVE CASES: There are 16,816 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
  • CASES & RECOVERIES: There have been 41,151 cumulative cases, with 23,873 people listed as recovered.
  • TESTING: There were 3,653 completed tests, for a cumulative state-wide total of 544,566.

Among the most recent deaths are individuals in Hill County, Blaine County, Roosevelt County, and Meagher County.

Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any information that is not yet included in the state's daily updates. Based on state and county data, MTN News reports the following:

  • TOTAL CASES: 41,564 (+413 from state)
  • ACTIVE CASES: 14,953 (-1863 from state)
  • DEATHS 487 (+25 from state)
  • RECOVERIES: 26,124 (+2251 from state)