HELENA — Helena and Capital High Schools will return to in-person classes on Monday, after ongoing staff shortages forced them back to online learning.
Helena Public Schools leaders put both schools back on remote instruction for two weeks, saying so many staff members were unable to work in person that they could not staff all their schools at the appropriate level.
As of mid-November, close to 20% of the district’s employees were not able to work in school buildings – some because they were in quarantine, but others because they had potential COVID-19 symptoms, were taking care of someone in quarantine or their own children’s school or childcare had gone remote.
The high schools will return to their previous hybrid model, with students attending in-person two days a week and online three days a week. Superintendent Tyler Ream said in a release Thursday that the district plans to remain in that model through the start of winter break on Dec. 21. However, he reminded families that COVID-19 is a “continually evolving health crisis,” and that this may not be the last time HPS has to revisit school phasing.
“We urge every family to prepare a contingency plan in case their school/schools need to physically close as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak, inadequate levels of available staffing, or any other unforeseen emergency situation,” Ream said.