From Superintendent Mike Baer:
I would like to give an update on the graduation ceremony. First, graduation will occur as scheduled Sunday, May 31st at 1:00pm. Graduation will take place on the football field. Seniors will be spaced out and their families living in the immediate household will have a pod of seats behind them. For graduates with two family units, two separate pods will be provided. It is important we know how many seats each family member will have. The guest speaker will call in and his speech broadcast over the sound system. We don't have a large enough screen to project anything and at 1:00 pm, it wouldn't be visible anyhow. It has been mentioned to let everyone use their own device to watch, but the logistics of that lend themselves to many connectivity issues I would rather avoid. Graduates will all be recognized. Then graduates, who will already have their diplomas on their seats, will be announced and will walk to the center aisle to pose for pictures, move their tassel, and then back to their seats. Something will be provided by junior parents, but I will discourage any kind of reception that encourages people to linger on school property. Right now, there is talk of a parade of some sort, and maybe 'to go' cupcakes for the graduates and their families.
If weather is an issue, the ceremony will be move inside where families will be spaced in the bleachers. The advantage of starting outside, is that we will allow other guests to observe graduation from their cars parked around the football field. The sound system should allow them to hear the ceremony as well. I would however discourage out of town guests, knowing that if the weather is bad, only directly family from the pods will be admitted into the gym. Everyone attending will be encouraged to social distance. It is mandated in the Governor’s direction that, if needed, during the ceremony people are reminded to socially distance themselves.
Following the lead of the vast majority of districts in the state in order to ensure the health and well being of students and staff, the Gardiner School Board of Trustees voted last night to remain closed and continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year. In addition, with the well being of parents, students, and teachers at the forefront, it was decided that grades K-3 will end their school year on May 14th. Grades 4-12 will end their year on May 21st for students that are proficient as determined by their classroom teacher. Teachers will be sharing their specific requirements of obtaining proficiency in their classes by May 7th. Students in grades 4-12 deemed to be less than proficient by classroom standards will have a week of remediation and their school year will end May 28th.
We hope this will help alleviate some of the stresses of students and families while fulfilling our obligation of providing education to our students. More information in regards to the collection of school equipment from students, and how 7-12 students still needing to get their P.E. clothes/supplies can do that, will be coming next week.
Please be aware that personnel at the school, in conjunction with the Park County Health Department and Emergency Response, have begun discussions on what an opening in the fall may look like. Currently, it is too hard to guess at what the parameters may be in August, but having a plan for the worst case scenario is our goal until later in the summer when more information becomes available. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call, 848-7563.
Please call 406-848-7563 if you have any questions.
The Governor has made an announcement regarding school closure and social distancing, specifically that schools can re-open after May 7th, which for us would be May 11th. However, restrictions would still apply and there are many things he asked schools to consider if they do open their doors. Ultimately this will be a local School Board’s decision and many factors will have to be considered. This will require a special board meeting that has not been scheduled yet, but what we do know is that remote learning will continue through May 7th, so for at least two more weeks.
MHSA has announced the cancellation of all spring sports/activities.
Alternative Graduation plans to accommodate social distancing guidelines are being developed. At this time, the date and time of Graduation has not been changed only the format is being discussed.
All though there is not a lot to report right now, I wanted to check in and make sure the families of Gardiner Schools are all doing well and have the most up to date information there is.
The Office of Public Instruction is giving advice as it pertains to graduation, and in that advice they are suggesting that even if schools "open", that social distancing will still apply. With that in mind, they suggest schools be prepared to finish this year via distance learning.
As far as the Governor and his two week closures, stay tuned for an announcement early next week on an extension. That extension would in all likelihood take us through May 8th.
Anna and Nicole are expanding the reach of the breakfast/lunch program by adding a drop off at East River Rd. Please reach out to Anna if you would like added to the list. There is no charge, and the school has obtained a grant, and is looking for another grant to fully cover the cost of these meals. Please consider participating.
By all accounts, Gardiner Teachers and Students are excelling via the distance platform. Our attendance and participation far out distances the report many other districts are reporting. With that in mind, this is new to all of us. Please, reach out to teachers with comments in regards to the workload and expectations. Gardiner Schools will be very flexible in providing the education each student needs.
The Governor has announced an extension of two weeks (April 24th) for the school closure as well as self quarantine recommendations if you travel out of state.
Please call 406-848-7563 if you have any questions
If you have been following the news, you probably already know that on a national level the experts are suggesting this next week to ten days may be the peak of Covid cases. Also, Montana has been trailing the national trend by a couple of weeks. So, like the Governor suggested last week in a conference call to Superintendents around the state, he expects Montana to peak in late April. Look for an update early this week for the Governor to extend the closure for two more weeks until April 24th.
In the meantime, I wanted to let you know what you can expect from us. Teachers are expected to check in weekly with each student, either individually but minimally as a whole group. If this is not happening for your student it is imperative you let me know, as this is how we are servicing our students, and it is part of our plan submitted to the state. It is our accountability to you as a school.
School lunches and breakfasts are being delivered Monday-Friday for all children 0-18. Pick up times are 12:00-12:30 at Corwin Springs and in Mammoth. We are looking at adding a pickup at point of rocks as well, please look for information from Anna on that. These are free lunches, please don't hesitate to take advantage of these opportunities.
Teachers are working very hard to give our students the best. Please be in contact with them if there are any issues. This has been a learning curve for all of us. Thank you all for your support and stay healthy.
Please call 406-848-7563 if you have any questions.
Teachers have regularly schedule office hours for a two hour window each day.
Greg Bohun Mon through Thursday 9 - 11 AM and 1-2 PM
Christina Cote Monday through Thursday 9 -12 AM
Lori Hoppe Monday through Thursday 9 - 12 AM
Jeanne Johnson Monday through Thursday 10 -12 AM
Shelby Jones Monday through Thursday 10 -12 AM
Hali Kirby Monday - Thursday 7:30 - 9:30 AM
Please email if you would like to request a time to speak to any of your teachers.
Yesterday, the Gardiner School Staff met to determine our path forward in case of a lengthened school closure. Again, going off of the words of the Governor it is highly likely that the schools remain shut down, what is uncertain is for how long. Staff prepared for a minimum of two more weeks, knowing that it could be for much longer including for the rest of the year. Elementary parents, you should be hearing specifics from individual teachers soon, if you haven’t already. 7-12 parents, Ms. Jones has sent an email outlining the process that 7-12 teachers will be following.
Please be aware that this is not homeschooling, but will require your support. Much of what teachers do is direct instruction, and that is what will be most affected during this time. Teachers are scheduling times to meet via phone, or through other sources with individual students and groups of students. Teachers WANT to teach your children, and are doing their best to figure out how to do so. It is vital that you and your student(s) understand that they will be held accountable for information and skills being taught. Part of the school’s accountability to the State is that we show our students are proficient in the State Standards associated with their grade level. That is going to require all students to do what is asked of them, and some of them may need support at home to do so.
Also know that teachers while doing their best to provide pertinent and valuable lessons via a new and challenging format are required to meet the needs of all students. So, what will be required of students in the amount of time and effort will vary greatly with each individual student. Teachers are not trying, nor should they be to fill and 8-hour day. Much of what will be required will be greatly condensed, how much so depends on the individual student. Just know what they are asking is important to develop proficiency in the needed areas, and as required by the State.
Gardiner Schools is asking that you come to pick up your student’s materials in accordance with the following schedule:
Wednesday March 25th: Odd Grades (1,3,5) from 8-12 noon or by appointment with your teacher.
Thursday March 26th: Even Grades (K,2,4,6) from 8-12 noon or by appointment with your teacher.
****Teachers will have you students belongings and necessary school materials packed in boxes/bags and ready to be picked up. For those needing Chromebooks, the teachers will have Chromebook use agreement forms for all parents to sign as they pick up their student’s things. We are asking that parents pick up material along the front of the elementary building using the individual outside classroom doors. The 1st, Kinder, 6th, and 4th grade classrooms all have outside doors leading to the parking lot. 2nd grade will use the 1st grade door, 5th grade will use the 6th grade door, and 3rd grade will use the 4th grade door. If you are unfamiliar with which door is which, the teachers will be watching and guiding parents to the appropriate places.
Gardiner Schools is asking that you come to pick up your student’s materials in accordance with the following schedule:
Wednesday March 25th: Odd Grades (7,9,11) from 1-4 pm or by appointment.
Thursday March 26th: Even Grades (8,10,12) from 1-4 pm or by appointment.
****Student’s lockers will be emptied by school staff and packed in boxes/bags and ready for student pickup. Mrs. Eppenstein will be available for students to sign out their instruments as well. Students will be let in 5 JH and 5 HS students at a time. Students should not need more than a few minutes to get their belongings. We also ask that students not congregate in the parking lot.
We will be offering delivery of school supplies on Friday March 27th. A driver and another school staff member will be delivering supplies in accordance with the following schedule:
Valley Route: Corwin Springs- 9am-10am
Point of Rocks (East River Rd)- Approximately 10:15 am -11:30 am
Mammoth Route: Community Center (old school)- 9 am -10 am
Church Parking Lot- Approximately 10:10-11:30
****The driver and staff member will have Chromebooks and the appropriate forms at the pick-up sites for students needing Chromebooks.
I feel as if I am forgetting something, and most likely I am. So, if there are questions feel free to call anytime 406-848-7563, I would be happy to answer whatever I can. Once again, check your emails, and if you have a preferred method of communication other than email, please let us know as well.
You should all know, that every single staff member of Gardiner Schools has asked what they can do to help. The entire staff is going above and beyond their duties to serve our students.
Dear Gardiner Students,
This week we are working at the school to prepare for distance learning and do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your continuing education and ability to obtain credit for your current classes is our greatest priority. The Governor of Montana has laid out a plan for schools to follow to make sure that you are able to continue making progress in your education. In order for us to meet the Governor’s requirements the teachers have worked together to develop a plan for distance learning for Gardiner School. There are several things that you can do this week to help prepare for distance learning that will begin on Monday, March 30, 2020.
We will be using Google Classroom for our primary digital classroom platform. You are responsible for keeping your email inbox organized and managing communications from your teachers regarding coursework. To access your Google Classroom settings you will need to go to the Classroom landing page (where you see all of your courses) and in the upper left hand corner you will see three bold lines. Click on this menu and scroll to the bottom and select ‘settings.’ This is where you can modify your notifications to meet your needs.
What to expect during digital learning:
In Park County, we have tested 18-25 patients per day for a full week, all with acute respiratory symptoms. The state of Montana has performed just over a thousand tests, 125 of those tests have been here in Park County.
All have been negative to date. A week ago, we were a relatively sick community with 6 other common viral infections prevalent including influenza.
Our week of social isolation stands to help us shed these other infections and become a healthier community than at any other average time in late March. There is ample evidence that social isolation, readily
available testing early in the development of symptoms, tracking contacts, and enforcing quarantines can prevent a catastrophic surge of infections. Preventing a surge of infections allows healthcare systems to care properly for the patients that truly need care and can dramatically increase survival.
We are very fortunate in Park County that we have been given the gift of time; our extensive testing cautiously suggests that we do not have community spread at this moment. Therefore, we have an opportunity that others around the world and country have not had.
My biggest fear is that Montana's larger communities are not testing extensively. They are testing in a way too limited manner and will discover the tip, not the base of the iceberg when it comes to community
spread of infection. Therefore, we will not know community spread until it is too late. Gallatin County in my estimation is very vulnerable to community spread right now. So is Wyoming.
I do see a way forward. We anticipate commercial onsite rapid diagnostic tests for Covid-19 in 2-3 weeks. This would be a game changer. Currently tests have to go to the state and take 36-48 hours to return results.
I am most concerned with those hosting family and friends from elsewhere and those returning from elsewhere to ride this out in Park County. For those returning to Park County from elsewhere, recognize that your very return makes vulnerable the safety you seek. These folks must commit to a strict 14 days of quarantine, early testing (by simply calling the hospital main number) of symptoms of fever, headache, and cough, and strict adherence to health department instructions of isolation should they test positive. If anyone has any questions as to what quarantine should look like, call the Park County Health Department.
I also fear that Bozeman will develop community spread and Park County residents will continue to travel and become exposed in Bozeman. I am certain Wyoming now has community spread. There is minimal testing. They will not know the extent of the disease and will have critical care cases arriving soon.
If we can control the next three weeks, we have a remarkable opportunity to avert much of the suffering that is so baked in the cake for many other locations. It is our singular moment to mimic the experience of 1918 Gunnison, Colorado.
Our businesses must understand that should we be successful in avoiding a surge of infections, we will also be poised for an earlier and faster recovery. This message must reach all Park County residents.
Each of us controls our collective destiny. We must not just enforce our own behavior in this crisis, but be outspoken and enforce and educate others around us. There is too much at stake.
Please make sure all who will listen know what an opportunity we have and what is at stake.
Travel outside of Park County should be severely restricted or better yet cease now. Necessary trips to local supermarket, pharmacy, or hardware must occur. Consider calling ahead with order and curbside pick up. If enter stores, keep 6 foot distance between all, and treat all public surfaces as contaminated. Thorough hand wash every time one enters their house from community. Hand bleach wipes or sanitizer when returning to car from community. Do not touch face after being in the community and do not take or touch phone while in community (or wipe down thoroughly after leaving community setting) until you are able to wash hands thoroughly. Shop at off times when you will run into fewer people.
Reach and educate all of our neighbors returning to Park County from other places. Encourage our neighbors to not host people from elsewhere. Temporarily close hotels and motels to discourage folks from high infection areas coming to Park County.
We can control our Covid-19 experience, and we can lead the state of Montana on the backside showing just what a vigorous recovery looks like!
Thank you again for your efforts!
This message is from me personally, not from Livingston Healthcare.