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Gallatin and Bozeman high schools will transition to four days of in-person school on Wednesday, with the district’s two middle schools moving to five days in person next week.

The transitions will mark the most students attending in-person school on the same days since the district moved to fully remote last March during the early days of the pandemic.

The Bozeman School Board voted to confirm their earlier decision to boost in-person learning days for the middle and high schools during the virtual board meeting on Monday night.

The internal district metrics for all three grade bands over the last ten weeks have remained stable, putting schools in a solid place to expand in-person learning, district administrators said.

The recommendations from the co-superintendents Casey Bertram and Marilyn King do not have a revisit date but Bertram said district administration will recommend future changes if data warrants an action or discussion.

“We are not seeing a significant post-winter break spike in COVID transmission in the PK-5, middle school and high school grade bands,” Bertram said.

Bertram also said the staffing and contact tracing capacity data were stable and at the lowest level of concern in the matrix for the last eight weeks.

The district’s metrics also show the COVID-19 transmission levels in the elementary, middle and high school level have been below community transmission for the last three weeks.

For both recommendations, Bertram said the district would continue to monitor trends in the COVID-19 metrics and decision-making matrix. He added the COVID-19 metrics for Gallatin County have been medium and are trending in a positive direction over the previous two weeks.

During a Jan. 11 board meeting, the trustees voted to approve the transition dates for middle and high schools, with the stipulation that they could be revisited during the Jan. 25 board meeting with additional data.

The high school transition will be four days of in person and one day of remote learning, or a 4-plus-1 model. Unlike middle and elementary schools, high school teachers not only teach in-person students but also the high school’s online-only students. The one day of remote learning, likely to remain Wednesday, allows planning time for the high school teachers.

In Monday’s meeting, Trustee Gary Lusin said he was impressed with the amount of work and detail the district administration had put into gathering data and presenting it to the public.

Trustee Douglas Fischer said he supported the recommendations and was grateful for the metrics and decision-making matrix but he still had reservations. He said the letters from the public show there are significant reservations for some families, especially for the high schools’ return.

The two motions passed unanimously.

During the meeting, the board also voted to approve an emergency district policy on face coverings. The policy outlines guidance on disciplinary action related to failure or refusal to wear a mask or harassment related to protective face coverings.

The decision to create a district-wide policy requiring masks was spurred by Gov. Greg Gianforte’s plan to repeal the statewide mandate in the near future.

Developed in partnership with the Montana School Boards Association, the policy will apply “during the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by the Board of Trustees or other local, state or federal agency, official or legislative body.”

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Liz Weber can be reached at or 582-2633.