Bozeman High School lets out

A student leaves school to head home at the end of the day Friday, March 13, 2020, at Bozeman High School.

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Bozeman school administrators have been brainstorming a wide range of options for reopening schools this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic, and no decisions have been made yet, says Superintendent Bob Connors.

“Nothing is set in stone right now,” Connors said Friday.

The school district’s leadership team, including people from six task forces, will meet June 25 to work on a more solid plan.

On Tuesday the school district posted a 14-page “Safe School Reopening Guidelines” plan on its website, labeled “DRAFT.”

“It’s a work in progress,” Connors said. “We’ll keep everybody updated on our website.”

The draft says things like “No sports or after school activities upon schools reopening.” Connors said that was the thinking back in May, before the governor moved the state from the phase one stay-at-home mode to phase two, reopening many businesses and activities.

Bozeman schools plan to host sports camps in July and have cross-country runners practicing, Connors said. Holding football and soccer in the fall, he said, “that’s our intent — back to full-go.”

But since the course of the virus is unpredictable, schools have to be flexible so they can deal with whatever the reality is, he said.

“We’re going to finalize variations on that draft, and understand we’re going to probably have to modify it,” Connor said. Whether the governor moves the state to phase three and opens things up, or moves back to phase one and shuts things down again, “we want to be ready for that.”

Six task forces, made up of administrators, teachers and parents, have been working on instruction, special education, safety and buildings, athletics, finance and personnel.

The school reopening draft lays out many options:

--Post signs telling people not to come to school if they’re sick, not to shake hands, to keep a 6-foot distance from others, wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.

--Avoid students sharing Chromebooks, toys, books, pencils and other supplies.

--Close libraries, cafeterias, band and choir rooms and other communal spaces.

--Teach students to use face masks when they can’t keep 6-feet apart.

--Have people who are vulnerable — because of health issues or age, for example — stay home.

--Have school staffs sanitize gyms and playgrounds between groups or recesses.

--Have teachers set up online learning with students at the start of the school year in case schools have to shut down again.

One idea, labeled “preferred” in the draft, would be to cut elementary classes in half and have students attend half-days, either mornings or afternoons, with cleaning conducted in between.

Another idea for the high schools, emphasized in boldface, would divide students into three groups alphabetically, and have them take turns with in-school classes every third day and remote learning the rest of the time.

At-risk teachers could be given the option to teach remotely, the draft says.

The draft also considers school buses, food service and special education.

It calls for creating an emergency plan if there’s a coronavirus outbreak and ordering lots of masks, gloves, face shields and cleaning supplies before school starts.

The draft can be read on the Bozeman School District website.

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Gail Schontzler can be reached at or 582-2633.