As the new school year begins, school districts in northwest Montana face challenges preparing for the unknown.
With class sizes averaging 20 students, Kila School principal Liz English says the K-8 school district has the ability to support in-person learning for all students once class begins on Sept. 1.
English says families have the option for in-person or remote learning but must decide by Aug. 21.
As long as Flathead County stays in Phase 2, English said the school district will operate on a normal schedule with class being held Monday-Friday for both in-person and remote schooling.
English says one benefit of being a smaller district is that teachers have the ability to teach both in-person and online in a normal workday.
“Lot’s of the bigger districts are having actual remote learning teachers where in our small district our teachers are going to be doing both," said English. "We’ve come up with a way that they won’t have to teach twice.”
English said school officials spent time and money this summer making the school a fun learning environment, with new painting and decals across school grounds.
She hopes the added artwork helps bring positive attitudes to both students and teachers.
“Teachers are ready, teachers are learning extra, they’re really digging into the technology side of this and how it’s going to work and I’m really proud of our staff, and just lots of positivity really,” said English.
English expects 80% of Kila families to choose in-person leaning for their kids. She said extra safety measures will be in place during lunch and recreation time.