Potomac School prepares for fall

POTOMAC - During the June 29 school board meeting via Webex, the Potomac School Board approved a series of policies that will give the school district the flexibility to address whatever conditions and/or requirements the school district will face in August as they prepare to return to school for the 2020- 2021 school year.

Potomac School Principal John Rouse said, “Our intention is to provide quality in-person classroom instruction unless required to do otherwise by the Governor’s office, the health department or our local school board.”

The board continued their discussion from their June 8 board meeting regarding the Montana School Boards Association (MSBA) 1900 Series Knowledge-Based Decision-Making Template. Discussion revolved around what types of social distancing or other measures may be expected when school opens in the fall.

Teacher Abby Stitt said within the Potomac School community there are families with immune-compromised kids and expressed concern about how they can accommodate those families.

Teachers may record their classes and have them available for students so they can continue learning or they can send work home to the students.

“It’s our responsibility to accommodate those families who are in a rough spot right now,” said Stitt.

Teacher Terri Klein explained that there is a form called 1908F families can complete that allows them to opt out of in-person instruction during emergency situations. They would still be responsible for the work at home and can’t hop back into school before the emergency is up.

Trustee Gary Long asked about any conversation heard regarding Potomac School families shifting to home school. Those present shared that they had heard of families talking of pulling their kids from Potomac School because of the COVID-19 restriction put on schools. Others heard talk of wanting to continue with the schooling from home although technology was an issue.

Teacher Sarah Schmill highlighted the need for the school and the board to be mindful about the terminology they use. She explained home schooling and students schooling at home for distance learning are two very different things. Future communications need to be clear to which the District is referring.

The board approved the 1900 policy series unanimously with the understanding that the situation will most likely change by the first day of school, Aug. 26. Chair Vann and Rouse agreed that it is just too soon to know what, if any, restrictions will be placed on school districts at this time. 

Principal Rouse said that a traditional ‘welcome back to the school year’ letter will go out around Aug. 1.

The school will host an online question and answer session via Webex in early August for parents, students and staff members to help get the word out about what the school year will look like and upcoming changes.

In other business the board:

• Hired Potomac resident Amy Truett as the new kitchen staff

• Hired an auditor for one year


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