Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen has provided guidance for students, teachers and parents as they prepare for the upcoming school year, whether students will be in class or returning to remote learning.

“We are looking at guidance that if we have to go back and schools are closed and we have to go back to remote learning, what have we learned?” asked Arntzen. “The Office of Public Instruction, we listened. We had such a phenomenal group of diverse people from students, parents, tribal members, and community members. We had teachers, we had school administrators from one side of the state to the other.”

Arntzen brought up issues of social distancing, especially difficult with classrooms full of young children.

“When we come back and we’re in different phases,” she said. “The scenarios said that we shouldn’t have too many children in a hall and should we go those bells again and how should recess be taken and what does our nutrition look like? It was just an immense opportunity to listen to Montanans involved in education.”

Arntzen said she was heartened to see the cooperation and involvement of those in the educational world.

“What came out of this was so exciting,” she said. “Because it’s going to reshape what education is going to look like. Not back to that traditional mold where you have the teacher standing up in front and all of these things going on. It’s about being flexible about how students learn and focusing on children learning and their successes.”

The task forces included students, parents, educators, health officials, education associations, OPI specialists, and other dedicated community members.