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Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced that she has formed two task forces to provide feedback and guidance on how to open the 2020-2021 school year this fall in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Montana families and educators are looking forward to the new school year this fall with optimism,” Superintendent Arntzen said Wednesday. “As state leaders, we must support them. The Montana Learn and Montana Flex 2020 Task Forces will bring together students, parents, educators, and state and local leaders to provide families and schools with the resources that they need to succeed in the coming school year.”

The Montana Learn 2020 Task Force is made up of students, parents, educators, and community partners to assess what resources families and educators need to be successful in learning and teaching in distance or mixed-delivery models.

The Montana Flex 2020 Task Force is made up primarily of school administrators, education associations, and the Board of Public Education to review state and federal rules and statutes that need updating to provide schools with more flexibility.

The two committees will meet four times through Zoom in May and June to draft guidance to the Office of Public Instruction and education partners. The Montana School Safety Advisory Committee will review recommendations related to health and safety then provide guidance related to creating safe learning conditions for students and teachers.

Ultimately, the OPI will issue guidance this summer for a comprehensive approach to opening the new school year in the fall. Task force meetings will be recorded through Zoom and posted along with additional information on the OPI’s website. Members of the public can send questions and comments to OPICOVID19@mt.gov.

A list of task force members and additional information can be found at: http://opi.mt.gov/Families-Students/School-Topics/Re-Opening-Montana-Schools-2020.

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