Covid 19 Fall Planning

COVID-19 UPDATE: Fall 2020 Planning

June 10th, 2020

Dear Panther Families, 

We are in the process of developing and revising plans for what school might look like this fall. This is a complex issue as we are unsure of where Montana, and more specifically, Yellowstone County will be in terms of active and new cases. We are in the process of developing three different plans for re-opening our school: a best case, worst case, and a hybrid of the two. Each plan will have the flexibility to transition between the three plans as necessary. In an effort to keep you as informed as possible, I’d like to highlight these plans so that you too may plan for this fall. 

All tiers of the plan would include: 

* Temperature checks (staff and students alike) and 48 hours off-campus mandate for anyone showing a fever of 100 degrees or over. 

* Increased hand hygiene – hand sanitizer and disinfecting during each class

* Sanitization/disinfection of desks and commonly touched surfaces between each period/staff/student change

* Decreased outsider presence on campus

* Cancelled field trips and community events

Plan A – Our best case scenario which will be as close to what we’ve done in years past as possible, BUT adding temperature checks, limiting outside visitors to campus, and reducing/eliminating larger gatherings by adjusting lunch and recesses to staggered times. 

Plan B – Our hybrid plan. In this plan, only half of the students would be on campus at any given time for a full school day, with students attending school 1-2 days per week. Our departmentalized students would remain in the same room all day and their teachers would travel to accommodate the change in classes. Our specialists/extracurricular teachers will push into the classroom where possible and specials that require pull-out will be done in small groups. Lunches will be served in the classrooms, and recesses will be done on a classroom by classroom basis. One student per seat during bus transportation.  

Plan C – Back to digital, distance learning. 

We realize this may all be a bit overwhelming for our Panther families, it is for us too. However, in order to best serve our families, we have to plan for every scenario. We are striving to use the most relevant and current information possible to make all decisions regarding the start of school. We are referencing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor’s Office, the Office of Public Instruction, and more locally, the County Health Department. We are also coordinating with other school districts across the state to share best practices. 

We also realize that every family is in a different situation and may have very different needs. As a district, we respect your role as the primary decision-maker for your child’s health and welfare. This is why we have adopted the 1900 Policy Series in light of COVID-19 which highlights the district’s work in keeping our students safe, but more specifically, Policy 1908 which includes your ability to opt out of onsite education for your child. If you know now that your student will not be able to return to campus next year, please fill out the attached form 1908 F (can be found at and return it to the District Office. Submitting this form will allow you to keep your child at home but will maintain their enrollment in Pioneer School and we will continue to provide your child with an education while they work from home. 

As the start of the Fall trimester draws nearer, I will send out a parent questionnaire. We ask that you let us know if you plan on keeping your child home prior to August 1st so that as a district we can better plan for students in both scenarios. We will do our best to provide your child with a high-quality education whether we see them daily, weekly, or only virtually. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. 

We love you, we miss you, stay safe.



Melissa Schnitzmeier

Principal/Superintendent, Pioneer Elementary

Phone: (406) 373-5357



Download 1908F Here