School Closure Update may

School Closure Update April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

Dear Panther Families, 

There has been a multitude of conflicting information in the media regarding states beginning to return to normal, and we want to provide you with clarity as to what that would look like for schools. Today, the Governor moved us into Phase I of reopening Montana. Schools, however, are in Phase II of these guidelines; meaning that the earliest students would be able to return to campus would be Friday, May 8th. 

After reviewing all relevant information from the Center for Disease Control, in addition to the information obtained from the Yellowstone County Health Department, we have determined there is no safe scenario for welcoming students back to campus this spring. Therefore, it is with great regret that I inform you that the Pioneer Elementary School campus will remain closed to students for the remainder of the 2019-2020 year. We will finish this grading period by utilizing the same distance learning plan implemented since the middle of March. This also means that all school related activities and events on campus remain canceled through the end of July. 

This decision is not made easily, as there is no one that would like to see our students back on campus more than our staff. However, opening campus for only ten (10) days seems like an unnecessary risk considering many of our students and staff have compromised immune systems, or live in homes with compromised family members. The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. In this current situation, where there seems to be no “clear” right answer, we have deemed it necessary to err on the side of caution in order to keep our students, their families, and our staff safe. 

This week, teachers are on campus bagging student belongings to distribute this Friday, April 24th. Learning packets (K-1) and student belongings (K-8) may be picked up from 9:00AM-11:00AM for out of district families. Ms. Cindy and Mrs. Micheal will again distribute learning packets (K-1) and student belongings (K-8) between 9:00AM-10:00AM to in-district families. 

Additional learning packet pickup/drop-off dates are: 

5/8/2020 – 9AM-11AM

5/21/2020 – 12:00 PM-2:00PM – Learning packets and devices may be dropped off/returned at this time. If you cannot make this time frame, please contact the school office to set up an appointment to drop items off.

Our campus will remain closed, but the learning and growth will continue. Please continue to communicate with your students’ teachers regularly. All academic work will wrap up on the morning of Thursday, May 21st, and after all learning materials are turned back in. Staff will make the determination on grades received and placement for next year. Report cards will be issued as planned and be mailed to the address we have on file in the school’s office. 

As we begin to focus on our 2020-2021 school year and what that will look like, we are preparing for a wide spectrum of possibilities depending on where we’re at with progress on a vaccine, and what the COVID-19 numbers look like within our state. We are navigating several different scenarios and will continue to keep you all updated as we move forward. 

We love you, we miss you, stay safe. 



Melissa Schnitzmeier

Principal/Superintendent, Pioneer Elementary

Phone: (406) 373-5357