COVID-19 UPDATE: February 9th, 2021

September 18th, 2021 COVID-19 UPDATE – REMOTE LEARNING

Dear Panther Families, 

Due to recent exposure and staffing constraints, Pioneer School will be moving to a fully remote platform (K-8) beginning Monday, September 20th, 2021 through Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 returning to in-person instruction on Wednesday, September 29th, 2021. We do not enter into this decision lightly as we are aware of the difficult situation this places on many of our Panther families.


Arrangements for device pickup will be sent out Monday morning and remote learning will commence at 8:30 am Tuesday, September 21, 2021. 

I have had a couple of parents reach out to inquire about mandatory masking and whether Pioneer will be reinstating mandatory masking due to the rising number of positive COVID cases in Yellowstone County and/or what is taking place in our school right now. Our current Board Policy 1905 reflects optional masking for staff, students and visitors. Optional masking allows for each individual family to determine what they believe is best for their child whether that decision is to be masked or not.

Any changes to our masking policy would require a change in Board Policy, which requires a Board meeting for a formal vote. I will be recommending that the Board convene for a special meeting within the next 10 days to revisit our policy and determine what the best course of action is for Pioneer as we move forward through this Pandemic. Notice of the meeting will be announced once a date/time is determined. 

Some neighboring districts have moved to mandatory masking while others have chosen to move forward with masking optional like Pioneer. As you all know, many arguments have been made on both sides of this issue and the decision is not an easy one – no matter how you look at it. It is important to highlight that masked or unmasked, schools across Montana are seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among children. Please remember that as we make our way through this very controversial issue, our students’ health and safety are our number one priority. 

As always, we appreciate your support as we navigate these difficult challenges. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. 


Be well, Panthers!



Melissa Schnitzmeier

Principal/Superintendent, Pioneer Elementary

Email: [email protected]