Press Release: Wednesday November 25, 2020

This decision has been most difficult! Over the past two weeks, our schools have shifted to District-wide, temporary remote learning for all students. This decision was made as an intervention to slow the spread on COVID positive cases among staff and to decrease the number of student and staff who were in quarantine. Our nursing and administrative staff have continued to monitor the data on COVID positive staff and students. Based on this analysis of this data, it appears that by Monday, November 30th, the majority of staff and students who were in isolation or quarantine will be able to return to work and school.

We realize, and have taken into consideration, that there is a great deal of concern among staff, parents and community members regarding what is best for our students. After consulting with our task force of Health Care Officials, District Administrators and School Trustees, a decision has been made to return to face-to-face learning in our schools on Monday, November 30th as scheduled. The exception to the return to face-to-face learning will be at East Middle School. Face-to-Face Learning for students at East Middle School will not resume there until Wednesday, December 2, 2020. This extended closure will allow the staff at East Middle school an opportunity to meet with the District grief counselors and to adequately prepare for their students to return on Wednesday, December 2nd. There will be no expectation/requirement of remote learning for students and staff on those two days.

As our health officials and school district administrators and nurses continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 in our community and schools, we may need to return to temporary or extended remote learning in some or all schools at some point. It is the District’s intent that these decisions will be made with enough advanced notification to parents, students and staff so that everyone can prepare adequately for the shift.

During the return to face-to-face learning, all staff, students and community members are reminded to strictly adhere to the safety and health protocols of staying home when you are feeling sick and notifying your health care provider, wearing a mask in public and in our schools at all times, handwashing, and practicing physical distancing to reduce the spread of this virus.

I cannot emphasize enough how essential and important our teachers and staff are to our children and families in this community, for a variety of reasons. They care for and support the developmental, social/emotional and academic needs of 10,000 plus children. Students are simply not optimized unless they are in the presence and oversight of their teachers during the school year! Even the best and brightest are not thriving in this current environment. I implore upon all of us to take extra precautions to keep ourselves healthy and please DO NOT COME TO WORK or school if you feel sick! We all need to unite in our habits and practices against this virus, or we will never achieve our goal of students thriving.

Happy Thanksgiving from Great Falls Public Schools!

Sincerely,

Tom Moore
Superintendent
Great Falls Public Schools

It is with great sadness that we share with you the loss of Great Falls Public School Teacher and Coach, Ken Maddox.  Ken passed away last evening in his home. He was a mentor for many staff and students in our district and community for approximately 40 years.

The staff and community of East Middle School and Great Falls Public Schools share our sincerest condolences  and ask that you remember Kenny’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve this loss!

The GFPS Crisis Team will be available to parents, students and staff in the coming days.  Please contact East Middle School at 268-6500 to arrange for a time to visit with a counselor or arrange for a personal and confidential phone call.  Counselors will be available the week of November 23rd.

There will be more information coming in the next few days about the wishes and needs of Ken’s family. We will relay that information to you as it becomes available and when it is appropriate to share more publicly.

With Sincere and Deep Sorrow,

Thomas G Moore

Speech and Debate Judges Needed

Speech and Debate season is HERE! And that means TOURNAMENT TIME! All tournaments will be hosted through our National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) platform and will run most weekends through December and January! This year, EACH STUDENT from EACH SCHOOL is required to recruit his/her own judges for EACH TOURNAMENT, and we would certainly be grateful for your time!

** ALL COMPETITION and ALL JUDGING is VIRTUAL THIS YEAR **

JUDGE from the comfort of your own home!
JUDGES will need access to Google Chrome and audio on their computers!
JUDGES will need to create a free account on Tabroom.com, using the same email address with which they used for judge sign-up!
JUDGES can view this video for instructions on how to judge using Tabroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOFxYV2BZN0
THIS SAME TRAINING VIDEO will be posted on the Judges’ Registration form, on our Facebook page and on our school and district websites.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR COMPLETING BALLOTS! 

How to fill out a debate ballot

How to fill out a speech/drama/legi ballot

Rounds of competition are posted in Google Form linked below, but will run Fridays 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00PM and Saturdays from 8:00AM throughout the day.

Register online here : https://bit.ly/ElectricCityJudging

Email or phone with any questions to:
Julie Easton (GFH) at 268-6381 or email julie_easton@gfps.k12.mt.us
April Wendt (CMR) at 794-3887 or email april_wendt@gfps.k12.mt.us

Thank you for supporting Great Falls students and our efforts in giving our students as normal a season as possible!

School Board Meeting Information

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in our community, Great Falls Public Schools is pivoting our public School Board meetings to  utilize a virtual option for Board members, cabinet and the public in order to avoid large gatherings of people at this time. Therefore, the November 23rd and the December 14th  School Board meetings will be available to the public through Facebook Live streaming on our GFPS FB page at; https://www.facebook.com/GreatFallsPublicSchools

Audience Participation and Public Comment is part of the public meeting process. Each Board Agenda provides an opportunity under Section VI. Communication (A)  for Audience Communication on any topic that is not already noticed on the agenda for that evening. If a member of the community would like to address the Board virtually during this time in the agenda, please email the superintendent@gfps.k12.mt.us  by 5:00 PM on the night of the Board meeting (Nov.23rd and Dec. 14th) and include the following information;

First and Last Name
Address
Group or individual(s) you are representing, if any.
Written comment of the subject/topic you wish to address with the Board.

Your comment will be read during the Audience Participation portion of the agenda.

All other public comment on agenda items will be allowed by the Board Chair as that item is being discussed by the Board during the meeting via FB Live streaming comments. Once again, individuals wishing to comment on agenda items before the Board during this time period, must state their full name and address when addressing the Trustees. Public comments will  be recorded as part of the public record.

Great Falls Public Schools Moving to District-Wide Distance Learning Beginning November 16, 2020.  In-Person Learning will Resume on November 30, 2020.

November 10, 2020

Parents, Students and Community Members,

Due to the rapid increase of COVID+ cases among GFPS staff and students, along with the highest numbers of people quarantined since school started, we have decided that it is necessary to take action to try to slow or reduce this trend. After consulting with our Community Emergency School Closure Task Force, the School Trustees and District Leadership we have decided to move to district-wide, distance learning for all students and staff in our schools for two weeks. This change will begin at 5:00 PM on Friday, November 13th and we will resume in-person learning in all schools on Monday, November 30thTeaching and learning will continue remotely during this time period for all students.

The only way that this intervention will work in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, is if all of us take every extra precaution possible during this period. We will need to self-quarantine, limit our interaction with others, aside from our immediate family, and follow all of the healthy guidelines of sanitation and PPE when we do have to go out and about.

I realize how difficult this is on many of our families in the school district and on the community, and it is not an ideal way to educate our students. However, if we are diligent during these next two weeks hopefully, we can reopen schools and resume face to face learning safely and in a healthy manner for the three weeks between Thanksgiving and the Holiday Break.

The District is working to provide adequate childcare for school aged children during this period of remote learning with medical and health care institutions. Please consult with your employer for details.

For non-health care related childcare information, please contact Family Connections.

Specific questions regarding student learning should be directed to teachers and your school principal.

In addition, please refer to the Great Falls Public Schools’ website and Facebook page for updates and more information.

Sincerely,

Tom Moore
Superintendent

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In the interest of keeping our community informed of the situation with active COVID-19 cases in our schools, Great Falls Public School officials will attempt to report on a daily basis, by school, the total active cases confirmed by our nursing staff, in conjunction with the County Health Department. The total number of active cases in the District today, November 24, 2020, is 34Click here to see the active cases by school.

This webpage will be updated at the end of each workday, Monday through Friday, by our school district office staff.

Tom Moore
Superintendent

Message from GFPS Lead Nurse Erica Harp on Screening Possible COVID-19 Symptoms

Cascade County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Updates

State of Montana COVID-19 in Montana Schools

State of Montana Outbreak Response Protocols – K-12

Local and CDC Numbers for COVID Hotlines

10-28-2020 Community Coronavirus Letter from Superintendent Moore

9-17-2020 Positive COVID 19 Information

9-11-2020 Visitors at GFPS Athletic Events

9-10-2020 GFPS Athletic Facility Management Plan

8-21-2020 GFPS Mask-Protocol

8-12-2020 Governor Bullock’s Mandatory Use of Face Coverings in all K-12 Schools

The GFPS Reopening Plan  was approved by the GFPS Board of Trustees at the August 10, 2020 Board Meeting

Superintendent’s Evaluation Process

As part of the adopted process, the District Board will accept public comment to be considered either in written form, due to the Board Chairperson by January 6, 2021, or as public comment at the January 11, 2021 regular meeting. Written comments may be submitted in the form of a narrative or on the form: Superintendent’s Evaluation 2020-2021to the Board Chair at jan_cahill@gfps.k12.mt.us or mailed to Jan Cahill, 746 33rd B Ave NE, Great Falls, MT 59404.  Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

GFPS Athletics Update
MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS

Given the spike in COVID-19 infections currently being experienced by Cascade County and Great Falls Public Schools, the GFPS Athletics Department, in coordination with building administration, the Cascade County Health Department, and Athletic Departments at both North Middle School and East Middle School, has made the decision to temporarily delay the Middle School Boys Basketball Season until the start of the new year.  GFPS and the Athletics Department are committed to doing our part to help the community flatten the current COVID-19 curve.

We will plan on resuming practices on January 4th with scheduled games to resume shortly thereafter.  At this point, we are still planning on offering all Middle School activities (volleyball, wrestling, swimming and track and field) in 2021, although start dates will be affected by the shift of the Boys’ Basketball Season.  We will continue to work cooperatively with CCHD on all decisions related to athletics and athletic competition.

This change is for Middle School Boys’ Basketball only.  High School Fall Athletics currently participating in post season play will not be affected.  As per direction of the MHSA, high school winter activities will begin practice on December 7 with no competitions scheduled until after the start of the new year.