Missoula County Public Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson said many students are doing really well with remote learning, but there are some who are struggling. He said they are doing everything they can to help those kids.

“Not going back to school is not ideal, but when you weigh that with the possible risks of spreading the virus even further or creating another outbreak in our community, the risks were just too great in terms of the benefits,” Watson said. “We are continuing with remote learning. We are going to do the best we can for the rest of the year and we are going to start preparing for next fall.”

On Friday, the Missoula City-County Health Department gave the green light for graduation ceremonies, but Watson said there are some restrictions.

“The crowd size is limited to 250 and that includes the students and any guests that they might bring,” Watson said. “That is limiting for us because most of our graduating classes are over 250 or right at 250. We will have to figure out what that looks like under the scenario of 250. We will probably have multiple ceremonies in order to get through all the graduates and so that they can bring a couple of guests with them.”

According to Watson, they will likely have to have three ceremonies for each high school and folks will be required to maintain social distancing. In closing, Watson gave a few words of encouragement as this unique school year comes to a close.

“I know this is always the long stretch as we get close to the end of the school year,” Watson said. “Kids are doing a really good job of trying to stick with what we have provided and staying in touch with their teachers. I just encourage kids and families to stick with it. We will all celebrate towards the end of the year as we wrap this up. Thank you to the parents too for being so patient and willing to help their kids through this.”