Big Sky School District joins three other districts in the state to continue distance learning for the school year in light of the continued COVID-19 threat. PHOTO BY JANA BOUNDS

Distance learning continues and seniors get a graduation

Big Sky students will continue distance and virtual learning, per a unanimous Big Sky School District (BSSD) Board of Trustees decision made this morning during a special board meeting. School facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. 

Board Chair Loren Bough observed that BSSD appeared to be the fourth district in the state to decide on the option of reopening, given Gov. Steve Bullock’s recent decision to scale-back COVID-19 restrictions. BSSD was also the fourth district to opt to continue distance/virtual learning. Reopening was an option staff and board members explained was wrought with impracticalities including gym, lunch room and library closures, continued social distancing guidelines, bus restrictions – not to mention the necessity of procuring hundreds of masks for staff and students to use everyday. 

The determination was made citing the safety of students, staff, and the greater community as well as public comment between 85-90% in support of continuing distance learning. Superintendent Dustin Shipman said staff have also voiced support to continue the status quo. Shipman is working on a summer learning grant and teachers are working with administration on a summer school plan to address any student learning gaps that may develop this school year. 

Lone Peak High School seniors received some good news, as the board unanimously approved an in-person outdoor graduation.  

Shipman suggested that the board plan for a few different ceremonies “given the unknowns that we will possibly have.”  

Recommendations and options will be presented at the next board meeting on May 6, with the goal of getting as close as possible to what parents and students would like the ceremony to be, given current guidelines, Board Chair Loren Bough explained. 

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