FAQ Regarding HSD#3 Reopening Plan

1. What immediate steps is HSD #3 taking to improve air flow and ventilation at all school sites?

The District has contracted with Hulteng as the owners consulting representative (OCR) who for the next three years will be overseeing the following approved architectural engineering firms. Cushing Terrell, Morrison Maierle, MMW Architects, Western Montana Engineering, A & E Architects.

A comprehensive Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) analysis is currently being conducted and a full report will be made to the board when complete.

The District is also evaluating methods for the immediate improvement of building ventilation as well as long term comprehensive solutions.

2. Is it possible to use some of the HVAC money to purchase portable air purifiers to be placed into all classrooms and shared spaces (cafeteria, library, etc.) to increase the HEPA filter coverage across the school?

Yes. If advised to do so by the firms named in question #1 above.

3. What about having lunch outside at Daly Elementary School?

Having lunch outside at Daly Elementary School would require hiring significantly more staff and/or reassigning current staff which may lead to a shortened school day due to Montana Accreditation Standard requirements. A shortened day would impact pickup and drop off times for families utilizing school bus services.

Additionally, food service will be significantly impacted which may also affect staffing. The District is not authorized to unilaterally change working conditions without consulting, and potentially negotiating, with both employee bargaining units.

Also, weather conditions will impact having lunch outside consistently.

4. What metrics will affect the Districts decision to revisit its reopening plan?

The District will continue to take advice and direction from Ravalli County Public Health and medical providers such as Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and Sapphire Community Health Center.

5. What specific anti-bullying strategies is HSD#3 using to protect any student who is wearing masks at all times?

Hamilton High School: “We strongly encourage students who encounter any bullying to report details to our staff immediately so we can resolve any issues (as outlined in our student handbook). As for COVID and masking, we held a back-to-school assembly on August 23rd, and we clearly addressed the importance of respecting each other's decisions regarding masks. We also reminded the student body of the importance of communicating with staff immediately as any issues arise. Our students have done an excellent job maintaining a respectful environment so far, and our staff regularly reinforces the importance of maintaining a culture of respect. “ – Principal Ryan Wells

Hamilton Middle School: “At Hamilton Middle School we follow the Olweus and 2nd step anti-bullying programs and have already held grade level assemblies in which we emphasized parental and student choice of masking. Just as always, we teach how to report bullying and the different roles of the bullying circle. All staff are aware of the potential issues of masking and are to address any issues that may arise.” – Principal Marlin Lewis

Daly Elementary School: “We would handle bullying around any COVID safety measures the same way we would around any other situation. Young children, as we all are aware, often ask many questions and seek to understand differences and similarities in their environments through those questions. Elementary teachers and staff, Daly Staff in particular, are experts at navigating these situations in positive ways. The culture of our school is positive and inclusive and thus far we have seen no difference in specific regards to COVID mitigation strategies.

Additionally, this year we are implementing the Second Step Bullying Prevention program through our school wide counseling lessons, and our counselors are specifically addressing COVID mitigation strategy choices their counseling lessons. If you’d like more information on Second Step, I’ve attached a link for you here: https://www.secondstep.org/bullying-prevention." – Ericka Dowd.

6. What is the daily absence counts for District students and staff (this includes all personal and illness related abscesses that are excused and unexcused)?

We have regularly updated information on absences at HSD3.org Follow this link for that information: HSD#3 Daily Absences

7. Why does the District have to accommodate children with disabilities (such as peanut allergies) and not unvaccinated children?

Federal law requires the District to accommodate children with disabilities. The potential of transmitting covid is not a protected disability.

8. I want to know how the school district and bus company are enforcing compliance?

Currently our bus contractor is required to enforce face coverings. Bus drivers are being asked to enforce this while transporting children. Since the 2020-2021 school year, HSD#3 has successfully enforced its masking protocol using educational techniques.