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Kalispell schools OK early-release Wednesdays

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | August 27, 2021 12:00 AM

Students in Kalispell Public Schools will be dismissed two hours early on Wednesdays during the 2021-22 school year in preparation for a potential increase in absences due to Covid-19.

"Due to the unforeseen circumstances surrounding isolations and quarantines, and the impact this has on our teaching staff and students, KPS will be implementing early release every Wednesday, starting Sept. 15," district Superintendent Micah Hill said in an email to families Wednesday.

Elementary schools will be dismissed at 1:25 p.m., the middle school at 1:10 p.m. and the high schools at 1:25 p.m.

"You're losing instructional time. I get that. But at the same time, if staff is having to deal with isolations or quarantines … we need to be in front of that," Hill said at a school board meeting Tuesday.

Administrators also noted that students used the time to get extra help from teachers.

The district started the practice last November to provide time for staff to tackle additional duties and increased workloads related to supporting students in school, or at home if they were in quarantine or isolation.

The school board also approved a voluntary consent form parents may complete, authorizing schools to do rapid tests on children who show symptoms of Covid-19. Schools retain the right, however, to send students home if they display symptoms, regardless of whether parents agree to testing.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 406-758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.