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Kila cancels in-person classes due to Covid

by MATT BALDWIN
Daily Inter Lake | January 13, 2022 12:00 PM

Kila School District canceled in-person classes among all grade levels for Thursday and Friday due mounting Covid-19 cases.

Liz English, principal of the K-8 school west of Kalispell, said a “solid rise in positive cases” among both staff and students prompted the decision to transition to a distance learning environment for the next two days. Kindergarten and first grade classes moved to remote status beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11.

English noted that Friday, Jan. 14 was already scheduled to be an early-out day for the district. It is her hope that with the weekend ahead and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday, the five-day stretch will help stop the spread and give Covid-infected staff and students, and close contacts the necessary five days to quarantine.

Students will be assigned review packets and makeup work over the two days of distance learning. English said students have the option to meet with teachers via video conference if needed.

MEANWHILE, Smith Valley School west of Kalispell will remain closed through Friday due to Covid-caused staffing shortages.

The K-8 school first canceled classes on Jan. 11 because there were not enough substitute teachers available to maintain operations. On Thursday, the district was seven substitutes short, and expected to be six short on Friday.

In a letter to Smith Valley School parents, Superintendent Laili Komenda noted that remote learning is an option for students through Friday, and that laptop computers are available for checkout.

Komenda said she anticipates a return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 18 following the Monday holiday.

Other school districts in the Flathead Valley have also indicated that staffing shortages may become an issue as Covid cases swell.

Whitefish Schools Superintendent Dave Means said in a letter to staff and parents that the district was experiencing “a significant impact on staffing” due to Covid protocols and cases.

Emergency school closures are listed at the Flathead County Superintendent of Schools website https://flathead.mt.gov/schools. School districts determine on an individual basis whether or not to close.

Cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant continue to climb in the Flathead Valley. There were 990 active cases on Thursday, compared to 260 active cases just 10 days ago.

Covid hospitalizations at Logan Health are up, as well, climbing to 30 on Thursday.

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