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MCPS schools adapt to teaching during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 13:49:21-04

Missoula County Public Schools have had multiple cases of COVID-19 and as MCPS approaches the four-week mark, they will reassess the hybrid-learning model.

MCPS teachers and students getting the hang of the "new normal."

Upstairs at Hawthorne Elementary School, Erica Prichard's fifth-grade class is learning math, and how to protect themselves against COVID-19.

"It's been different, the masks, I'm just getting used to them. And like two days at school, it's kind of weird," said third-grade student Henry Shawlor.

"My mom was a teacher for like 30 years, and she's just like what you guys are doing, I never would have imagined," Prichard obesrved.

MCPS went all remote back in the Spring -- and now they're getting back in the classroom.

Pritchard, who has taught at this elementary for 15 years, starts the day by checking in with her students.

"My kids kind of move the paper clip to how they're feeling," she told MTN News.

This year her classes are split into block schedules, and some kids are learning all remote.

"Something that will kind of de-stress you, I feel I need to do on a daily basis," Pritchard said.

Media and parents are still not allowed in school buildings while kids are there, so we talked Prichard after class.

"You kinda just jump into it, and you start teaching, and you do kind of forget, about everything else that's going on, which is nice," Prichard said.

"I feel like the kids do too, that's what when they're here, hopefully for them to be engaged, and excited to be here, even with all this going on outside," she added.

Henry says he's happy to see his friends again, "it's really nice to be back at school."

The kids get a short recess at around noon and then it's back inside -- to wash their hands.

Prichard said teaching through a pandemic has taught her to be flexible, but she's excited to be back in the classroom.