• UPDATE CENTER
    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

     

    Dan Rispens  Dan Rispens, District Superintendent

                                               (Photo by Thom Bridge, Independent Record)


     

  • 6.03.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Wrap Up!

    The end of the school year is an exciting time.  Final band and choir concerts, Kindergarten graduation,  talent shows, move up days to meet new teachers, picnics, and fun days are all part of the formula as we celebrate another year of learning and helping our students develop to their fullest potential.  This week I was able to attend a few of these fun events to enjoy the work our students have put in and see what they have learned along the way.  

     

    One event I participated in was the first ever JROTC Awards ceremony held by LTC Mark Smith and his cadets at EHHS.  We have come a long way since the first discussions of an East Helena high school started years ago.  Back in those days, Karen Goldsberry was one of our lead advocates and an active school board member. Karen was an ardent supporter of our military and veterans and knew the leadership opportunities presented by JROTC would benefit our community.  This week we saw the fruits of that labor in action as the first ever JROTC Cadets received their medals and awards!!  

     

    Next week we’ll celebrate our 8th graders with graduation on Tuesday evening.  Wednesday is an early release day for students with school being dismissed at 1:30 PM. After that, School’s Out for Summer!

     

    A year from now, we’ll shift our focus to our first ever graduating senior class at East Helena High School!  It is amazing to me how much things have changed in East Helena in just a few short years!!!

     

    I want you to know that although school ends next week, the buildings will be busy with activity this summer.  We operate a robust summer program for K-5 students and are expanding those opportunities for 6-11 grade students who need to recover credit this summer.  Additionally, high school athletic programs will be utilizing summer for workouts and off season training for interested students.  On the maintenance side, summer gives our custodians an opportunity to give the buildings the deep cleaning they so desperately need, and spruce things up a  bit. And in a few short months we’ll be welcoming the kids right back to start it all over again.

     

    On behalf of our entire staff, I want to thank parents for sharing your kids with us.  Your trust and partnership means so much!  We truly hope all of our EHPS families are able to enjoy another amazing Montana Summer and spend some quality family time together.   See you in the fall!

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 6.03.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 5.27.22 - 68

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 6.03.22 - 92

    Lewis and Clark County Transmission Level today, 6.03.22 - HIGH

     

    New reported cases  5.31.22 - 6.03.22

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 15 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 8 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 30 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 5 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    5.31.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    We are monitoring a school threat situation involving Helena Public Schools.  Our school SRO, Officer Jeff Stoltz has been essential in our response and awareness of the evolving situation that unfolded this morning.

     

    At this time our schools have shifted to “Secure” status as a simple precaution.  This is part of our standard response protocol in which school staff were trained last August.  During “:secure” status we keep all school students and staff inside the secure building until we receive the all clear notification from authorities.

     

    There are no students in Helena or East Helena in immediate danger at this time.  All actions are precautionary.  You do not need to come pick up your children and the kids will fare best if we maintain business as usual as much as possible.

     

    Thank you for your care and concern!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

    5.27.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    School Tragedy

    Those who know me, know I am rarely at a loss for words, but time and again this week, I have been unable to comprehend or put into words my feelings about the Uvalde school shooting.  

     

    Nineteen 4th grade angels and their teachers lost.  

     

    It is unimaginable… yet starting to feel commonplace at the same time.   

     

    Of course, events such as this cause those of us working in schools to evaluate our own situation and preparedness, but in reality we are regularly reviewing our safety protocols and plans.  It’s not just something we save for times when tragedy strikes. Over the course of the next few weeks as more details emerge, we will watch and learn new ways to try and protect our students.  One key frustration this time around is that many of the safety plans and protocols we have in place in East Helena are similar to those already in force in Uvalde.  

     

    This week I have spoken and exchanged emails with a few frustrated and worried parents and teachers.  I have searched through professional publications and websites for new information, advice, and suggestions.  Most of the content has common threads:

    • Be willing to discuss the incident if/when children ask about it,
    • Be honest with kids about what happened,
    • Talk to kids in language appropriate to their developmental level,
    • Limit screen time and exposure to graphic newscasts,
    • Discuss a safety plan for family reunification and identify trusted adults at school.
    • refer kids (and adults) to counseling when necessary.

     

    A few community members have asked what they can do to help.  The best advice I have heard about that is:

    • If you have firearms in your home, ensure they are stored securely and safely so they don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people,
    • If someone in your home is struggling with mental illness or depression, consider storing your guns somewhere else for a while,
    • If you see something, say something.  This applies to online content as well as what’s going on in the community.  Notify authorities or school leaders/counselors about your concerns,
    • Listen to your kids and take their reports seriously.  Again, notify authorities about your concerns.
    • If you have suggestions about improving school safety (no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem), bring it up with your school’s principal.

     

    We want parents to feel welcome and invited to their child’s school.  We also want our schools to feel safe and secure for kids. Like Uvalde, East Helena is a wonderful small town community for families raising kids.  We want to work with you to keep it that way, and keep our kids safe.

     

    A Note About Me

    Most EHPS staff and board members are aware that I recently applied for a central office position with Helena Public Schools and was a finalist for the job.  The job would have possibly given me a chance to be a contributing member of a  team working to improve facilities in Helena, particularly high school facilities. The challenge was intriguing, and my application was in no way a reflection of any dissatisfaction with my role here in East Helena as your superintendent.  In the end, the selection committee decided to go with a  different candidate, and I was not selected for the job. It was a long and sometimes emotional process as I contemplated the prospect of leaving EHPS where I have spent the past 21 years.   In the end, I learned a lot, including a new appreciation for our amazing, supportive community and strong leadership of our experienced board of trustees.  I look forward to working with all of you as we take our schools into the future!

     

    (Repeated Item) Annual Title 1 Parent meeting

    The East Helena School District receives federal TItle 1 dollars to assist students who struggle academically and are economically disadvantaged.  Each year we are required to hold a Title 1 parent meeting to review the program and accept public comment about the programs offered.  This year's meeting will be held May 31 at 3:30 PM in the EVMS library.  The public is welcome to attend.  Title 1 teachers and staff will share information about how the program supports students at the various school sites.  There will be an opportunity for questions and answers and public input.  



    COVID Update

    After weeks of nothing to report about COVID, we are starting to see some new cases in schools.  This is a reminder that we are no longer requiring transitions to remote learning for close contacts, but rather are working to notify families of students who are close contacts and allowing families to determine the best course of action for their child.  

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 5.27.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 5.13.22 - 28

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 5.27.22 - 68

    Lewis and Clark County Transmission Level today, 5.23.22 - LOW

     

    New reported cases  5.16.22 - 5.27.22

    EG cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 1 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 15 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 8 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 5 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    5.13.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Spring Sports and Activities in East Helena

    East Helena Schools is proud to offer a wide range of sports and activities for our students. This past week, the EHPS Board of Trustees approved expanding our activities program to include MHSA Sanctioned Baseball next spring.  As we have grown and developed the High School program, more students have had opportunities for interscholastic competition.  This week I wanted to share some highlights of this Spring’s middle and high school activities:

    • High School Track - Spring weather has been a challenge. In fact the Missoula meet was canceled midway through due to snow.  There are 40 EHHS students out for VIgilante Track.  We hosted our first home meet at our beautiful new facility and it was a great success. Kaeden Sader qualified for state and competed in the top 10 in both the 100 and 200 meter races.  Braden Howell is a state contender in Javelin.  Montana Pierson has overcome adversity (broken leg) and come back to win her events at two meets as well as matching her personal best in high jump.  James Brooks and Josiah Hombeck are increasingly competitive in the middle distance races for the team.  On the coaching side, head coach Jon Moore is joined by two new assistants, Bret Charlton and Riley Sampson.
    • High School Tennis - Spring weather has been a challenge.  Several matches have been postponed or canceled.  Connor Brown, Justin Brewer, and Amber Stevenson are top competitors for the Vigilantes.  There are 7 boys and 14 girls out for tennis, a significant increase over last year’s numbers! Coach Ryan Murgel is leading the Vigilante Tennis team this year.
    • High School Softball - Spring weather has been a challenge.  The team record is 3 and 6 and our girls have navigated some heartbreaking losses in a very competitive conference.  These girls are tough and have played in “feels like” temps as low as 18 degrees!  The team goal is to finish strong!  The Vigilante Softball team’s last home game for the regular season is May 17 at 5 PM at EHHS against Butte Central. Megan Surginer is the head coach of the Vigilante Softball program.
    • Middle School Track (Grades 5-8) - Spring weather has been a challenge.  A record 148 students came out for middle school track this year.  55 of them are Radley 5th graders!   The season wrapped up May 10 with the Boulder meet. Many long standing EVMS track records were threatened or overcome this year.  Head coach Troy Arntson was joined by assistants, Nikki Odegard, Gage Vermillion, Tricia Haines, and Hailey Carpenter in running the EMVS Tiger track program.  
    •  Intramural 5th and 6th grade boys and girls Basketball - Practices and drills were held at Radley School for intramurals.  Coaches Dani Norling and Michael Kemper had great turnouts of athletes for these fun programs.

     

    The growth and expansion of the district has led to growth and expansion of these great opportunities for kids.  All these activities have really ramped up our travel and bussing, and our awesome drivers have risen to the occasion and kept things rolling along.  As we emerge from the COVID 19 pandemic, it is exciting to see kids taking part in this important part of school life and being willing to represent EastHelena at the state level.   

     

    Annual Title 1 Parent meeting

    The East Helena School District receives federal Title 1 dollars to assist students who struggle academically and are economically disadvantaged.  Each year we are required to hold a Title 1 parent meeting to review the program and accept public comment about the programs offered.  This year's meeting will be held May 31 at 3:30 PM in the EVMS library.  The public is welcome to attend.  Title 1 teachers and staff will share information about how the program supports students at the various school sites.  There will be an opportunity for questions and answers and public input.  



    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 5.13.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 4.29.22 - 21

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 5.13.22 - 28

     

    New reported cases  5.02.22 - 5.13.22 - NONE

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    4.29.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Teacher Appreciation Week.

    Today we celebrated Loyalty Day in the East Helena Schools.  In this annual observance, the schools partner with the local ladies auxiliary of the VFW to promote patriotism and service to one’s community.  Students create art or write essays on these themes and the ladies auxiliary selects the winning entries to be recognized in school assemblies.  Part of this entire celebration is a proclamation of the East Helena Mayor, Kelly Harris declaring the first Tuesday in May as “Teacher Day'' as part of the national recognition of the efforts our teachers put forth for our kids and communities.  

     

    Our schools have long observed not just “Teacher Day” but actually the entire first week in May as teacher and staff appreciation week.  Our local PTO supports these efforts as we all take a moment to recognize and appreciate the work our school staff undertake each day in caring for and educating the kids of East Helena.  Next week we’ll be serving staff treats and luncheons, ordering coffees from Leilanni’s, and generally thanking them for their hard work.       

     

    Parents can get involved too!  A quick card or note to your child’s teacher can speak volumes about your thoughts and appreciation.  Please join me in recognizing our awesome and dedicated staff next week!

     

    Sports Physicals

    As we wind down the 2021-22 school year, it’s time to think about getting prepared for 22-23.  For our high school athletes, that means completing sports physicals to be ready for fall competition.  This year St Peter’s Health is partnering with us to provide physicals for interested students on May 23, 24, and 25 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM at EHHS in the gym hallway.  These physicals are open to all EHHS Students and EVMS 8th graders.  The suggested $20 donation comes back to EHHS Athletics as a donation from St. Peters and is the most cost effective and convenient way to get this requirement completed.  Students need to complete the MHSA form and bring it with them.  You can find the form here

     

    School Elections

    Tuesday, May 3 is election day for Montana school elections.  In East Helena we do not have a mill levy request on the ballot but we do have 4 community members running for two open seats on the EHPS board.  The candidates are incumbents Scott Walter and Marcia Ellermeyer who are joined on the ballot by Juliet Hahn and Tristan Ulmer.  You should have received your mail ballot already.  They are due by 8:00 PM Tuesday the 3rd.  They can be mailed into the courthouse or dropped off at Central Office at 226 E Clinton in East Helena.  Questions about voting?  Call Kim Aarstad at 227-7700.

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 4.15.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 4.15.22 - 24

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 4.29.22 - 21

     

    New reported cases  4.19.22 - 4.29.22 - NONE

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

    4.15.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Easter Weekend - No School Monday.

    A quick review of the school calendar shows “no school” Monday , April 18.  We certainly hope all of our students and families have a great weekend and get to enjoy some time together over the holiday.

     

    Weather Check

    Oh Montana, you never fail to surprise us when it comes to weather!  The recent change from Spring back to “Winter” has shown that in Montana the one thing you can count on is that you can’t count on the weather!  With EVMS and EHHS Spring sports in full swing, the swing in temperatures has challenged our athletes, coaches, and school staff.  We appreciate your patience as we navigate the season and the uncertainties that go along with it. Ultimately we want the kids to have a good experience, while keeping safety first and foremost when it comes to difficult travel and playing weather.  Short notice cancellations and reschedules are occurring regularly.  When games are canceled in the short spring season it becomes difficult or impossible to reschedule.  Coaches usually have the latest up to date information and will communicate to parents as quickly as possible when things get changed up.

     

    COVID Update

    Tonight EVMS held the first dance in a  LONG time for our 6-8 grade students.  A big thank you is in order to the EVMS Administrative staff, the student council, and student council advisor for helping to plan the dance and make it a reality.  Mr. VanNice sent me a video from the EVMS gym this afternoon and the kids looked like they were having a great time.  This is yet one more step on our way back from COVID closures.  

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 4.15.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 4.08.22 - 17

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 4.15.22 - 24

     

    New reported cases  4.11.22 - 4.15.22 - NONE

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens


    4.08.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Month of the Military Child

    April is the Month of the Military Child.  Our military families undergo many sacrifices to support our nation and preserve our freedom.  Parents who have to leave home for drill or deployments leave behind spouses and children who have to carry on and be strong without them.  Observing April as the month of the Military Child gives us a chance to build awareness and let our military families know that the East Helena Community and EHPS appreciates their service and supports their families while they are away.  In particular we are observing April 12 as “Purple up” Day for military kids.  We are encouraging all students and staff to wear purple on Tuesday, April 12 in support of military families and kids.

     

    Spring Construction Season is Upon Us

    It’s often said that in Montana there are two seasons, Winter and construction.  With all the growth in and around our community, active construction projects and sites are all around.  From new home construction in the Highland Meadows and Vigilante subdivisions to road construction projects on Highway 12, the signs of progress and growth are all around us.  An additional project will be starting late next week that involves construction of a recreational trail across City of East Helena property, school district property and Prickly Pear Land Trust property.  The haul route of the trail materials will travel down Main Street in East Helena and the staging area will be based out of JFK park north of the pool.  I am bringing all of this up because these projects add to our community, but active construction sites and zones also pose a risk for people, especially kids who may be curious about the site, project, and machinery.  This would be a good time to chat with your children about the importance of avoiding construction sites and zones and avoiding heavy equipment.  Adults can set a positive example for our kids.  Below is some information from MDT about auto safety when passing through road construction zones.  THANKS!

     

    WORK ZONE FACTS

    • Most work zone crashes are caused by inattentive or distracted drivers.
    • Speeding, like driving too fast for conditions, is a leading cause of fatal work zone crashes.
    • More work zone crashes occurred in daytime compared to nighttime.
    • Fatal crashes occurred more often during the months of May through September.

    o   In work zone crashes, it is most often drivers or their passengers that are killed or injured.

     

    Safety is MDT’s top priority. You can do your part by remembering to slow down when approaching work zones and follow posted speed limits. Leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Keep your cool, pay attention, and plan for delays. Thank you for helping MDT and Riverside Contracting ensure that everyone is safe in the work zone!



    EHHS Administrative Changes

    Over the past 5 years our district has grown from 3 buildings and grounds to 5 and we have doubled the number of bus routes we operate.  Additionally, transportation for student activities has increased exponentially with the addition of a comprehensive high school.  Our high school enrollment is targeted to hit 580-620 students next year prompting the need for a vice principal who can focus full attention on the care and well being of our students.  With all this in mind we are making some changes to staffing.  Mr. Murgel will transition to a  full time role of Athletic Director and Operations Director for transportation and facilities.  In this capacity he will be able to focus more energy on building and supporting our athletic and student activity programs while providing administrative oversight to the facilities and transportation areas.  We will begin looking for a new EHHS Vice Principal right away.  In this full time capacity the new administrator can provide additional support to EHHS staff and students in the areas of attendance and discipline.

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 4.08.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 3.25.22 - 18

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 4.08.22 - 17

     

    New reported cases  4.04.22 - 4.08.22 - NONE

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    3.25.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  You probably didn't notice but we missed last week, so this is the 2 week update!  Enjoy the weekend!

     

    SPRING BREAK!

    Happy Spring Break Everyone!  It is hard to believe we are here already.  I am wishing all of our amazing students and awesome staff a restful, safe, and fun break from the hustle and bustle of school next week.  I am hopeful that our district families enjoy the time off, so we can all return on April 4 ready to learn!

     

    SWEATSHIRTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We had an amazing gift delivered by Montana Rail Link Employees this week.  Over 2000 hoodies for students and staff were delivered to our 5 schools.  MRL contacted us last fall about being a  recipient for their sweatshirt project.  Honestly the whole thing seemed too good to be true as they gathered sizing information by school and teacher/class to put the order together.  They completed all the artwork and had us approve it for each school prior to moving forward.  The plan was to deliver the shirts to the kids at  Christmas, but COVID and supply chain disruptions pushed the delivery back to March.  In any case, you can imagine the excitement of the kids as they received these high quality, soft and cozy sweatshirts with their school name and logo.  It was incredible to be part of, and we are super thankful to MRL and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for their generosity!!!

     

    Lead Testing

    You may have seen some articles in state media about new lead testing requirements in Montana schools.  I reported to the school board about our progress in this area at the March board meeting.  We have sampled and and received results for Eastgate, PPE, Radley, and EHHS.  Final sampling for EVMS will be completed over the break.  The sampling and testing is done for each individual fixture within the school which requires significant record keeping.  When results are returned, if any fixture tests above 5 PPB we are required to turn off the fixture until it can be replaced.  We are reviewing these results and making necessary changes as required.  At EHHS and PPE we had 0 fixtures test high for lead.   Eastgate and Radley, each had a few fixtures that tested in the warning zone and required replacing.  

     

    Spring Sports

    Spring Sports are underway at both East Helena High School and East Valley Middle School.  We are proud to be able to offer a variety of sports and activities for our students and we’re even happier about the number of kids who choose to come out and represent East Helena in this way!  Information about EHHS activities and schedules can be found at this link.  For information about EVMS Spring Sports, please contact the school office after spring break.

     

    COVID Protocol adjustment

    The board reviewed the EHPS re-opening plan for COVID 19 at the March board meeting and made some adjustments to the language to better reflect current conditions regarding the virus.  The refined language allows for more discretion by school officials when it comes to managing surges in COVID outbreaks.    Most significantly, now that vaccines are available to staff and most students who want them, and now that the Omicron surge is in the rear view mirror we will transition away from the mandatory transition to remote learning for those exposed to COVID 19 as identified  close contacts.  For future exposures, families will be notified if their child  is a close contact , and can choose their course of action regarding remote learning.  Families will be asked to monitor children for symptoms and continue to keep kids home when symptomatic or if they have tested positive for COVID 19.  Additionally, if you are awaiting test results, it is best to keep kids out until you have verification of a negative test.  

     

    EVMS Administrative Changes

    EVMS Principal, Brenda Stoltz, has submitted her retirement letter to the EHPS school board and will be leaving her post at the end of the 21-22 school year.  We are thankful to Mrs. Stoltz for her years of service to East Helena as a middle school teacher and administrator and wish her well in her future endeavors.  We are currently advertising for a  replacement and hope to make a hiring decision within the coming weeks.

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 3.25.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 3.11.22 - 8

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 3.25.22 - 18

     

    New reported cases  3.14.22 - 3.25.22

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 29 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    Community Transmission Level = LOW 

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 55% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 63% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 35% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 12%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 25%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    3.11.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  Enjoy the weekend!

     

    Spring Forward

    Love it or hate it, Daylight Savings Time is upon us yet again!  This weekend, we all need to Spring Forward one hour Saturday night into Sunday.  This time change wears on kids, teachers, and parents for a few days each year until our internal clocks adjust, so please be patient with each other next week!

     

    Vigilante Attic

    Do you have formal attire items you can donate to the Vigilante Attic?  See below from EHHS teachers:  

     

    We are starting the Vigilante Attic formal closet-please bring in your clean gently worn prom/formal dresses and ties to donate to our closet. Donations can be given to Ms. Canright or Mrs. Schoenfeld or dropped off at East Helena High School during school hours  Please be aware that these dresses, etc will not be returned to you and are considered part of the Attic after donation.  Let's give those formals new life. Donations can be taken at any time but our prom this year is March 19th.

    Thanks!  We are East Helena 227



    Early Release and Staff Wellness

    Monday, March 14 is the 6th early release day of the school year.  Students will be released at 1:30 PM Monday afternoon to enable staff to complete training and professional work.  

     

    If you’ve been following the news this past year, you are likely aware of the news reports about increasing stress and burn out among school staff across the nation.  The reasons for this are varied, but most relate back to the uncertainty of the pandemic and its effects on society.   In light of this, and our ongoing efforts to support mental health in the community, we are setting aside this early release day for a staff “wellness fair.” On Monday, all staff will have the opportunity to participate in training and activities related to overall health and well being.  I am hopeful that setting aside time for staff health and wellbeing will set us up for a positive Spring as we roll towards the end of the school year.  

     

    Lastly regarding early releases, it was brought up through the Strategic Planning survey conducted by the board that traffic on early out days was especially troublesome given the fact that all 5 schools dismiss at the same time and about 350 high school drivers are on Valley Drive along with all the parents wanting to pick up kids at PPE, Radley and EVMS.  This is one of those unanticipated consequences of growth and one that we had not dealt with until this year as the younger age of high schoolers and the pandemic reduced the impact in 2020-21.  We hear and understand the concern and will work to find a better solution for next year in our planning.  We certainly appreciate this input from members of our EH community.

     

    1889

    We want to give a SHOUT OUT to Helena’s 1889 Coffee House.  The fine folks at 1889 provided snacks and coffee for ALL DISTRICT SCHOOLS this week!  The refreshments were much appreciated by staff.

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 3.11.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 3.04.22 - 9

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 3.11.22 - 8

     

    **NO COVID CASES THIS WEEK**

     

    New reported cases  3.07.22 - 3.11.22

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 63% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 35% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 12%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 25%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

    Mr Rispens

    3.04.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  Enjoy the weekend!

     

    Strategic Planning

    Your EHPS School Board Trustees are invested in the education of students in our community.  Part of their responsibility lies in making long range plans that guide district administration and staff in their day to day planning and decision making.  The process is often referred to as “Strategic Planning” and endeavors to see ahead into the 5, 10, 15, and 20 year horizon and chart a course for district priorities. As representatives of the community, trustees are interested in the view and opinions of their constituents.  We set out to gather input from the community during our community survey in December of 2021.  285 responses were gathered through the survey process giving us a good view into the thoughts and opinions of folks throughout East Helena.  

     

    The board will meet on Monday, March 7 to review those survey results and take the next steps in incorporating that input into the revised and updated strategic plan.  The meeting will be held in the East Valley Middle School library.  There is also an option to attend virtually via ZOOM.

     

    You can find the agenda and Zoom link here.

     

    The community survey results are at this link.

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 3.04.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 2.25.22 - 43

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 3.04.22 - 9

     

    New reported cases  2.28.22 - 3.4.22

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 8 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 63% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 34% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 15%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 25%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.25.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  Enjoy the weekend!

     

    The “227”

    Back in the Day when I was a  kid, nobody had CELL phones.  We all had landlines. All landlines had a prefix number that indicated the town or geographical area in which the line was located.  Most if not all of East Helena numbers started with “227”.  To this day our school phone numbers maintain the “227” prefix!  Over the years, “227” became a number that indicated  belonging in East Helena, and kids growing up in East Helena were proud to note to their friends that they were from “the 227”.  Even more recently, February 27 (2/27) has become infamous in local social media circles for being a day of pride for those of us in ”the 227.”

     

    As we grow into our new high school, we are being mindful of where we have come from.  We are looking to establish traditions that will carry us forward while never losing sight of who we are as a community.  East Helena has a long history that for years was intertwined with the ASARCO Smelter.  Yet students in our schools nowadays were born after the stacks came down, and have no meaningful memory of our town’s rich history.  East Helena is tough. We are known for hard work and tenacity.  We want to carry those values forward to the next generation.

     

    In light of all this, your EHPS Trustees passed “Resolution 227” at their February meeting.  The resolution declares Feb 27 as East Helena Heritage Day in the EH Schools and directs staff to design and teach lessons and plan activities on that day that will instill a sense of history and civic pride in our kids.  This year, February 27 falls on a  Sunday, so most classrooms will observe EH Heritage Day today or Monday. Parents can support by sharing their own knowledge about East Helena’s past or visiting with their kids about the lessons learned at school about East Helena. We hope to grow and develop this tradition with community partnerships over time.

     

    Happy 227 Day everyone! 

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 2.25.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 2.18.22 - 82

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 2.25.22 - 43

     

    **0 New Cases this week!!!**

     

    New reported cases  2/22 - 2/25

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 7 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 63% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 34% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 10%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 24%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.18.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest (short and sweet) update from your superintendent.  Enjoy the 3 day weekend (No School Monday)

     

    Staff Appreciation (SRO)

    Last week I mentioned appreciation observances for school counselors and paraprofessionals.  I missed National SRO day which occurred this past week.  In East Helena we have an AWESOME SRO through our partnership with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office.  Deputy Jeff Stoltz serves all 5 schools and provides an invaluable service to our students and staff in his capacity as School Resource Officer.  Thanks for all you do Officer Stoltz!!!

     

    2022-23 School Calendar

    At their regular board meeting Monday night, the EHPS School Board adopted the official school calendar for the 2022-23 school year.  While all the calendar details are not yet finalized, the attendance days are set and many families desire to have this information early for their advance planning.  You can find the calendar at this link.

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 2.11.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 2.11.22 - 191

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 2.18.22 - 82

     

    New reported cases  2/14 - 2/18

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 7 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 41 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 62% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 34% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 10%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 24%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.11.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Staff Appreciation (Counselors and paraprofessionals)

    All of your EHPS School staff are working hard to provide a quality educational experience for East Helena kids in a caring environment.  This past week, we observed School Counselor Appreciation Week, and next week is Paraprofessional Appreciation Week in Montana.   We want to take a moment to recognize these folks who provide support to the classroom teachers and our students in a variety of ways.   They are often the “unsung heroes” of most schools, so it’s very appropriate to set aside some time to recognize their efforts and contributions to our school system.  Our school staff will be making efforts to make sure these folks know their work is appreciated and valued.  Parents can get involved too.  Sometimes  a simple thank you note can go miles towards making someone feel appreciated and acknowledged.  These can be dropped off at school offices or emailed into the school secretaries who will distribute them to the right people.  

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 2.11.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 2.04.22 - 953

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 2.04.22 - 191

     

    New reported cases  2/07 - 2/11

    EG cases = 1 Students; 1 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 14 Students; 9 Staff

    PPE Cases = 11 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 6 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 39 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 62% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 34% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 9%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 24%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.04.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Winter Doldrums

    It’s February, Groundhog’s Day, Parent-Teacher Conferences, 100th day of school etc etc.  We have officially hit “mid-winter.”  The excitement of the Holiday Season has passed and Spring Break and warm weather seem way off in the distant future.  As a lifelong Montanan, I can honestly say that I probably don’t have a “favorite” season.  They are all so special and unique in our amazing state.    But I am fortunate in that I do have an affinity for winter, which often feels like the LONGEST season in Montana!  I grew up snowmobiling and skiing and lately have taken up x-country skiing and snowshoeing as ways to get outside and enjoy the beauty of winter.   As a lifelong Montanan, I am also aware that many others don’t feel so fondly about the darker months of the year.  Seasonal depression is a real thing for many in our state and something to be aware of as we look for ways to support and care for others around us.  

     

    In the schools, the winter months can feel like a long slog for students and teachers alike.  We continue to pay attention to mental health concerns of our school population with screening and support.  Parents can help by being aware of this phenomenon and letting teachers or school counselors know if they have concerns about their children.   Changes in mood, behavior, or friends are often warning signs and should not be ignored.    If you have concerns, please reach out.  In the meantime, spread a little cheer with words of support and care for the kids of East Helena and the dedicated teachers who are leading us forward in making this strange and crazy school year a success!

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 2.04.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 1.20.22 - 833

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 2.04.22 - 953

     

    New reported cases  1/22 - 2/04

    EG cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 3 Students; 1 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 13 Students; 8 Staff

    PPE Cases = 10 Students; 7 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 27 Student; 6 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 20 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 39 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 62% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 34% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 66%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 47%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 9%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 23%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    1.20.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Out of the Office

    My wife and I will be taking a trip out of the area, so there will not be a Supt update tomorrow or next Friday.  This update will share the COVID update as of TODAY and then we’ll give another update on or around Feb 1.  

     

    Should a transition to remote learning for an entire school be necessary while I am gone, building administrators will make that decision in consult with your school board chairman.  The information will be communicated with parents via our Powerschool messaging system.  Currently we are doing ok with staffing and that is largely a result of creative thinking on the part of your school principals, flexibility on the part of your teaching and paraprofessional staff, and parents working with us to keep COVID affected students home until they are safe to be around others.  THANKS are in order to everyone for the efforts being made to keep folks safe and keep schools open.  It is MUCH appreciated!!!!  

     

    Lastly I wanted parents to be aware that given the current Omicron surge, we have asked teachers to move as many of their Parent-Teacher conferences to ZOOM, MEET, or good old fashioned telephone calls as possible.  Although we LOVE meeting our families in person for these times, it seems like it would be a good step in keeping everyone safe to try and do most conferences remotely this time around.  Thanks for understanding.    

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 1.20.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 1.14.22 - 844

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 1.20.22 - 833

     

    New reported cases this week 1/18 - 1/20

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 4 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 11 Students; 8 Staff

    PPE Cases = 10 Students; 5 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 24 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 18 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 38 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 53% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 62% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 32% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 60%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 46%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 6%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 22%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    1.14.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Friday Ski Trips

    We are excited to announce the return of our Friday Night Ski Trips to great Divide Ski Area for night skiing.  The trips are scheduled to begin (Today) Friday, Jan 14.  Friday ski trips are open to EVMS and EHHS Students.  Sign up information will be available to students at their school.  

     

    What’s Up with COVID?  Are schools closing?

    Rumors are rampant about school closures.  Around the state, COVID Driven school closures are causing chaos and confusion as Omicron continues it’s spread.  Many districts are recording a record number of COVID infections.  Like other districts, EHPS is dealing with staffing shortages caused by infection and contact with COVID but so far has managed to continue with onsite learning.  It is important to keep in mind that when schools “close,” teaching and learning does not stop.  We simply transition to remote learning which can complicate things for staff, students, parents etc.  Staff will continue teaching their classes and interacting with their students in the digital environment during any COVID Induced closure.  

     

    At EHPS, we continue to monitor staffing information on a daily and hourly basis.  Our current plan in this arena would be to first consider reducing or eliminating intervention classes from the schedule as much as possible which would free up intervention personnel to assist in other areas/classrooms.  Our next step may be to consider transitioning EHHS and possibly EVMS to remote learning and transferring support staff from the  remote learning schools to the on-site schools (EG, PPE and Radley) to continue operations for our youngest students.  

     

    With this in mind, we are asking for your continued cooperation and support.  Families should be prepared for students to be sent home for up to 5 days in the coming weeks if there is increased spread in the community. If the news predictions are anywhere close to accurate, the Omicron surge will come and go quickly and we can once again reevaluate the situation.  Keeping kids home when sick, exposed to COVID, or awaiting COVID test results is the biggest help families can give schools and each other.  

     

    (Repeated item) summary of revised school protocols is below:

     

    Student who tested positive for COVID: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • After 5 days, if the student has NO symptoms or symptoms have resolved, they may return to school (this would be a return date on Day 6) 
    • It is recommend that the student wear a mask around others from day 6 to day 10 while in school
    • School nurses have the discretion to send students home from Day 6-10 if we notice their symptoms have not resolved and they should not be in school. 
    • After day 10, students are clear to be here regardless if they still are showing mild symptoms or not. 

    Student who have a household member who tested positive: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • If possible, test on or after day 5 (this is not required in order to return but we highly recommend it since they live with someone who tested positive)
    • After day 5, if they are symptom free, they may return to school
    • It is recommend the student wears a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend that parents and teachers watch for symptoms closely after the student returns to school

    School close contacts (sent home by the school) - regardless of vaccine status:

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning from the last known exposure date
    • We will still offer testing on day 5 but it is not required to return
    • After day 5, if the student is symptom free, they may return to school 
    • It is recommend the student wear a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend teachers and parents watch for symptoms closely from day 6 to day 10 after the student returns to school 

     

    We will still offer testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Overall, the general rule is stay home for 5 days (Day 1 is the first day AFTER symptoms or the positive test. - Students will be returning on Day 6 if they are symptom free). 

     

    How Can Parents help?

    • Vaccination - Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if the vaccine is right for your family.  There is a FREE vaccine clinic at EHHS on January 15. 
    • Keep kids home when sick, exposed, or awaiting test results
    • Consider signing up to be a sub. Anyone can be a sub if they have a high school diploma and a  clean background check.  Even if you have limited availability, you may be the difference between keeping schools open or not.  Across the nation, parents are stepping in to help out on a  temporary basis in this way.  You need to fill out a district application to sub.  Someone will call you to arrange the background check once your application is completed. 
    • Be patient -While the pandemic is continuing on longer than ANYONE wanted, we are all dealing with it’s related stress and disruptions in different ways at the same time.  Angry outbursts or attacks on school staff or other community members do not help in any way.  



    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  The numbers below indicate cases that came into the school and caused a contact tracing situation.   In some cases a student or staff member may have COVID but NOT be included in our count if the case was caught early and did not come into the school setting.   Here is the current update as of 1.14.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 1.7.22 - 546

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 1.14.22 - 844

     

    New reported cases this week 1/7 - 1/14

    EG cases = 1 Students; 2 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 4 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 3 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 1

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 11 Students; 8 Staff

    PPE Cases = 10 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 24 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 14 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 36 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 5

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 53% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 61% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 32% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 60%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 46%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 5%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 21%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    1.12.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is a special  update from your superintendent.  



    Symptomatic Students

    Parents, we need your help.  The quick rise in COVID cases combined with a local outbreak of flu and strep has our school nurses and secretaries jumping.  Please do not send students to school if they have any COVID/flu/strep symptoms.  I myself tested positive for COVID today with no known exposure and being fully vaccinated and boosted. 

     

    School support staff are working hard to keep school open and keep kids and teachers safe and healthy.  A COVID outbreak among staff could cause an emergency remote learning situation which is something we would all like to avoid.  

     

    This link takes you to the cdc page regarding symptoms of COVID 19.

     

    If the school calls with a  concern about your symptomatic child, please come pick them up as soon as possible.  While we realize this can be disruptive to peoples’ work schedules, a 5-10 day remote learning session will be disruptive to the entire community.  

     

    ***Vaccine Clinic Saturday Jan 15***  There are still some appointments left

    With the onset of Omicron, local health authorities received a ton of phone calls about vaccines and offered to bring an additional vaccine clinic to East Helena January 15.  The clinic will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM at EHHS and will be offering shots to all interested parties.  First shot, second shot, and boosters will be available to individuals age 12 and up.  Appointments are required.  

     

    You can make your appointment at this link.

     

    (Repeated info) - COVID Protocols in light of new variant and CDC Guidance

    If you are confused by the latest COVID isolation guidance from the CDC you’re not alone.  We have worked this week to understand the new advice and adjust our practices accordingly.  The local health department has provided an infographic that clarifies the new rules quite well.  

     

    You can find the infographic for individuals who are COVID positive at this link.

     

    You can find the infographic for those who are close contacts at this link.

     

    Please remember  that in Montana it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of COVID 19 vaccine status.  In light of that, all students who are identified as close contacts to a  positive case, are treated according to the guidance for unvaccinated individuals.  We fully understand that parents and teachers are frustrated by repeated temporary assignments to remote learning, and now that the vaccine is available to 5-11 year olds, we are looking forward to the day when we can forgo that practice.  However in light of the unknowns about the impending Omicron surge (which has shown itself to apparently be quite vaccine resistant), we are maintaining the practice until we know more about spread and severity.  The good news is that the new guidance shortens the amount of time to 5 days.  It is also important to note that individuals who return after day 5 are recommended to wear a mask when around others for days 6-10.  It is also important to note that anyone who can prove a positive COVID test and recovery within the past 90 days does not have to follow these guidelines. 

     

    Some parents have also asked about the CDC’s new “test to stay” protocols for schools.  That guidance requires masks for students who are exposed and test to stay in school.  Since we operate in a  “mask optional”, personal responsibility environment, we are not taking up the “test to stay” program.  

     

    We will, however, continue to offer rapid testing for students who are close contacts if parents request it. 

     

    Our biggest concern with Omicron is the prospect of staffing shortages due to COVID, which could cause whole class, grade level, or  school transition to remote learning for a temporary period.  Our substitute list is not long and staffing continues to be a concern for organizations and businesses around the country.  We know that families have been put under stress by the remote learning assignments, but our schools have remained on the low end of covid cases throughout the year with the practice, and we want to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible.  

     

    With this in mind, we are asking for your continued cooperation and support.  Families should be prepared for students to be sent home for up to 5 days in the coming weeks if there is increased spread in the community. If the news predictions are anywhere close to accurate, the Omicron surge will come and go quickly and we can once again reevaluate the situation.  Keeping kids home when sick, exposed to COVID, or awaiting COVID test results is the biggest help families can give schools and each other.  

     

    A summary of school protocols is below:

     

    Student who tested positive for COVID: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • After 5 days, if the student has NO symptoms or symptoms have resolved, they may return to school (this would be a return date on Day 6) 
    • It is recommend that the student wear a mask around others from day 6 to day 10 while in school
    • School nurses have the discretion to send students home from Day 6-10 if we notice their symptoms have not resolved and they should not be in school. 
    • After day 10, students are clear to be here regardless if they still are showing mild symptoms or not. 

    Student who have a household member who tested positive: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • If possible, test on or after day 5 (this is not required in order to return but we highly recommend it since they live with someone who tested positive)
    • After day 5, if they are symptom free, they may return to school
    • It is recommend the student wears a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend that parents and teachers watch for symptoms closely after the student returns to school

    School close contacts (sent home by the school) - regardless of vaccine status:

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning from the last known exposure date
    • We will still offer testing on day 5 but it is not required to return
    • After day 5, if the student is symptom free, they may return to school 
    • It is recommend the student wear a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend teachers and parents watch for symptoms closely from day 6 to day 10 after the student returns to school 

     

    We will still offer testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Overall, the general rule is stay home for 5 days (returning on Day 6). 

     

    How Can Parents help?

    • Vaccination - Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if the vaccine is right for your family.  There is a FREE vaccine clinic at EHHS on January 15. 
    • Keep kids home when sick, exposed, or awaiting test results
    • Consider signing up to be a sub. Anyone can be a sub if they have a high school diploma and a  clean background check.  Even if you have limited availability, you may be the difference between keeping schools open or not.  Across the nation, parents are stepping in to help out on a  temporary basis in this way.  You need to fill out a district application to sub.  Someone will call you to arrange the background check once your application is completed. 
    • Be patient -While the pandemic is continuing on longer than ANYONE wanted, we are all dealing with it’s related stress and disruptions in different ways at the same time.  Angry outbursts or attacks on school staff or other community members do not help in any way.  




    Mr Rispens

     

    1.11.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Vaccine Clinic Saturday Jan 15

    The East Helena Vaccine Clinic will be held Saturday, January 15 at East Helena High School.  The clinic will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM at EHHS and will be offering shots to all interested parties.  First shot, second shot, and boosters will be available to individuals age 12 and up.  The clinic will not have shots for those age 5-11 due to the different dosage for that age group.   

     

    The clinic is open to anyone who needs a vaccine or booster.

     

    Appointments are required.  

     

    The link below takes you directly to the appointment web site:

     

    https://app.waitwhile.com/book/lcphclinics2021

     

    1.7.22

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    School Board Strategic Planning Survey - Your input is needed (Last Chance -Survey closes Monday, Jan 10)!!

    Your EHPS School Board works hard to provide oversight and direction for the future of our public schools.  Part of their commitment to this process is writing and updating an overall strategic plan for the district.  As part of this process they need your input and support.  The board has put together a short survey for parents, staff, community members, and students to gauge their ideas about the district and gather stakeholder input.  Please take a moment to share your perspective.  

     

    You can find the survey at this link.

     

    Update on HB 279 - tax credit donation law

    The $1,000,000 cap for donations to public schools was met within 5 minutes of opening the portal Monday morning.  So the program is finished for this year.  Next year the cap goes to $2,000,000.  People can donate any amount they want and take that amount as a direct credit from their state income tax bill.  Additionally, you can roll the credit for 3 years if you don’t need to utilize the full amount.  Clearly in this first year, the program benefitted a select few school districts with wealthy donors giving large sums to offset their tax bills.  But as the cap grows, more regular Montanas will be able to take advantage of this unique program.

     

    Friday Ski Trips

    We are excited to announce the return of our Friday Night Ski Trips to great Divide Ski Area for night skiing.  The trips are scheduled to begin Friday, Jan 14.  Friday ski trips are open to EVMS and EHHS Students.  Sign up information will be available to students at their school.  

     

    Vaccine Clinic Saturday, Jan 15

    With the onset of Omicron, local health authorities received a ton of phone calls about vaccines and offered to bring an additional vaccine clinic to East Helena January 15.  The clinic will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM at EHHS and will be offering shots to all interested parties.  First shot, second shot, and boosters for individuals 12 and over will be available.  Appointments will be required.  We will share the appointment information as soon as it becomes available.  

     

    COVID Protocols in light of new variant and CDC Guidance

    If you are confused by the latest COVID isolation guidance from the CDC you’re not alone.  We have worked this week to understand the new advice and adjust our practices accordingly.  The local health department has provided an infographic that clarifies the new rules quite well.  

     

    You can find the infographic for individuals who are COVID positive at this link.

     

    You can find the infographic for those who are close contacts at this link.

     

    Please remember  that in Montana it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of COVID 19 vaccine status.  In light of that, all students who are identified as close contacts to a  positive case, are treated according to the guidance for unvaccinated individuals.  We fully understand that parents and teachers are frustrated by repeated temporary assignments to remote learning, and now that the vaccine is available to 5-11 year olds, we are looking forward to the day when we can forgo that practice.  However in light of the unknowns about the impending Omicron surge (which has shown itself to apparently be quite vaccine resistant), we are maintaining the practice until we know more about spread and severity.  The good news is that the new guidance shortens the amount of time to 5 days.  It is also important to note that individuals who return after day 5 are recommended to wear a mask when around others for days 6-10.  It is also important to note that anyone who can prove a positive COVID test and recovery within the past 90 days does not have to follow these guidelines. 

     

    Some parents have also asked about the CDC’s new “test to stay” protocols for schools.  That guidance requires masks for students who are exposed and test to stay in school.  Since we operate in a  “mask optional”, personal responsibility environment, we are not taking up the “test to stay” program.  

     

    We will, however, continue to offer rapid testing for students who are close contacts if parents request it. 

     

    Our biggest concern with Omicron is the prospect of staffing shortages due to COVID, which could cause whole class, grade level, or  school transition to remote learning for a temporary period.  Our substitute list is not long and staffing continues to be a concern for organizations and businesses around the country.  We know that families have been put under stress by the remote learning assignments, but our schools have remained on the low end of covid cases throughout the year with the practice, and we want to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible.  

     

    With this in mind, we are asking for your continued cooperation and support.  Families should be prepared for students to be sent home for up to 5 days in the coming weeks if there is increased spread in the community. If the news predictions are anywhere close to accurate, the Omicron surge will come and go quickly and we can once again reevaluate the situation.  Keeping kids home when sick, exposed to COVID, or awaiting COVID test results is the biggest help families can give schools and each other.  

     

    A summary of school protocols is below:

     

    Student who tested positive for COVID: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • After 5 days, if the student has NO symptoms or symptoms have resolved, they may return to school (this would be a return date on Day 6) 
    • It is recommend that the student wear a mask around others from day 6 to day 10 while in school
    • School nurses have the discretion to send students home from Day 6-10 if we notice their symptoms have not resolved and they should not be in school. 
    • After day 10, students are clear to be here regardless if they still are showing mild symptoms or not. 

    Student who have a household member who tested positive: 

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning 
    • If possible, test on or after day 5 (this is not required in order to return but we highly recommend it since they live with someone who tested positive)
    • After day 5, if they are symptom free, they may return to school
    • It is recommend the student wears a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend that parents and teachers watch for symptoms closely after the student returns to school

    School close contacts (sent home by the school) - regardless of vaccine status:

    • Stay home for 5 days on temporary remote learning from the last known exposure date
    • We will still offer testing on day 5 but it is not required to return
    • After day 5, if the student is symptom free, they may return to school 
    • It is recommend the student wear a mask from day 6 to day 10
    • We recommend teachers and parents watch for symptoms closely from day 6 to day 10 after the student returns to school 

     

    We will still offer testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Overall, the general rule is stay home for 5 days (returning on Day 6). 

     

    How Can Parents help?

    • Vaccination - Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if the vaccine is right for your family.  There is a FREE vaccine clinic at EHHS on January 15. 
    • Keep kids home when sick, exposed, or awaiting test results
    • Consider signing up to be a sub. Anyone can be a sub if they have a high school diploma and a  clean background check.  Even if you have limited availability, you may be the difference between keeping schools open or not.  Across the nation, parents are stepping in to help out on a  temporary basis in this way.  You need to fill out a district application to sub.  Someone will call you to arrange the background check once your application is completed. 
    • Be patient -While the pandemic is continuing on longer than ANYONE wanted, we are all dealing with it’s related stress and disruptions in different ways at the same time.  Angry outbursts or attacks on school staff or other community members do not help in any way.  



    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 1.7.22: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 12.17.21 - 189

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 1.7.22 - 546

     

    New reported cases this week 1/3 - 1/7

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this school year

    EG cases = 10 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 9 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 19 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 13 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 33 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 53% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 61% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents boosted - 31% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 60%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated (2 shots) - 46%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 boosted - 4%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 20%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

     

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    12.17.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Happy Holidays to all of our EHPS families!

    I spent as much time in the schools Friday as I possibly could.  This was partly driven by the TIK TOK Threats that were national news this week, but also because the energy and excitement of the holiday break is a fun part of the school calendar, and I wanted to be around the kids and teachers and soak it all up.  I visited kids in classrooms and attended the holiday assembly at EHHS.  It is so amazing to be part of the East Helena Public Schools and all the great things going on.  Our students are really the best and their teachers are incredibly wonderful! 

     

    I hope that all of our EHPS families are able to take advantage of this special time to enjoy together with family and friends.  On behalf of the entire EHPS staff, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  See you next year!  Enjoy the Break!

     

    Special THANK YOU to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office

    By now many of you have met our AWESOME School Resource Office, Jeff Stoltz.  Deputy Stoltz works in our schools as part of a cooperative grant we are participating in with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office. Before anything hit the news about the national TIK TOK threat of violence to school children yesterday, Jeff was keeping us informed of what was going on.  Behind the scenes, our local law enforcement agencies partner together and share resources to work cooperatively to keep our kids safe by staying on top of developments, assessing threats, and informing school officials.  

     

    Many students stayed home today due to concerns about the TIK TOK threats, and we understand the concerns of parents who made this choice.  But having Jeff in our schools provides an added layer of support that helps us evaluate real and perceived threats which enables us to safely operate our schools.

     

    Today, we hosted several uniformed and plain clothed law enforcement officers in our schools and around our school community.  Jeff helped make the arrangements to have an enhanced security presence for the kids.  We thank these officers and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's office for their continued support as we navigate these unusual times. 

     

    School Board Strategic Planning Survey - Your input is needed!!

    Your EHPS School Board works hard to provide oversight and direction for the future of our public schools.  Part of their commitment to this process is writing and updating an overall strategic plan for the district.  As part of this process they need your input and support.  The board has put together a short survey for parents, staff, community members, and students to gauge their ideas about the district and gather stakeholder input.  Please take a moment to share your perspective.  

     

    You can find the survey at this link.

     

    (Repeated Item) House Bill 279 - -Tax Credit for school donations

    The 2021 legislature expanded the educational tax credit laws to include public schools. Starting in 2022, individuals and businesses can take a dollar for dollar tax credit on the state income taxes for donations to public school innovative programs.  The credit can be anywhere between $1 and $200,000 and can be extended for 3 years.  There is a statewide total limit of $1,000,000 for the 2022 tax year.  Once that limit is reached, individuals and businesses will have to wait until 2023 to take advantage of this opportunity.  The Department of  Revenue is encouraging folks to take advantage of the credit early in the year to ensure the annual limit is not reached before you make your donation.  If you have questions, shoot me a quick email or check out the linked documents below.

     

    You can find a letter about this new tax credit on our website at this link.

     

    The link below takes you to the MT Dept of Revenue guidance document.

     

    https://mtrevenue.gov/mdocs-posts/tax-credits-for-qualified-education-contributions-guide/

     

    COVID Update

    2 weeks in a row!!!   0 COVID cases to report!

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.23.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 12.10.21 - 313

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 12.17.21 - 189

     

    New reported cases this week 12/13 - 12/17

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 10 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 19 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 13 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 52% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 60% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 60%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 45%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 13%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    12.10.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    House Bill 279 - -Tax Credit for school donations

    The 2021 legislature expanded the educational tax credit laws to include public schools. Starting in 2022, individuals and businesses can take a dollar for dollar tax credit on the state income taxes for donations to public school innovative programs.  The donation and credit can be anywhere between $1 and $200,000 and can be extended for 3 years.  There is a statewide total limit of $1,000,000 for the 2022 tax year.  Once that limit is reached, individuals and businesses will have to wait until 2023 to take advantage of this opportunity.  The Department of  Revenue is encouraging folks to take advantage of the credit early in the year to ensure the annual limit is not reached before you make your donation.  If you have questions, shoot me a quick email or check out the linked documents below.

     

    You can find a letter about this new tax credit on our website at this link.

     

    The link below takes you to the MT Dept of Revenue guidance document.

     

    https://mtrevenue.gov/mdocs-posts/tax-credits-for-qualified-education-contributions-guide/

     

    Holiday Concert and Program Changes (Repeated item)

    COVID adjustments and protocol continue to cause last minute changes to school programming.  You may notice changes in  your child’s holiday program vs what was originally published in the school calendar.  Please refer to your child’s school office for accurate and up to date information about program and concert scheduling changes.

     

    COVID Update

    I am happy to let everyone know that this is the first week since school started in August that we have 0 COVID cases to report!

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.23.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 12.03.21 - 490

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 12.10.21 - 313 

     

    New reported cases this week 12/06 - 12/10

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 10 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 19 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 13 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 51% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 59% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 59%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 45%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 4%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    12.03.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Vaccine Clinic Hours

    The Second Dose COVID Vaccine clinic for 5-11 year olds will be held December 4 at EHHS. Please come at the same time as your 1st dose appointment.   Also note that the clinic hours have been shortened since it was not full, and it will now end at 3:00 PM.  If your 1st dose appointment was after 3:00 PM, you can walk in at any time between 9 AM and 3 PM to receive your second dose.  Anyone unable to make it for their second dose Saturday, can also drop in to the second dose clinic, Saturday, Dec 11 at Bryant school in Helena between 9 AM and 2 PM.  Thanks!

     

    **Important note**, if you missed the first dose clinic, it’s possible your child could receive their first dose tomorrow at EHHS on a  drop in basis between 9 AM and 3 PM.  Stop by the school to visit with clinic staff for details.  

     

    Holiday Concert and Program Changes

    COVID adjustments and protocol continue to cause last minute changes to school programming.  You may notice changes in  your child’s holiday program vs what was originally published in the school calendar.  Please refer to your child’s school office for accurate and up to date information about program and concert scheduling changes.

     

    Dec 6 Early Release and Staff Training

    The East Helena Schools schedules early release days throughout the year to provide time for staff training.  THe next early release day is Monday, December 6.  Students will be dismissed at 1:30 PM and buses will run their regular afternoon routes at the earlier time.  Teachers and paras will utilize this time to receive training about Montana’s Indian Education for All program that infuses instruction related to the unique cultural heritage of natvie people within our state.  

     

    Mental Health Screening and Suicide Awareness

    It’s no secret that suicide awareness and studnet mental health is of concern throughout America, especially during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.  EHPS  has developed a series of training and practices to assist students and families and identify kids who may be in need of additional support.  One key piece of this is our mental health screening that is conducted at school with our middle and high school age students.  We started the process before Thanksgiving and are continuing in December and january.  You will receive a notice from the school before your child is screened and you will have the option to opt your child out of the screening if you choose.  If you have questions about the screening, please shoot me a note or contact your child’s school counselor or principal.

     

    Angel Fund Auction (Repeated Item)

    The Angel Fund helps support students in the East Helena Public Schools.  Please consider supporting this worthy cause that helps kids across our area.

     

    The Angel Fund's Annual On Broadway Fundraiser & On-line Auction

     

    Join us at On Broadway for a night of fine food and fun to help raise money for students throughout Helena.  Dine in, order takeout or buy gift certificates between 5:00 and 9:30 PM on Monday, December 6th.  On Broadway will donate 50% of food proceeds to The Angel Fund!  To view a list of available food menu items or to contact On Broadway, please call 443-1929 or visit their website:  https://www.onbroadwayinhelena.com. 

     

    The on-line auction to help support The Angel Fund's mission in Helena begins TODAY and will conclude Monday, December 6th at 9:00 PM.  To view the amazing artwork and generously donated auction items on-line, please go to our Bidding Owl site:   https://www.biddingowl.com/AngelFund.   Start bidding NOW!  You can set up your account to notify you by email or text if you have been outbid.  You can also see items in-person the night of our On Broadway event, Monday, December 6th.

     

    It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

    1. Log in to view auction items:  https://www.biddingowl.com/AngelFund 
    2. Create a bidding account in one minute & start bidding
    3. Enjoy a fabulous On Broadway dinner



    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.23.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 11.23.21 - 564

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 12.03.21 - 490 

     

    New reported cases this week 11/29 - 12/03

    EG cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 10 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 19 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 13 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 51% 

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 58% 

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 44%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 5-11 fully vaccinated - 0%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    11.23.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Angel Fund Auction

    The Angel Fund helps support students in the East Helena Public Schools.  Please consider supporting this worthy cause that helps kids across our area.

     

    The Angel Fund's Annual On Broadway Fundraiser & On-line Auction

     

    Join us at On Broadway for a night of fine food and fun to help raise money for students throughout Helena.  Dine in, order takeout or buy gift certificates between 5:00 and 9:30 PM on Monday, December 6th.  On Broadway will donate 50% of food proceeds to The Angel Fund!  To view a list of available food menu items or to contact On Broadway, please call 443-1929 or visit their website:  https://www.onbroadwayinhelena.com. 

     

    The on-line auction to help support The Angel Fund's mission in Helena begins TODAY and will conclude Monday, December 6th at 9:00 PM.  To view the amazing artwork and generously donated auction items on-line, please go to our Bidding Owl site:   https://www.biddingowl.com/AngelFund.   Start bidding NOW!  You can set up your account to notify you by email or text if you have been outbid.  You can also see items in-person the night of our On Broadway event, Monday, December 6th.

     

    It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

    1. Log in to view auction items:  https://www.biddingowl.com/AngelFund 
    2. Create a bidding account in one minute & start bidding
    3. Enjoy a fabulous On Broadway dinner

     

    East Helena Christmas Stroll (Repeated from last Friday)

    Believe it or not, it’s the holiday season, and the East Helena Christmas Stroll is right around the corner.  The stroll became an East Helena Staple, and although it took a COVID break in 2020, it’s back and better than ever this year.  For COVID considerations, many of the stroll activities are outdoors.  To allow for more distance for the indoor activities, we are moving the entertainment events to the Radley school gym giving more room for spectators.  This in turn provides more room for the crafters and shoppers over at City Hall.  The stroll will happen on Main Street in East Helena December 2 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM and all are welcome to come spread some holiday cheer.  

     

    Radley School performances will occur at:

    • 6:00 PM - Tiernan Irish Dancers
    • 6:45 PM - East Helena Schools Choir
    • 7:30 PM - East Helena SChools Jazz Bands

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.23.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 11.19.21 - 601

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County TODAY 11.23.21 - 564 

     

    New reported cases this week 11/22 - 11/23

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 9 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 19 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 13 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 50% (Adjusted to include 5-11 year olds as “eligible”)

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 64% (Not yet adjusted to include 5-11 year olds as “eligible”)

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 44%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    11.19.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

    Thanksgiving Break

    There are just two days of school next week, Monday and Tuesday November 22 and 23.  Students and staff will have a break Weds - Fri to allow time for Thanksgiving gatherings and travel.  On Behalf of all EHPS teachers and staff,  I want all of our families to know that we wish you a restful and relaxing time to contemplate the things in life we’re thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

    East Helena Christmas Stroll

    Believe it or not, it’s the holiday season, and the East Helena Christmas Stroll is right around the corner.  The stroll became an East Helena Staple, and although it took a COVID break in 2020, it’s back and better than ever this year.  For COVID considerations, many of the stroll activities are outdoors.  To allow for more distance for the indoor activities, we are moving the entertainment events to the Radley school gym giving more room for spectators.  This in turn provides more room for the crafters and shoppers over at City Hall.  The stroll will happen on Main Street in East Helena December 2 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM and all are welcome to come spread some holiday cheer.  

    Radley School performances will occur at:

    • 6:00 PM - Tiernan Irish Dancers
    • 6:45 PM - East Helena Schools Choir
    • 7:30 PM - East Helena SChools Jazz Bands

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.19.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 11.12.21 - 749

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday 11.19.21 - 601

    New reported cases this week 11/15 - 11/19

    EG cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 3 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 9 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 17 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 12 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 50% (Adjusted to include 5-11 year olds as “eligible”)

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 64% (Not yet adjusted to include 5-11 year olds as “eligible”)

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 56%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 44%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 5 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

    Mr Rispens


        

     

    11.12.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    District Update

    We were happy to host Governor Gianforte at Prickly Pear Elementary School and East Helena High School Monday.  Monday was Montana Day, our 132 birthday as a state.  The Governor talked with students about our great state’s history and his job as our chief executive.  He spent time in the PPE lunchroom and visited a 1st grade classroom before going on to EHHS to see our beautiful high school and visit our CTE Programs.  Below are a few pictures of the Governor’s visit.

    A photo of Goernor Gianforte sitting with students in a  classroom

     

     

    On Thursday we honored our nation's veterans.  East Helena has a long tradition of patriotism and Veteran’s Day activities.  Several EHPS Students and classes were able to attend and participate in the ceremony on Main Street.  Pictures are below.

    A photo of school children at the EH Veteran's Day event.

    Vaccine Clinic

    The youth dose Pfizer Vaccine has been approved by the FDA and CDC for emergency use.  We have partnered with the Helena Schools and local health department to arrange a few vaccine clinics in the schools to make it easier for parents who want their kids vaccinated.  We fully understand that families have a variety of reasons for wanting the vaccine and not wanting it, and we want to respect and support all families in our district.  The vaccine clinics are optional and are not being promoted to kids within the school.  Information is supplied to parents who can then make the best decision for themselves and their family situation. As the pandemic drags on, it continues to stress our communities and schools.  I am asking for your patience and understanding with each other as we all navigate this unprecedented time. 

    Appointments are currently open on the LCPH  COVID-19 Hub at https://www.helenamontanamaps.org/LCPHCovid19HUB/.   Or

    This link will take you directly to the Nov 13 EHHS Appointment page.

    This link will take you directly to the Nov 20 Bryant Elementary appointment page.

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  This week we have seen an uptick in cases at Prickly Pear Elementary.  Here is the current update as of 11.12.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 11.5.21 - 940

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday 11.12.21 - 749

     

    New reported cases this week 11/8 - 11/12

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 3 Students; 1 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 1 

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 8 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 8 Students; 3 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 14 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 12 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 4

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 55%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 63%

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 43%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    11.08.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Vaccine Clinics for 5-11 year olds

    The COVID Vaccine from Pfizer has been approved for 5-11 year olds to receive.  We are certainly aware that some families may opt to not receive the vaccine or wait until others have had it before proceeding, but we are also aware that many families have been waiting anxiously to get their children vaccinated in an effort to slow the spread and end the pandemic.  To support families, we are cooperating with local health authorities and the Helena Public Schools to offer some local opportunities to get kids vaccinated.  The clinics are fully voluntary and at your own discretion.  The clinics are set for November 13 at EHHS and November 20 at Bryant Elementary School.  1000 appointments we’re available at each clinic. As of the writing of this note, there were still some vaccine appointments left for both dates.

    There are no residency requirements for these clinics, but pre-registration is required. The clinics will offer first Pfizer doses for children ONLY. Second dose appointments will be automatically scheduled three weeks out. Confirmation of second-dose appointments will be sent to parents via email.

    Appointments are currently open on the LCPH  COVID-19 Hub at https://www.helenamontanamaps.org/LCPHCovid19HUB/.   Or

    This link will take you directly to the Nov 13 EHHS Appointment page.

    This link will take you directly to the Nov 20 Bryant Elementary appointment page.

    Individuals can also call the COVID-19 Hotline at 833-829-9219 for appointments or questions. The hotline is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    All caregivers and children must wear masks at the clinic, which will be indoors. Vaccine recipients and their guardians will be expected to wait on-site for up to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. Please note that this in an indoor clinic (drive-thru vaccines are not available).

     

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 11.08.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday - 10.29.21 - 962

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County Friday 11.05.21 - 940

     

    New reported cases this (last) week 11/1-11/5

    EG cases = 2 Students; 2 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0 

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 8 Students; 6 Staff

    PPE Cases = 5 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 14 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 12 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 32 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 3

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 55%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 63%

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 43%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens



     

    11.3.21

    COVID Update

    **Vaccine Clinic UPDATE**

    Good Afternoon EHPS Family,

    I am pleased to announce that – with yesterday’s CDC approval of COVID-19 vaccinations for kids ages 5-11 – EHPS is working with Helena Public Schools and Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) to host free vaccination clinics open to all children, regardless of where they attend school.  We are certainly aware that some families may opt to not receive the vaccine or wait until others have had it before proceeding, but we are also aware that many families have been waiting anxiously to get their children vaccinated in an effrot to slow the spread and end the pandemic.

    There are no residency requirements for these clinics, but pre-registration is required. The clinics will offer first Pfizer doses for children ONLY. Second dose appointments will be automatically scheduled three weeks out. Confirmation of second-dose appointments will be sent to parents via email.

    Appointments are currently open on the LCPH  COVID-19 Hub at https://www.helenamontanamaps.org/LCPHCovid19HUB/. Individuals can also call the COVID-19 Hotline at 833-829-9219 for appointments or questions. The hotline is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    All caregivers and children must wear masks at the clinic, which will be indoors. Vaccine recipients and their guardians will be expected to wait on-site for up to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. Please note that this in an indoor clinic (drive-thru vaccines are not available).

    Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for children ages 5-11

    East Helena: Saturday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., East Helena High School, 2760 Valley Drive

    Helena: Saturday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Bryant Elementary School, 1529 Boulder Ave

    We’re grateful to our partners at LCPH and Bryant Elementary for making this safe and convenient opportunity available to our children.

    Sincerely,

     Dan Rispens, Superintendent

    East Helena Public Schools

    10.29.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

    East Helena FRIGHT NIGHT

    Sunday, Oct 31 is Halloween and once again J-4 Automotive is sponsoring Fright Night in East Helena.  Fright Night is an East Helena tradition and provides fun family entertainment for the whole community!  East Helena Schools participates in Fright Night by handing out candy to trick or treaters at City Hall and supplying sound equipment for the movie in the park.  For the full Fright Night flyer click here.  

     

    Parent Teacher Conferences

    November is famous for many things like Thanksgiving, the annual Cat/Griz football game, “no shave November”, and of course, hunting.  But in East Helena November is also famous for being the month in which we hold our first round of Parent Teacher conferences.  

     

    P-T Conferences are critical to the care and support of kids in our school system.  Parent involvement has been proven to have a positive impact on student learning and growth.  Our district has had a long term goal of fostering and maintaining high quality relationships between teachers, students, and parents.  P-T Conferences are a critical part of that goal effort.  

     

    By now you have probably already scheduled your conference(es) with your child(ren)’s teacher(s).  We want you to know that we appreciate your role as your child’s first teacher and caregiver and we value your time and your ideas.  Together, teachers and parents can create a rich learning environment in which kids can thrive and grow.  This year, in light of COVID, some families may opt for a phone or ZOOM conference vs. in person, but either way, this exchange of ideas and information is super important.  Our goal is always 100% participation, so please plan now to participate and be a part of your child’s growth and learning in school. 

     

    COVID Update

    **Vaccine Clinic UPDATE**

    We are working With health authorities to plan an East Helena COVID vaccine clinic for 5-11 year olds for families who are interested in early November.  More news will be coming soon.

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 10.20.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County last WEDNESDAY - 10.20.21 - 951

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 10.27.21 - 962

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 1 Students; 1 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0 

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 6 Students; 4 Staff

    PPE Cases = 5 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 14 Student; 5 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 12 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 30 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 3

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 55%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 62%

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 43%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    10.20.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Red Ribbon Week!

    Each year the East Helena Schools observes Red Ribbon Week in our efforts to encourage kids to make healthy choices and avoid drugs, alcohol, and bullying behavior.  For an informational Youtube about the history of Red Ribbon, click here.

     

    In East Helena,  Red Ribbon week is observed by daily dress up themes as well as a parade against drugs, alcohol, and bullying that all students get to participate in either as groups marching in the parade or observers cheering everyone along the route.    The parade will happen at 2 PM Wednesday, October 27 and the route runs from Radley school to EVMS via Montana Street, Main Street, and Kalispell Street.  Thanks in advance to local first responders for supporting the parade and helping make it a success.  Parents are invited to come out and cheer for our kids’ healthy future!  The dress up theme days are listed below:

     

    Red Ribbon Week Themed dress-up days

    Monday- “No Bullying, No Sweat” 

                Wear Sweats

    Tuesday- “Be Someone’s Superhero- Stop Bullying”  

                                 Dress like a Superhero

    Wednesday-“I'm a JEAN-ious, I'm Drug Free"

    Wear Jeans and wear Red

    Thursday- “Team up against drugs and bullying”

             Wear a team jersey

    Friday-“Our school chooses to be drug free”

    Wear your school shirt or school colors




    EHHS First Ever Speech and Debate Tournament - Call for Judges!! (No experience necessary)

    Did you know that we are working to offer the full slate of MHSA interscholastic competition for our East Helena High School Students?  We have been fortunate to find coaches and interested students for almost every activity MHSA offers including our robust Speech, Debate, and Drama Program.  This year, for the first time ever, we are planning to host our own tournament at East Helena High School on November 20, 2021 to show some East Helena Hospitality and show off our school a bit.  To host a tournament of this size, we need about 200 volunteer judges!  Can you help out?  No experience is necessary.  Click this link to find out more and contact the organizers and sign up.



    COVID Update

    We continue to track the anticipated emergency authorization of vaccination for 5-11 year olds.  While we realize that not all families will be ready to have their children vaccinated, we also are aware that many families are anxiously awaiting this opportunity to take the next step toward ending the pandemic.  Our partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Care Van MAY provide us an opportunity to have an on site vaccine clinic for kids in East Helena to save parents the hassle of making an appointment for driving into town.  But resources are limited and the opportunity for onsite clinics has diminished in the past several weeks as critical medical staff are spread very thin.  More details will be shared as they become available.

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  Here is the current update as of 10.20.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County last Friday on 10.15.21 - 923

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 10.20.21 - 951

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0 

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 5 Students; 4 Staff

    PPE Cases = 5 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 13 Student; 4 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 11 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 30 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 3

     

    % of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated - 54%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 62%

    % of Zip Code 59635 fully vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 42%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    10.15.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    October - Teacher Training Days

    Next week is the famous 3 day school week and 4 day weekend across Montana.  Why do we take the 3rd Thursday and Friday of October off each year?  It is actually a requirement in state law that school districts set those days aside for teacher training.  Each year state education organizations arrange conferences and trainings for those days. Nowadays, many staff have already completed their required training and get a much needed break over the long weekend.  In East Helena, our dedicated board members and administrators take part in the Montana Conference for Educational Leadership.  This year the conference is being held online.  The conference provides training and information about a variety of topics of interest to board members and administrators.  

     

    In recent years, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has capitalized on the October weekend to provide a unique opportunity for families to get kids out into the woods and into the Montana tradition of hunting by providing special tags and permits available only to young hunters through the youth hunt days. FWP Youth Hunt Information can be found here.

     

    Also many families take advantage of the days off to travel to visit special places or family and friends or just enjoy some downtime at home.

     

    Whatever your plans, we hope you’ll enjoy the time off school together and have an opportunity to take advantage of the outdoors or family time together.  

     

    Recent Donations

    Here’s a shout out to Winco for donating a $200 gift card to our new EVMS Foods and Nutrition Class.  The money will help defray costs for materials needed to teach kids healthy and effective cooking and food prep skills!  Thanks Winco!

    An image of a representative of RMCU presenting an oversized check to the EVMS AD

    I also wanted to take a minute this month to recognize Rocky Mountain Credit Union for their support for EVMS Athletics. RMCU is funding our effort to secure NEW track jerseys for our kids.  We appreciate our community partners and their assistance in providing high quality programs for the kids of East Helena!

     

    COVID Update

    In this week’s COVID Update, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind parents that we have a permissive masking policy meaning wearing masks to protect oneself and/or others is allowed.  We understand that there are varying levels of tolerance for masks and are aware of varying research supporting and disputing masks’ effectiveness.  We adhere to CDC Guidance and local health advice in most things related to COVID and both agencies promote individuals, especially those who are not vaccinated, to wear masks indoors if possible to limit the spread of COVID 19 during times of high community spread.  There may be a  perception in the community that when there’s not a mask mandate, nobody is wearing a mask in school, but this is not the case.  When I am out and about in the schools I witness many folks (students and staff) choosing to mask up.  Additionally, we have not had a high incidence of harassment or bullying for those who choose to wear or not wear a mask showing a high degree of tolerance and maturity among students for individual preference and choice in this matter.  I bring this up to remind interested parents that if you would prefer that your child wear a mask at school, you can communicate that to teachers who can assist with reminders during the day.  If not, that decision is also respected and honored at this time.    

     

    We have had comparably few new cases of COVID among students and staff this week which is nice to see given the high level of transmission being reported in the community.  It is important to note that a significant number of students were on temporary remote learning for all or part of this week due to the higher than usual numbers last week.  

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned. We are anticipating that the youth dose of vaccine may be available to children ages 5 and up locally as soon as the end of the month.  Due to staffing and resource shortages we are not yet certain if we’ll be able to arrange an onsite vaccination clinic in East Helena.  Here is the current update as of 10.08.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County One week ago on 10.08.21 - 900

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 10.15.21 - 923

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Students; 2 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 1 

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 5 Students; 4 Staff

    PPE Cases = 5 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 12 Student; 4 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 9 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 28 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 3

     

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 54%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 61%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 42%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    10.8.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    October - National Principals Month

    Parents - Did you know that October is National Principal Month?  Our East Helena Schools are fortunate to have a crew of committed professionals at the helm of all of our buildings.  Although our team is new to their positions in many instances, they are knowledgeable, hard working and are learning fast how to lead and create environments in which students can thrive.  

     

    Our Principals and Vice Principals wear many hats.  From being the lead “cheerleader” of their school to knowling how the boilers operate and the toilets flush, they really need to have a wide range of skills and abilities.  Principals are tasked with being the instructional leader of their buildings and helping teachers do their very best every day for our kids. Additionally the stress of COVID and managing difficult situations for students, parents, and staff has never been higher.  

     

    I hope you will join me in appreciating our school leaders.  Maybe take a moment this month to offer a note of appreciation or thanks via email, snail mail, or even in person!  

     

    If you want to send an email to a  principal, see the links below:

     

    Principal Brandon Crusat - Eastgate and Prickly Pear Elementary

    Principal Gus Somefeld - Radley 

    Principal Brenda Stoltz - EVMS

    Vice Principal Krista Swindell - EVMS

    Principal Brian Kessler - EHHS

    Vice Principal/Athletic Director Shaun Murgel - EHHS

     

    COVID Update

    In the numbers below, you’ll notice there is a significant increase in cases in our county.  This follows a large increase in detection through waste water testing that is still occurring regularly.  To a certain degree this is reflected in cases at schools.  A significant number of students were put on temporary remote learning this week due to a few cases in the elementary grades.  We realize how disruptive this is for families and are working to minimize and reduce these remote learning assignments.  We need community support  through being aware and keeping kids home if there’s a known exposure of symptoms of illness.  Your efforts will limit the spread and reduce the impact on other families.  

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned. We continue to see that the greatest number of cases are among high school students.  This is understandable given the social nature of the age, but also avoidable as this age group is currently eligible for the safe and effective COVID vaccines that are available for free. Here is the current update as of 10.08.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County One week ago on 10.01.21 - 582

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 10.08.21 - 900

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 3 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Student; 2 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 0

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 4 Students; 4 Staff

    PPE Cases = 4 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 10 Student; 2 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 9 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 27 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 2

     

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 53%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 61%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 41%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    10.1.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Walk to School Day - Wednesday, Oct 6

    EHPS will observe National Walk to School Day on October 6.  This annual observance promotes community wellness and health by encouraging students to walk to school rather than getting a  ride.  Our K-5 students are encouraged to participate and 6-11 grade students have the opportunity to help through service/activity clubs who assist the younger kids and make sure they get to school safely.  All students and staff are encouraged to wear comfy workout and walking clothes on Walk to School Day.  Bus students can also participate in Walk to School Day by getting off their bus at EVMS and walking with designated groups to their school.  Principals and middle school/high school helpers will be there to help.  Mr Somerfeld and Mr Crusat are sharing specific information with parents through their communications and newsletters.  

     

    Parents can help out by joining a walking group or just walking your own kids and showing them the safest route to school.  The district has made great strides in providing safe routes to school by applying for and receiving millions in federal Transportation Alternative grants over the past decade.  The sidewalks and paths these grants have helped to create and build in our community provide kids safe passages to and from school.  The latest T.A. Grant will add a sidewalk along Lewis Street between EVMS and PPE and along Montana Street near the East Helena Cemetery.   When this project is complete there will be safe designated walking paths and sidewalks between ALL East Helena Schools! 

     

    Keeping kids safe and healthy is in the best interest of our entire community.  Please consider joining in on Wednesday, October 6.

     

    TIKTOK Challenge

    The latest “Devious Licks” challenge on TIK TOK is “slap a staff” member. If your children are allowed on TIK TOK, please have a frank conversation with them about this dangerous and illegal trend.  The district will have little choice but to pursue legal action if a student follows through with this challenge and assaults a staff member.  


    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned. We continue to see that the greatest number of cases are among high school students.  This is understandable given the social nature of the age, but also avoidable as this age group is currently eligible for the safe and effective COVID vaccines that are available for free. Here is the current update as of the first 22 days of school as of 9.24.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County One week ago on 9.24.21 - 541

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 10.01.21 - 582

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 7 Student; 2 Staff

    Other school staff = 1

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 2 Students; 4 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 2 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 8 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 7 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 25 Student; 4 Staff 

    Other school staff = 2

     

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 53%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 61%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 41%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously.  Do not send kids to school if they have been recently exposed to COVID 19.
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    9.24.21

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

     

    Early Release Monday and Student Mental Health

    Monday, September 27 is our first early release staff training day this year.  Students will be dismissed at 1:30 PM.  In light of the nationwide concerns about youth mental health, our awesome counseling crew has arranged for the entire staff tor receive mental health awareness training in the QPR method of suicide prevention.  Trainers will be onsite in the schools to train teachers and paras about QPR.  Given the ongoing pandemic and the impact it has had on our children, this training could not be more timely.  Additionally, East Helena has historically taken a proactive approach in our knowledge and understanding of mental health and suicidal behavior among children.  Any parent who has questions or is concerned about their own child’s mental health and wellness can contact a school counselor for support and guidance.   Thanks!!!

     

    Native American Heritage Day

    Today, Friday, September 24 is Native American Heritage Day and all schools and teachers are encouraged to recognize and include aspects of Native culture in their teaching.  In our schools, native students make up more than 10% of the student population and are our largest minority group.  In Montana, our Indian Education for All law and subsequent support from OPI are a model for the rest of the nation as we work to reduce racial tension through education and understanding.  The district continues to work towards meeting the goals of IEFA and seeks ways to keep teachers informed about the 7 essential understandings regarding Native Americans in Montana and the resources available. To that end we will welcome Mike Jetty from OPI for our December early release training to bring us up to speed on IEFA and help to renew our commitment to meeting the needs of all students in our classrooms.  We also employ a full time Indian Impact Teacher (Kim Metzger), and try to send a group of EHPS teachers to the annual Indian Ed conference that OPI produces each spring.  NAtive American Heritage Day is a special day across our state, but to really be effective, these aspects of IEFA need to be woven into the fabric of how our schools operate.  It is a lofty and noble goal and one that we will continue to work towards meeting.



    COVID Update

    If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed to COVID or if your child is symptomatic and you would like to request a rapid test at school, please contact your child’s school office for more information and to schedule a time for testing.  

     

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned. We continue to see that the greatest number of cases are among high school students.  This is understandable given the social nature of the age, but also avoidable as this age group is currently eligible for the safe and effective COVID vaccines that are available for free. Here is the current update as of the first 22 days of school as of 9.24.21: 

     

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County One week ago on 9.17.21 - 585

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 9.24.21 - 541

     

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 0 Students; 2 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 7 Student; 0 Staff

    Other school staff = 1

     

    Cumulative reported cases this year

    EG cases = 0 Students; 2 Staff

    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 1 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 6 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 5 Students; 1 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 18 Student; 2 Staff 

    Other school staff = 1

     

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 52%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 60%

    % of eligible L and C County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 40%

     

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously. 
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.



    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    9.17.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  

    EHPS Annual Notices
    We are required by the US Dept of Education to provide annual notice to parents of several key pieces of information and federal programs.  You can find the annual notices on our website at this link.

    REMINDER - Canyon Ferry Road Project/Lake Helena Drive
    We have received information about upcoming road construction that will impact East Helena folks and our bus routes.  Notably, there will be one-lane traffic on Canyon Ferry Road at the Prickly Pear Bridge and the Canal Bridge during the month of September.  Expect 15-minute delays during peak times.  Also, Lake Helena Drive from Old highway 12 to Lewis Street will be closed for a period to allow for resurfacing (Week of Sept 20).  While these infrastructure projects are important to the safety of our community, we are aware they will have an effect on getting kids to school and picking them up.  Planning ahead and taking alternate routes when available will avoid congestion and frustration.  The information from Helena Sand and Gravel and MT DOT is linked on our website here.  

    COVID Update
    You are likely reading articles about school closures around the state related to COVID 19 outbreaks. We have so far avoided major problems related to the virus in schools, but we continue to have cases.  Parents are doing a good job of keeping kids home when sick or when they have been tested for COVID or are a close contact to someone in or out of school.  Rapid testing made available through DPHHS has allowed us to shorten more than 120 temporary assignments to remote learning for close contact students.  Together we are making this work, and we need the continued vigilance of the entire community to protect our kids and teachers.  

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned. Here is the current update as of the first 12 days of school as of 9.17.21: 

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 9.17.21 - 585

    New reported cases this week
    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff
    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff 
    Radley Cases = 3 Student; 0 Staff
    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 1 Staff
    EHHS Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    Cumulative reported cases this year
    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff
    PPE Cases = 1 Students; 1 Staff 
    Radley Cases = 5 Student; 0 Staff
    EVMS Cases = 5 Students; 1 Staff
    EHHS Cases = 11 Student; 2 Staff 

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 51%
    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 60%
    % of eligible L and C County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 39%

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously. 
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    Thanks, everyone! and Make it a Great Day!
    Mr Rispens

     


     


    9.10.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  Next week is HOMECOMING for EHHS!  See Details below.

    EHHS Vigilante Homecoming Festivities

    Next week (Sept 13-18), the Vigilantes will celebrate Homecoming at EHHS!  Most sports teams will have home events during the homecoming period and the week will be marked by spirit themed days at the school, an assembly, and a parade for the community Friday afternoon, September 17 at 4:30 PM on Main Street in East Helena.  The parade route will travel from the VFW on Main Street to City Hall.  The entire community is invited to come out and cheer on the Vigilantes!  There will also be a street dance for the kids Saturday night at EHHS.  You can find all the homecoming details here.  Go Vigilantes!!!

    USDA Waiver Approved!  No charge breakfast/lunch for all EHPS Students this year.

    We received word late this week that our application for the USDA Waiver was approved.  This means school meals (Breakfast and Lunch) are available at no charge to parents for all students this year regardless of income level.  The waiver is retroactive to the first day of school.  Food service staff are currently working to adjust balances to reflect accurate charges and balances.  Any meals charged to your child’s account since the start of school this year will be reversed.  A La Carte or per item charges still apply.  Please review your student’s lunch balance in a  week to see if there is an amount due.  We appreciate your patience as we worked through this process.  

    Canyon Ferry Road Project/Lake Helena Drive

    We have received information about upcoming road construction that will impact East Helena folks and our bus routes.  Notably, there will be one lane traffic on Canyon Ferry Road at the Prickly Pear Bridge and the Canal Bridge during the month of September.  Expect 15 minute delays during peak times.  Also Lake Helena Drive from Old highway 12 to Lewis Street will be closed for a period to allow for resurfacing (Week of Sept 20).  While these infrastructure projects are important to the safety of our community, we are aware they will have an effect on getting kids to school and picking them  up.  Planning ahead and taking alternate routes when available will avoid congestion and frustration.  The information from Helena Sand and Gravel and MT DOT is linked on our website here.  

    COVID Update

    We are reporting weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  In the data below, you’ll notice the preponderance of school cases are among our middle and high school students, most of whom are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID 19. .  Additionally we have decided to only report cases that actually impact the school.  Often students who test positive we’re kept home and did not enter the school during their contagious period, so there was no impact to other students or staff.  Here is the current update as of the first 12 days of school as of 9.10.21: 

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 9.10.21 - 493

    New reported cases this week

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 0 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 4 Student; 0 Staff

    Cumulative reported cases this year:

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff

    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff 

    Radley Cases = 2 Student; 0 Staff

    EVMS Cases = 3 Students; 0 Staff

    EHHS Cases = 11 Student; 2 Staff 

    % of eligible Montanans Fully Vaccinated - 51%

    % of eligible Lewis and Clark County residents fully vaccinated - 59%

    % of eligible L and C County residents age 12-19 fully vaccinated - 38%

     Here is what you can do to help:

    • Exercise Personal Responsibility
      • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.   With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
      • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic or have been tested for COVID 19.. 
      • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously. 
      • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
      • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

    Mr Rispens

      

    9.3.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Here is the latest update from your superintendent.  Have a great Labor Day Weekend Everyone!!!

    School is in Session - Please Drive Safely

    With school back in session, it is time for that annual reminder to PLEASE drive safely in our community and around our schools and buses.  Our precious children deserve your undivided attention when they’re walking to school and you’re behind the wheel.  Being alert to current conditions, and avoiding distractions while driving is the key to safety which will prevent a tragedy from occurring in our community.  The school district has worked hard and continues to work towards providing safe walking routes to school for children and improving traffic flow in and around our facilities.  We continue to partner with the City of East Helena and Lewis and Clark County to adapt to changes in our community population and traffic flow patterns.  Here are some recent changes you might notice:

    • Safe Routes, Traffic Controls, and parking
      • Safe Routes sidewalk added along Lewis Street from Eastgate to EVMS (This was a grant-funded project)
      • Added Parking at PPE Along the entrance road and angle parking on Thurman street for easier pickup and drop off.
      • Speed Zone around Radley School - 15 MPH ZONE
      • Valley Drive Speed Limit - Reduced to 25 MPH From Lewis street to Plant Road.
      • Additional stop signs around Radley School and at Lewis Street on Thurman,
      • Upgraded Radley crosswalks at Thurman and Clinton and King and Thurman.
    • School Bus Safety - Yellow warning lights mean slow down and prepare to stop.  Red flashing lights, mean STOP.  It is against the law in Montana to run a school bus's red lights.  Most of our buses have cameras and we do pursue light violations with the sheriff’s office or Montana Highway Patrol.  Students boarding buses should wait until the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended before crossing the road.  As fall progresses, more of the morning routes will be in the dark requiring extra caution and care.   Please, Please Please give buses extra room and use caution around school buses at all times.  There is precious cargo on board and drivers have a tremendous responsibility.  This can be challenging during your morning commute on Canyon Ferry Road, but it is critical to not rush buses or speed around them.  
    • School pick up and drop off zones - Pick up and drop zones are areas of temporary congestion.  Extra care and caution are required as kids are navigating traffic and looking for parents.  This is not a time to be in a hurry or rush. It is a great time to demonstrate to children how to treat others with respect and patience.
    • Teenage Drivers in your home?  Talk to them about safety.  Now that we have our very own high school, we have more teen driver’s around our schools before and after school when children and buses are on the road.  Driving is a major privilege and heavy responsibility.  The start of school is a great time to have a conversation with your teen driver about your expectations for their actions behind the wheel.  Reminders about safety regarding school buses, crosswalks, and pedestrians are needed to keep all of our kids safe.  Working together in this way we can avoid a community tragedy and keep East Helena the kind of place you want to raise your kids!!!

    COVID Update

    We are planning to report weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school and temporary remote learning will be assigned.  In the data below, you’ll notice the preponderance of school cases is among our middle and high school students, most of whom are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID 19.  Parents, please see the information below about the FREE vaccine clinic Tuesday at EHHS.  Here is the current update as of the first 8 days of school as of 9.3.21: 

    Active Cases in Lewis and Clark County today 9.3.21 - 309

    New reported cases this week
    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff
    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff 
    Radley Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff
    EVMS Cases = 1 Students; 0 Staff
    EHHS Cases = 4 Student; 1 Staff

    Cumulative reported cases this year
    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff
    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff (Prior to start of school)
    Radley Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff
    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff
    EHHS Cases = 4 Student; 2 Staff (1 Prior to start of school) 

    Here is what you can do to help:

    • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.  There will be a FREE vaccine clinic in the EHHS Commons Tuesday, September 7 from 5 PM - 7 PM.  The clinic is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  No appointment is necessary.  You can obtain your first or second vaccine shot at this clinic and all brands of vaccine will be available.  With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
    • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic. 
    • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously. 
    • Avoid situations of large indoor gatherings or congested indoor crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
    • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    Thanks, everyone! and Make it a Great Day! 

    Mr. Rispens


    8.31.21

    Dear EHPS Parents,

    Last week was a great first week of school.  Kids were excited to see their friends and get to know their new teachers. There was renewed energy among staff as we looked forward to the promise of another year.  In spite of the uncertainty that looms large with the pandemic, we are working to focus on teaching and learning and supporting students the way EH always has.  

    In the past several days we have received updated guidance about how local health authorities intend to manage contact tracing and advise close contacts of their status and course of action.  We have also become aware that although CDC guidance allows for different treatment for folks who have received the vaccine and are exposed to COVID vs. individuals who are unvaccinated, Montana law prohibits any discrimination or special treatment on the basis of vaccine status.    With this new information about state laws and local procedures, we needed to come up with a  new set of revised protocols for how the schools will handle close contacts to reduce and slow the spread of COVID when positive cases occur in the schools.  This note is intended to provide some of those details as they stand now, understanding that this is a dynamic situation that continues to evolve and change.  

    Close Contact Protocols for fall of 2021

    The CDC has revised its guidance regarding close contacts in schools and recommendations for how to handle close contacts.  Some of this revision includes recommendations based on an individual’s vaccination status.  In Montana, HB 702 prohibits discrimination based on COVID vaccine status.  These developments and changes unfolded within the week prior to our first day of school.  School staff has developed revised protocols for this school year.  Here are some highlights:

    • Students who are identified as close contacts of a current COVID case will be assigned to temporary remote learning for a period of 14 days.
    • Students will be allowed to continue working in Google classroom during the temporary assignment or will be allowed to utilize a take-home packet of work.  To access Google Classroom students can log on with their school credentials.  To access a take-home packet, contact your school office.  
    • Students will receive full credit for all work completed and will not be counted absent.
    • Students will not be able to participate in student activities during the remote learning assignment.
    • Close contacts who can document prior COVID infection and recovery within 3 months of the current exposure do not need to transfer to remote learning and may remain in in-person learning.
    • Vaccination status cannot be taken into account in Montana.
    • Students can shorten the remote learning assignment from 14 to 7 days if they test negative for COVID at least 5 days after the initial exposure.
    • We may have limited BINAX Now rapid testing available to interested students and staff and have ordered additional test kits and PPE from DPHHS.  Contact your school office about the availability of local on-site testing or you can schedule a test with your primary provider.
    • In the primary grades, it is likely that an entire class will be switched to remote if exposure occurs due to difficulty in determining who is and is not a close contact.  In this case, the teacher will teach all students remotely during the remote assignment.
    • If your child has been tested for COVID 19 and is awaiting results, you are asked to keep them out of school until results are received.  You may notify the school and request temporary remote learning during that period to avoid additional absences on your child’s record.   

    We recognize that these temporary transitions to remote learning will be troublesome for families managing work schedules and other commitments.  The entire community can help minimize the need for this by working to limit the spread of COVID 19.  Here is what you can do to help:

    • Get vaccinated if you’re 12 years old or older.  There will be a FREE vaccine clinic in the EHHS north parking lot Thursday, September 7 from 5PM - 7PM.  The clinic is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  No appointment is necessary.  you can obtain your first or second vaccine shot at this clinic and all brands of vaccine will be available.  With more people vaccinated, the virus has less chance to spread and mutate which protects others including unvaccinated children.
    • Stay home or keep kids home if they are sick or symptomatic. 
    • Avoid situations of large gatherings or congested crowds where COVID can be more easily spread.
    • Be aware of possible exposure to COVID and take it seriously. 
    • Follow health dept guidance regarding safe practices and the need for quarantine and/or isolation.    The Lewis and Clark County Health Dept COVID 19 Hub can be found here. Check out this information to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    COVID Update

    We are planning to report weekly to the community as to the level of COVID in the schools.  We cannot report on individuals or even individual classes.  In every case, if your child is determined to be a close contact (Within 6’ for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period), you will be contacted by the school.  Here is the current update as of the first 5 days of school: 

    EG cases = 0 Students; 0 Staff
    PPE Cases = 0 Students; 1 Staff (Prior to start of school)
    Radley Cases = 1 Student; 0 Staff
    EVMS Cases = 2 Students; 0 Staff
    EHHS Cases = 1 Student; 1 Staff (Prior to start of school)

    The September 3 Varsity Football Game @ Columbia Falls has been cancelled due to COVID 19.

    Thanks everyone! and Make it a Great Day!

    Mr. Rispens

     


    Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

    East Helena Public Schools will be hosting a free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on August 17th from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at the East Helena High School with the help of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and the CareVan.  This clinic is available to anyone 12 years of age and older, so come take advantage of this amazing opportunity.  

    No appointment is necessary for this clinic, but for those ages 12 - 17, a parent or guardian must be present.  The Pfizer vaccine will be available for everyone (ages 12 and older), and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available for those 18 and older.

    Thank you for your support.
    EHPS Administration
    Dan Rispens, Superintendent


    EHPS Board Special Meeting Decision on Mask Mandate

    May 19, 2021

    Families in the East Helena School District, 

    Tonight the East Helena School Board took action to rescind the mask requirement in schools that has existed since we started full day classes in August.  This action came after long deliberation and a sincerely concerned School Board who grappled with the pros and cons of such a move.  The current values and beliefs of the parents who advocated for the release of the students to once again see the expressions of adoration of their teachers and those that expressed serious concern about the transmission of COVID 19 still active in our community were both equally weighed and testimony closely considered.  In the end the school board felt, through a split vote, that the best interest of the students was served by removing the requirement to wear a mask.  Students will still be allowed to choose freely to wear a mask to protect themselves, but it will no longer be required.  It’s important to note that all other means of slowing the transmission of the disease within the schools will be maintained throughout the end of the school year, including maintaining isolated groups of students in classrooms and cohorts, eating lunch in classrooms, restricting entrance to outsiders, screening students for signs of the infection, using separate play areas on the playgrounds, and other precautions. Thank you for supporting this difficult transition and working with your classroom teachers to provide a great education to all East Helena students.

    Sincerely,
    Ron Whitmoyer, Superintendent


    Parent Update on Masks

    May 9, 2021

    Dear Parents, Community Members, and Staff

    Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.  The ‘mask order’, HB257, was signed into law by Governor Gianforte on Friday, May 7.  The East Helena School District is working diligently to respond appropriately to this new development by seeking legal advice before proceeding, especially in light of the yet unsigned status of HB 435 which provides legal protection for public schools.  As always, East Helena Schools will act in the most responsible manner possible to ensure the safety of the students, staff, and community. Since the school district currently has a mask requirement in all East Helena School buildings as a preventative measure to curtail the spread of COVID, we will continue with the mask requirement until we receive a legal opinion on the effect of HB257 on Montana public schools.

    Please join us in helping make this a painless process by giving the School District time to react appropriately.  There are still many questions about how our insurance company and legal team will advise us regarding this new law.  Until we have made an educated decision, please continue to wear a mask in all EHPS school district buildings.  

    Sincerely,

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent   


    Parent Update on COVID Cases

    January 22, 2021

    Dear Parents, 

    Please bear with us as we scale back our barrage of notices to our East Helena families about recent positive cases of COVID in the school district.  On Tuesday this week, we were notified that an EVMS student, and then on Wednesday an EHHS student, had tested positive for COVID 19. In each case multiple close contact students were sent home. 

    As always, our best chance of avoiding the spread of COVID is to make the decision to have the whole household stay home when anyone is sick, or even more importantly, when anyone in the home is being tested.

    Thanks for your help.   

    Sincerely,

    Ron Whitmoyer,
    Superintendent


    Parent COVID Case Update

    January 15, 2021

    Dear Parents, 

    In an effort to keep you informed about recent positive cases of COVID in the school district, Wednesday afternoon we were notified that one student at East Valley Middle School tested positive with an active case of COVID-19. Multiple close contacts in the classroom of students at EVMS and two teachers had to be sent home to be protective of others in the buildings. 

    As we continue to work through these cases we have found that when a parent, student, or other household member is being tested and the children in that family stayed home from school while testing proceeded, spread to others was dramatically decreased.  As we continue to use this protocol, we again thank parents for helping us avoid the spread of COVID by making the decision to have the whole household stay home when anyone is sick or being tested. 

    Your cooperation is appreciated by not only the school district but by all of the East Helena students and families.

    Sincerely,

    East Helena Administrative Staff, and

    Ron Whitmoyer,
    Superintendent


    January 8, 2021

    Scheduled Student Drop Off Times

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    East Helena Public Schools principals and staff would like to remind all families to only drop off students at each building’s specific time.  In order to maintain the health and safety of both students and staff, students are not allowed to group outside the building prior to class, but rather must go directly to their classroom upon arrival.

    School                  Earliest Arrival Time
    Eastgate                8:00 AM
    Prickly Pear           7:55 AM
    Radley                   7:50 AM
    EVMS                    7:55 AM
    EHHS                    8:05 AM

    As we continue to follow proper student drop off times along with protocols for screening, wearing masks, and staying home when anyone in the household is sick, we can continue to avoid the spread of COVID-19 to your children and other staff. Your cooperation is appreciated by not only the school district but by all East Helena students and families.

    Thank You
    EHPS Administration


    January 3, 2021

    Parent New Year Update and COVID Protocols

    Dear Parents, 

    Happy New Year!  

    Over the Holiday Break, we were notified that there were a couple of additional staff and students that reported testing positive with COVID-19. Thankfully, due to the long break, we have no new close contacts to report and we have the ability to welcome back students in record numbers.  

    As we continue to work through the COVID challenges, I need to remind you that the protocols we have in place were set by the School Board and approved by the County.  The School District will continue to comply with the plan, Board directives, and Lewis and Clark County Health orders.  Students and staff will all be required to wear a mask while in the school buildings as part of our ongoing protocols.  Similarly, students will continue to have their temperature scanned and be screened about how they feel.  

    When a parent, student, or other household member is ill or being tested for COVID, it is crucial that the children in the family stay home from school until the test results are known.  This practice has shown tremendous success in containing the potential spread of the disease. Additionally, this practice protects the other children in the school district and your neighbors from being needlessly restricted from attending school.  Please contact your principal, or either of the school nurses to share information or have questions answered about these practices and being safe. 

    As we continue to use these protocols: screening, wearing masks, and staying home when anyone in the household is sick, we can continue to avoid the spread of COVID - 19 to your children and other staff. Your cooperation is appreciated by not only the school district but by all East Helena students and families.

    Sincerely,
    Ron Whitmoyer,
    Superintendent

     


    Parent COVID Cases Update

    December 16, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    Our goal has been to keep parents informed throughout the year about recent positive cases of COVID in the school district.  Today, we were again notified that there are two students at East Valley Middle School and two staff members at Radley School that have tested positive with active cases of COVID-19. Numerous close contacts in two classrooms of students at EVMS and also numerous students at Radley School had to be sent home to be protective of others in the buildings. 

    As we continue to work through these cases we have found that when a parent, student, or other household member is being tested that when the children in the family stayed home from school that potential spread was dramatically decreased.  The text message to all parents Sunday outlines our most effective way to fight the spread of this disease.  As we continue to use this protocol, we again ask parents to help us avoid the spread of COVID by making the decision to have the whole household stay home when anyone is sick, or even more importantly, when anyone in the home is being tested.

    Your cooperation is appreciated by not only the school district but by all of East Helena students and families.

    Sincerely,

    Ron Whitmoyer,
    Superintendent


    December 14, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    Please bear with us as we continue to notice our East Helena families about recent positive cases of COVID in the school district.  Late yesterday and early today we were again notified that there are three students, one at Eastgate and two at Radley that have tested positive. Up to 9 close contacts and two classrooms of students had to be sent home. 

    In most of our recent cases, other children could have avoided contact if, when a parent or other household member was being tested that the children in the family stayed home from school.  The text message to all parents yesterday asked for cooperation in keeping students home when this situation arises.  Our best chance of avoiding the spread of COVID is to make the decision to have the whole household stay home when anyone is sick, or even more importantly when anyone in the home is being tested.

    Your cooperation is appreciated by not only the school district but by all of the 1,500+ East Helena students and their parents.

    Sincerely,

    Ron Whitmoyer,

    Superintendent


    December 10, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    The East Helena School District was recently notified that there is a student at EHHS and one at Prickly Pear Elementary School that attended school and then was tested positive for COVID.  We are in the process of doing contract tracing, excluding students this morning and requiring them to isolate.   As always, in the interest of caution,  the close contact students are being sent home or being asked to stay home while more contact tracing continues.  The East Helena School District wishes to again emphasize that the vigilance of parents to keep students home when anyone in the family or household is not feeling well or is considering going to be tested will keep the other students and staff at school safe.  Students can return upon the family member's or student's own negative test results once the symptoms have passed and there is a lack of fever for 24 hours or according to Health Department Orders.   

    We have had a large number of successes containing the disease spread recently where students or parents are waiting for test results and parents kept students home.  These numerous occurrences have successfully avoided the infection from reaching the school.  This practice of keeping students home when any household member is sick or being tested was reinforced by the Health Department yesterday in our conversations with them.  

    As the number of cases of the virus remains high locally, we ask that you be very cautious about preventing the spread by minimizing outside contacts. Communicating with the school and keeping students home at the first signs of illness in any household member being tested will help us prevent this from spreading unnecessarily.  If you have any symptoms or concerns please contact the school secretary and/or our school nurses, Kaylee Baeth, R.N., and Natalie Tocas, R.N. as soon as possible. 

    Your assistance in being extra vigilant about keeping the schools informed and safe is much so very much appreciated.  We will continue to update you with new information as it becomes available.

    Sincerely,

    East Helena Schools Administrative staff, Nurses, and

    Ron Whitmoyer,

    Superintendent


    December 7, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    The East Helena School District continues its vigilance to track and isolate individuals where a student, family member, or a staff member is sick, being tested, or has been in contact with COVID. This morning we were notified that there is a student at EHHS and one at Radley School that has tested positive.  We are in the process of doing contract tracing, excluding students this morning or requiring them to isolate.   As always, the close contact students, in the interest of caution, are being sent home or being asked to stay home while more contact tracing continues.

    We have had a series of unnecessary incidents recently where students or parents are waiting for test results before students stay home from school.  This is a very dangerous practice and has caused students to be unnecessarily excluded from school. We are asking parents to keep their children home to avoid exposing others at the very first signs of illness of ANYONE in the home, not only their children but also parents and adults in the home. When anyone in the home is not feeling well or has a temperature, we would ask that everyone stay home until negative test results confirm it is not a COVID illness and you are sure the illness has passed for 24 hours without symptoms or fever.  It is imperative that if anyone in the household is being or has been tested for COVID, that all students stay home until a negative COVID test result is obtained.  This prevents the disease from being spread unintentionally.

    As the number of cases of the virus remains so high locally, we ask that you be very cautious at preventing the spread by minimizing outside contacts. Communicating with the school and keeping students home at the first signs of any student or parent illness, or household member being tested for COVID, will help us prevent this from spreading unnecessarily.  If you have any symptoms or concerns please contact the school secretary and/or our school nurses, Kaylee Baeth, R.N., and Natalie Tocas, R.N. as soon as possible. 

    Your assistance in being extra vigilant about keeping the schools informed and safe is much appreciated.  We will continue to update you with new information as it becomes available.

    Sincerely,

    East Helena Schools Administrative staff, Nurses, and

    Ron Whitmoyer,
    Superintendent


    November 30, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    The East Helena School District continues its vigilance to track and isolate individuals where a family member is sick, being tested, or has been in contact with COVID. This morning we were notified that there is a student at EHHS that has tested positive.  We are in the process of excluding students this morning, but because of the five-day holiday break, we will have some built-in isolation.   As always the close contact students, in the interest of caution, are being sent home or being asked to stay home while more contact tracing continues until we are able to determine that they are safe to return to school.  

    We are asking parents to be especially watchful for the first signs of illness, not only with their children but also with parents and adults in the home.  If anyone in the home is not feeling well or has a temperature, we would ask that everyone stays home until you are sure the illness has passed for 24 hours after the last symptoms or fever.  If anyone in the household has been tested for COVID, we ask that all students stay home until a negative COVID test result is obtained.

    As the number of cases of the virus continues to increase locally within the community, we ask that you be even more attuned and cautious at preventing the spread by minimizing outside contacts that could expose you and others to the disease. Communicating with the school at the first signs of any student or parent illness, or household member being tested for COVID, will help us prevent this from spreading unnecessarily.  If you have any symptoms or concerns please contact the school secretary and/or our school nurses, Kaylee Baeth, R.N., and Natalie Tocas, R.N. at your very earliest convenience. 

    Thankfully we were able to return to onsite learning at Radley School today following the isolation of over 15 staff members who were being tested.  Only 4 staff actually contracted the disease but the loss of that many staff members until test results were known made it impossible to find enough substitutes with our unprecedented shortage.  If you know people interested in being a substitute teacher, a full-time paraprofessional, custodian, or bus driver, the school district is hiring every day!  Just stop by the Central Office to pick up an application or email us and we will assist you in applying!

    Your assistance in being vigilant about keeping the schools informed and safe is much appreciated.  We will continue to update you with new information as it becomes available.

    Sincerely,

    East Helena Schools Administrative staff, Nurses, and

    Ron Whitmoyer,

    Superintendent

     


    November 15, 2020

    Dear Parents, 

    The East Helena School District in the last 72 hours has been notified that two teachers tested positive for COVID-19 and several others are being tested or not feeling well at Radley School.  As a result, we are too short-staffed to deliver in-person instruction at Radley until after Thanksgiving.  All other schools are in operation during this time period since this situation is localized to Radley School. 

    Your assistance in being vigilant about keeping the schools informed and safe is much appreciated.  We will continue to update you with new information as it becomes available.

    Sincerely,

    East Helena Schools Administrative staff, Nurses, and

    Ron Whitmoyer,

    Superintendent


    September 25, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    In keeping with my ongoing efforts to keep parents and staff informed in regards to COVID-19 and its effect on East Helena Public Schools as soon as possible, while following all applicable HIPAA regulations, I want to inform you that on September 24 at 6:45 pm I was appraised that there was a new case of COVID involving a single EHPS student.  As has been past practice, the East Helena School District is letting you know that a student has recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

    As is our normal procedure, students and staff identified as close contacts have or will soon be notified and isolated until the extent of the illness has been determined. Also, the district is having all students from the affected classroom stay home for 24 hours while we continue to monitor the health of the other identified close contacts. According to the Lewis and Clark County Health Department, the District's policies of social distancing, frequent hand sanitizing  and wearing masks continues to be instrumental in limiting the exposure to staff and students. Since the first symptoms appeared, the parents have held the child out of school and were, and continue to be, in contact with the school. The vigilance of parents whose children are exhibiting symptoms of an illness by keeping them home and seeking medical assistance continues to be our best chance to contain this disease.  The cooperation of these parents has been helpful to the school nurses and staff to provide the very best care in this situation. 

    Please note that transmission is unlikely provided there was no contact, for more than 15 minutes, in close proximity to an active case of COVID -19.  It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill stay home until all fever and symptoms have passed for at least 24 hours and seek out their medical provider for specific instructions.

    The School District is in contact with the Lewis and Clark County Health Department and  reviewing the Centers for Disease Control guidance to complete cleaning the affected parts of the school and other related facilities. The District School nurses and school administrators continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information as appropriate.

     Sincerely,

     

    Ron Whitmoyer,

    East Helena Superintendent

     


     

    August 19, 2020 
    Parent Letter from the Superintendent


    Dear Parents,

    As the school year is about to begin here are a few pointers for making this a successful year.  The plan that was approved by the School Board and discussed with the L & C County Health Department continues to be a workable base that is being adjusted at each building.  You can expect to be contacted by your principals with additional information about the start of school that begins on August 26th.

    Parents, teachers, staff, and administration will continue to work together to help our students with all aspects of learning. including how to wear a mask. One idea that can help students be successful in school is to ask them to wear a mask at home when they are reading, video gaming or doing other activities that they enjoy to help us teach the necessity of wearing masks.  That small bit of assistance can go a long way to bridge the challenge of wearing masks at school.

    Parents of bus students should again review the requirements we have had to establish to provide physical distancing on the bus.  The link to the School Board adopted plan is available at this link:  https://www.ehps.k12.mt.us/cms/lib/MT01000580/Centricity/Domain/330/DISTRICT%20START%20UP%20PLAN.pdf

    Some parent questions have prompted the additional information and clarifications that follow:

    Distance Learning Forms are due by August 19th.  To get the Distance Learning Application Form, go to the front page of our website at www.ehps.k12.mt.us

    Additionally, in the case of a possible COVID 19, our school nurses and administration will work with the L & C County Health Department who will take the lead in determining how to act on quarantines and contact tracing.  The district will follow local county health department directives and guidance as to how we will communicate with parents under current health information privacy laws (HIPPA). It should be recognized that each case or situation will be different and therefore must be handled independently of other situations.  

    Band will be very limited this year due to class size and instruments that have the potential to blow air particles around the room.  A recent nationally recognized organization has posted some guidelines regarding band and choir that is being reviewed in preparation for having modified band and choir classes.

    Lunch fee subsidies or waivers are available.  The stresses put on families during the Coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on family income in a lot of our family households.  The district is here to help with making lunches more affordable to parents if you will take the time to fill out an application for assistance.  Please take the time to simply fill out the linked East Helena Public Schools electronic application for free and reduced-price meals for the USDA's National School Lunch & School Breakfast Programs.

    This interactive application will guide you through the application process.

    You cannot save and return to this application after you have started it. You will receive an application number for reference once you have submitted the application. You will need to provide information regarding DOBs, grades, schools, and income information for children and adults in your household, as well as case numbers for SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR assistance programs. When you are ready to apply, click this Get Started button to begin.

    If you would like to apply using the paper application, you can print it out, complete it, and then return it to us at 226 East Clinton Street, East Helena, MT, 59635.

    Kristen Lovaas
    Lunch Program Manager
    406-227-7712

    We are doing a limited amount of East Helena High School tours the week of September 8, 9 & 10.  If you are interested, there is registration for public tours.  You can send out this link and anyone with the link can sign-up. Each individual must sign up. Families must sign-up each member individually.

    General Tour – Tuesday, September 8, 4:00-5:45 pm (Tours depart every 15 minutes, 8 time slots total, last tour departs at 5:45 pm, 14 max attendees, plus 1 tour guide=15)
    https://doodle.com/poll/a2k9ntyuseffpycn

    Anyone that signs up must fill in an email and phone number. Mask information is included in the description.  We hope to send a reminder email prior to each tour. On the day of the tour, the tour guides will be provided with a list so they can check-in those that show up and make sure they are in the proper group/tour time.

    The latest School Opening Plan and a Statement from the school board can be accessed from this link:
    https://www.ehps.k12.mt.us/cms/lib/MT01000580/Centricity/Domain/330/DISTRICT%20START%20UP%20PLAN.pdf

    Thanks for your support of the East Helena Schools.

    Respectfully,

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent
    East Helena Public Schools


     

    EHPS District 2020-2021 School Start Up Plan

    Distance Learning Request Form 

    We have been advised today, August 12th during the 2:00 pm press conference with the Governor, that face shields are considered face coverings and will be allowed as part of the order and the school district requirements.
     

    August 7, 2020 
    Parent Letter/Survey/Draft Plan from the Superintendent

    Dear Parents and Community Members,

    The East Helena School District continues to work on a school startup plan that uses the best research on how to be as preventive of the spread of contagions as possible in a school setting.  There are still many details to work out as we adjust plans daily.  Everything is based on our current status in Phase 2 and the order to wear face masks when we cannot physically distance at least 6 feet apart. The operations of the district are founded on CDC, Lewis & Clark County Health Department, OPI and the State of Montana safety recommendations to educate the students in an environment that promotes good hygiene, safety practices and disease prevention.  Should the CDC, Governor or the L & C County Health Department provide additional direction, the school district is prepared to quickly communicate to parents and to change instruction within a very short amount of time to adjust to any new directives.  

    Below is a very rough outline of the plan for operation of the schools in the current Phase 2 scenario.  As you reflect on this new information please help us yet again to narrow down some of the variables that will drive our startup planning.

    Click here to access the latest school survey.  

    And thank you for your patience and understanding during this tumultuous time.

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent

     

    Draft District School Start-Up Plan

    Dear Parents,

    The start of this new school year is a change from the normal start in the last few years.  This pandemic has changed the way that the state and the country do business, and so will that become apparent in the East Helena Schools. Though each school will have its own unique issues in providing safety-minded practices, in general, however, the district will implement safety measures as stated here to minimize the spread of all contagions, but targeted at the COVID 19 pathogen.  

    Please be aware that though these plans are current, that the ever-changing landscape suggests a need for flexibility and understanding.  Please be patient and take great care to do your part to make this workable and protective of the health and safety of our students and staff.

    Phase II EHPS School openings under the current Governor’s Order:

    • Under Phase II the schools will open on August 26th with in-person classroom instruction.
    • Distance learning instruction will be an option for some students as appropriate and approved using the Parent Distance Learning Request Form
    • Current planning is subject to change from the school district or by order of the Governor or County Health Department.

    Student expectations and limitations:

    • Face masks will be required of all students and staff in most settings when optimal social distancing cannot occur or when medically fragile or immunocompromised students or staff are present.  
    • Students are expected to provide their own preference of appropriate face mask as part of their regular school supplies.
    • Teachers will work with students to routinely and regularly wash their hands or use hand sanitizer in the classrooms.
    • Teachers and other staff will conduct temperature checks of all students daily along with asking screening questions.  
    • Students will be asked to use their own school supplies and not “share” as has been the practice in the past.

     Students exhibiting flu-like symptoms will:

    • Students exhibiting flu-like symptoms that may or may not include a temp of 100.4 or higher will be sent home.  
    • Staging areas for symptomatic or sick students are established at each school.
    • Parents will be asked to pick up their students quickly that is found to have a temperature over 100.4 degrees or exhibiting symptoms.  Link to Symptoms.
    • The student should not return to school until they have been cleared by the school nurse who will be in contact with the County Health Department.

    Grouping and Scheduling

    • Students will be assigned to a “cohort” or team of 2 teachers in the elementary schools
    • High school and middle school students will use an extended period block schedule to minimize contact with other students.
    • High School and Middle School students will go immediately to their morning block class instead of gathering in homerooms.
    • All Students will be assigned entrance doors by cohort and asked to social distance when entering and exiting the buildings.
    • Physical distancing for all students will occur whenever possible and appropriate to the activity.
    • All students will be dismissed on a staggered system from the buildings.
    • Many hallways, when feasible, are being marked for directional traffic.
    • Some student events, where the adequate physical spacing between seats and rows can be maintained, may occur in limited situations.

    Parents are asked to take precautionary steps to ensure student and staff safety:

    • Parents should closely monitor student wellness to watch for symptoms of COVID 19.  Link to Symptoms.
      • In particular, checking each morning for a fever of 100.4 or higher
      • Having students sanitize or wash their hands before leaving for school.
      • Question your child about how they feel before they leave for school.
      • Keep your child at home if they are sick or exhibiting symptoms of an illness.
    • If a student exhibits symptoms or has been potentially exposed to COVID 19, then they must stay home from school and they should seek medical attention.  
    • The student may not return to school until they have been cleared by a medical professional and/or the County Health Department.
    • If you, or your medical professional, believe that your child may be exhibiting symptoms or had exposure to COVID 19, you should also contact the L & C County Health Department Nurse at 457-8900.  

    Transportation and Busing:

    • Parents are being encouraged to transport students to and from school whenever possible to decrease the number of riders on buses.
    • Unfortunately, the shuttle bus option for students before and after school has been discontinued due to crowding and limiting close contact in large groups.  
    • As staff and time allow, a walking shuttle group may be an option at the end of the school day between Radley and Eastgate.
    • Only students assigned to a bus route will be allowed on a bus.  
    • Buses are being limited to 24 family groups per bus.  
      • Families of children will be required to sit in one seat on the bus.
      • Single students without siblings will be assigned to one seat.
      • Students will be required to wear masks
      • Students will be screened at the door of the bus with questions about how they are feeling before being allowed to enter the bus.
    • Parents should wait at the bus stop until the bus pulls away with your child in case there is evidence of exposure to COVID or the student has been declined transportation due to symptoms of illness.
    • Students who refuse to wear a mask on the bus will not be allowed to ride.

    Access to the buildings by parents and other adults will be limited:

    • In order to protect our medically fragile and immunocompromised students and staff members limited access to the buildings will be maintained.
    • Under the current Phase II scenario parents and other visitors will be expected to remain at the office area and not allowed in the hallways beyond the office
    • Parents and visitors are expected to wear a mask while in the building, immediately upon entering and throughout being present in the building.

    Large Gatherings and Assemblies:

    • Assemblies, open houses, performances have all been postponed or canceled as a result of Phase II restrictions.  Once we feel it is safe or we move to Phase III these restrictions may change.  
    • The cafeteria will be only used by individual cohorts in assigned areas or as social distancing allows.
    • Lunch will be served in individual classrooms or cohorts.
    • When space allows, cohorts may be allowed an assigned playground area for morning recess, lunch recess, afternoon recess, or instruction as space and scheduling make possible.  
    • Students arriving in the morning are being asked to head to their classrooms upon arrival after 7:55 am or as soon after as the school doors open.
    • There will not be supervision on the playgrounds and parents and students are asked to not arrive at school prior to the school doors opening.  
    • Some student events, where the adequate physical spacing between seats and rows can be maintained, may occur in limited situations.

     Hallways/Lockers/Playgrounds

    • Hallway traffic will be one way whenever possible.
    • Student Lockers are not being offered, so a sturdy backpack is being suggested as part of the school supply list in middle school and high school.
    • Procedural expectations will be taught within the content classes to accommodate physical distancing and safe practices.
    • When space and time allow, cohorts may be allowed an assigned playground area for morning recess, lunch recess, and afternoon recess.  
    • Physical exercise and recess time will be coordinated when possible by teachers in cohort groups.

    Meals and Cafeteria

    • Student meals will be served in cohort classrooms.
    • Special effort is being made to provide variety and nutritious hot and cold meals to students in the classroom.
    • Routines and procedural expectations will be taught to accommodate physical distancing and safe practices. 
    • Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings during the classroom serving time and during preparation.
    • Staff will maintain the cleanliness of tables and seats between meal periods. Students and staff will maintain food allergy awareness and protocols
    • Transition to service in the cafeteria will take place as safe practices can facilitate individual service.

    Organized Activities/Extracurricular

    • The District will post signs and floor markings to encourage physical distancing and safety precautions.
    • The District will limit the occupancy of events to follow the current State or County Health Officials guidelines. 
    • Events may be staggered, offered with limited viewership, or canceled. The District may require attendance sheets or seating charts for events to assist with contact tracing. The District may require Health Screening for all those in attendance. Face masks and coverings may be required for all those in attendance, depending on the event and venue. Coaches, supervisors, and building facilitators are responsible for securing and then disposing of health screening forms, when applicable, for the length of time designated by health officials. Hand sanitizing stations will be available at events. Students, faculty, staff, and approved visitors should follow the expectations of the District which promotes healthy habits and reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus within our community.
    • Organizations and groups using the facility will be limited and require special approval of the superintendent or designee. All organizations will be required to follow District expectations and safety guidelines. Although we are not sanctioned under the Montana High School Association, we will utilize their safety practices if we decide to offer athletics this school year.  More information will be available as updated. https://www.mhsa.org/covid.

    Educational Delivery of Face to Face Learning

    • The District will provide face-to-face learning in a traditional school setting with the modifications, protocols, and requirements put into place for student/staff safety. 
    • The accommodations and remediation for students who need support are being addressed in preparation for school reopening.  
    • The expectations of our classroom teachers have been adjusted in order to provide the best educational experience possible given the current circumstances.  

    Educational Delivery of Distance/Remote Learning

    • We will make arrangements to provide full-time remote opportunities to students and families who require this model of instruction and will utilize district emergency COVID-19 Board Policy 1908 as a guide. Because of the staffing needs for remote learning, students and families are asked to make a quarter/trimester or semester-long commitment to this endeavor.  
    • EHPS has established a protocol for enrolling in remote learning that includes: 
      • Parents must complete a remote learning request form to receive permission for students to participate in off-site instruction; 
      • This contract will need to be signed along with expectations outlined for parents and students; 
      • Grades may be altered and be assigned for remote learning courses as pass/fail based on proficiency learning criteria 
      • If a student has an active 504 Plan or IEP, the district will help determine if the accommodations and support can be delivered remotely or will need to be modified. 

    Should Phase I be ordered by the Governor:

    • Under Phase I the schools will send students home to immediately to begin Distance Learning
    • Limited Chromebook or iPad checkout can occur with an application and certification that there is good internet access at home
      • School hours will be observed for Distance Learning instruction and access to staff
      • A more rigorous and high-performance instructional system will be instituted using Google Classroom as the base platform.
      • Student assessment and grading will be ongoing and based upon proficiency in accomplishing the goals of the school district adopted curriculum.
    • Limited student access to schools will continue for the highest need students on a case by case basis.

     


    Our plan was created utilizing the following plans as guidance:

    Office of Public Instruction      http://opi.mt.gov/Re-opening-Schools
    Governor’s Plan                   https://covid19.mt.gov/Portals/223/Documents/Education%20Final.pdf
    Academy of Pediatricians         https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novelcoronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinicalguidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-toin-person-education-in-schools/
    CDC Reopening Schools https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/reopening-schools.html


    July 16, 2020 (3:30 PM)
    Parent Letter from the Superintendent 7/16/2020

    Dear Parents,

    The Coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and challenge us in our planning for the 2020-21 school year.  As of last evening, the Governor has made a new order that indoor public places require the wearing of a mask to be in the building.  If the Governor’s mandate is still in effect when we return to school on August 26, 2020, we will be requiring students and staff to wear face masks while at school and on school buses. 

    We wanted to take a quick break from this beautiful Montana summer to remind parents of our planning for the 2020-21 school year.  Of course, as this dynamic situation unfolds, all plans are subject to change, but as of the date of this letter, all students are invited to attend school as scheduled this fall.  We will offer remote learning for students that have medical and family reasons for not being in attendance.  With few exceptions, school attendance is in the best interest of student learning.  COVID-19 considerations will require some significant changes to the school day.  Buses will run their routes, but we have to limit the number of riders on buses.   The need to limit the mixing and exposure of students as much as possible will require us to eliminate the shuttle bus service that we have offered in the past.  Only route-specific students will be allowed on buses before and after school and will be assigned to one family group to a seat.   Brothers and sisters will be asked to sit in the same seat with each other but all others will have to sit one to a seat.  We are aware that some families depended on shuttle buses, so we are glad that there are now sidewalks or a very well maintained trail between ALL of the East Helena Schools.  Students can walk on a sidewalk from any school to another safely.  

    As we fine-tune our plan, here are some other planning ideas for parents to be considering in minimizing the risk of exposure for our students and staff: 

    • Parents should assess their child’s health and wellness each day prior to sending children to school and have them wash their hands,
    • Teachers will ask wellness questions and check temperatures each day before starting class,
    • If a child becomes ill at school, he or she will need to be picked up right away,
    • Students will be asked to use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands frequently throughout the day,
    • There will likely be pick up and drop off locations assigned by class or grade at each school,
    • Pick up and drop off time windows will be narrower than in the past - expect 15 minutes before and after school as the appropriate window for drop off and pick up,
    • Before or after school tutoring/enrichment classes cannot be offered until the rate of spread and active infection in our area has declined significantly,
    • Middle school and high school students should expect a block schedule that reduces the number of classes and transitions during the day,
    • Due to restrictions on cafeteria usage, most, if not all students will be eating lunch in classrooms,
    • Some classes, such as PE and band/choir may look radically different than in years past,
    • We will be following MHSA and County health guidelines regarding sporting events, travel, and spectators.

    Certainly, this has many challenges, but you are accustomed to the school district erring on the side of caution for the sake of our students. 

    It’s with much sadness that Principal Jill Miller has decided to move on and pursue other interests.  She was heartbroken to leave the children and the community that she had served for more than 20 years.  

    We are excited to introduce to you our new Eastgate and Prickly Pear Principal, Brandon Crusat.  Brandon comes to us from Idaho where he served as a distinguished principal in a larger school district.  He is very excited to bring his years of experience as a principal to this great community and our amazing kids.

    Thanks for your assistance in making this new school year a success for ALL students.


    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent


    June 9, 2020 (4:30 PM)
    Parent Letter from the Superintendent 6/9/2020

    Dear Parents,

    At the School Board Meeting on Monday night the Trustees heard of our planning for student instruction starting August 26, 2020.  Pending no change to the Phase 2 state alert, it is the intention of the School Board to bring students back to their school buildings for instruction.  However, the instruction will be delivered in a very different environment than when the students left on March 13th.  The district will follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), L & C County Health Department, OPI, and the State of Montana safety recommendations to educate the students in an environment that promotes hygiene, safety practices, and disease prevention.   

    More directly, the schools are working on tentative plans to create schools within a school.  The current thought is to organize grade levels into groups of two teacher teams throughout the Pre-K to 5 grades.  These teaching teams would be less than 50 students in total.  The students in each team would have common recess times as well as drop off and pick up areas, a.k.a quadrants.  Phase II status would also result in the closure of school cafeterias with all meals consumed in classrooms.  Frequent hand washing and sanitizing would take place in classrooms.  Though face masks can not be required according to Board Policy, they are encouraged by the schools. Using separate building exit and entry points by assigned ‘cohort’ or teaching team will also be a common practice. Social distancing will be promoted.

    In middle school and high school, a challenge we face is minimizing passing time between classes. The administration has devised a block schedule that could significantly reduce the risks due to the close proximity of kids passing in the hallway.   In our current tentative plan we are exploring a morning block and an afternoon block each day.  Students would arrive at school in the morning and immediately go to their first-period class on the first day of the week.  They would attend class first period all morning until lunchtime.  Using a creative movement system in shifting from morning block to afternoon block, students would go to the 2nd period in the afternoon, where they would remain until dismissal time.  Then, on the 2nd day of the week, students would go to third-period class in the morning and 4th period in the afternoon.  This pattern would continue each day until the 7th period is on the morning of the 4th day and the whole pattern would start over with the 1st period that afternoon.  

    In this design, students would get ALL of their regularly scheduled classes including electives like welding, culinary arts, photography, creative arts, etc.  Additionally, once the all-clear order from the Governor is announced that moves us to Phase III, we can quickly transition back into the normal 7 periods per day schedule complete with lunch.

    The district will also prepare for a possible Phase II A week and B week schedule as another option should more extensive restrictions suddenly be required.    In the event that the Phase is changed back to Phase I, the district will immediately return to distance learning once again.  If Phase 3 arrives prior to August 26, we will cautiously return to the regular school day we have known for the last several years.

    The district will offer a very limited distance learning option for students who have identified significant health risks or elderly family members living in the home.  Distance learning will be much more rigorous than previously offered and will have required attendance and graded work with high expectations.  Grading will be more detailed and require a more robust demonstration of learning on the part of the student than what was required this spring.

    As you reflect on this new information please help us yet again to narrow down some of the variables that will drive our decision making.  Click here to access a link to the school survey…

    And thank you for your patience and understanding in this tumultuous time.

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent


    May 27, 2020 (2:30 PM)
    Parent Letter from the Superintendent 5/27/2020

    Dear Parents,

    As we continue in the distance learning model for the remainder of this school year we know the challenges kids are facing emotionally and mentally as they experience the loss of interactions with their teachers and with their friends.  Further, it is becoming clear that stress on the parents is also felt by their children and, although not consciously manifested, internally it stresses children in the home as well. We encourage you to be watchful for signs of mental anguish and stress that may have harmful effects on your children.  Many resources are available to assist you if your child’s physical or mental health begins to decline or becomes worrisome. Act quickly by contacting our school counselors, your child’s teacher or other school staff.  We can help by finding services in the community to avoid potential problems.   

    One of the terrible hardships faced by families during this crisis has been the reduction in work opportunities for the adults in the home.  If you have been affected by a reduction in income or reduced work, we would encourage you to immediately contact the school to consider applying for breakfast/lunch assistance at school.  By applying now, reduced price or free meals could be available to your student(s) in the fall once school resumes.  The income qualifications on the forms rely on your CURRENT income.  If you have had a change in income, now is the time to ask the building secretary to send you a free and reduced lunch application to complete and return to school.  Not only does this help with your monthly expenses it also helps the school district to qualify for additional Federal financial assistance.  Free breakfast/lunch will remain available like they are presently until mid August to all District residents under the age of 19.

    The COVID - 19 restrictions are going to affect bussing this fall.  At this moment we recognize that the school district will not be able to safely shuttle large numbers of students between schools. However, as support for students walking between schools because of the loss of the shuttle system there is a new sidewalk under construction that will provide kids with a safe and maintained walkway between EVMS and Eastgate.  So this means there will now be a complete flat, safe, maintained and continuous walkway all the way from Prickly Pear School to Radley to EVMS and a new section to Eastgate School!  

    If you have questions or wish to complete the lunch form please contact your schools.  We look forward to having your student(s) back on campus for the 2020-21 school year!  

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent

     


    May 15, 2020 (11:00 AM)
    Parent Letter from the Superintendent 5/15/2020

    Dear Parents,

    Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented emergency situation.  I know you are working hard to try to keep your children’s safety and learning at heart.  Please know that the school district teachers and administrative staff are hurting from not having your children here at school like we really want. It’s just not prudent at this time to be less careful.

    Please know that we are doing everything in our power to vision what the future holds.  We have been watching how the entire world and our own State and Country are responding to delivering education in schools.  In spite of the greatest communication network ever known to man, we still, unfortunately, have very limited information on how many cases of COVID there will be in East Helena, Montana in August or how to safely operate a school system.  

    What we do know is that the Governor has restricted what we can do under the Phase 1 order.  Essentially our hands are tied by the fact that we can have no more than 10 individuals in one area at one time.  This makes it impossible for us to conduct school as normal without directly violating a State order with 20 and 30 kids in each classroom.  We anticipate that we will move to Phase 2 in the not too distant future, but even then, all of the distancing orders will still apply.  In Phase 2 we can have up to 50 kids in one area.  However, since every building has more than 175 students and as many as 500 students we have to divide to comply with that order.  We believe that in Phase 2 we can at least fill classrooms with closer to the normal number of kids and still be in compliance as long as we don’t come together in larger groups.  Our surveys are trying to get your input on how many kids may attend school in August and how many parents will want their children to continue to remotely receive instruction.  Survey results are indicating a growing number of people (>50%) are now willing to send their students to school as compared to three weeks ago (<50%).   

    But we are still struggling trying to figure out how to operate with less than 50 in a group.  Such issues and questions still remain unknown like….  how will 2 classes of students move in the hallways in groups of less than 50 at a time, how will we provide kids with lunch in groups of less than 50 at a time, how will we handle or even be allowed to have recess since playgrounds are closed, how will we provide bussing with less than 50 kids on a bus and recommended to have 1 per seat when there are only 26 seats, and, and, and... 

    In attempting to get feedback from families with the surveys it is our attempt to gather input from families in small amounts so as not to overwhelm you or us with too much information. Each tidbit of information has a purpose to help us know what parents want and to answer a current pressing planning question.  Each question gives us a glimpse of the unique needs and wants of our parents.  All of these questions continue to allow us to make educated guesses at how we can thoughtfully return to school on August 26th.  Be strong and be as tolerant as you can, this is very trying for all of us.  We are working daily trying to predict the future, but it is not a very clear picture yet.  We hope to better be able to send parents a more decisive layout of the August 26th start-up by mid-July.  There are just endless ramifications of every decision. 

    One way that each family can help the school district to craft a vision for August is to continue to answer our surveys and to follow the health and social distancing recommendations.  By practicing these guidelines at home, your students will be better prepared to act similarly at school.  Thanks for your understanding the complexities of the planning with so many unknowns.  We are doing our best to consider every option and implement appropriate precautions to build an excellent plan for August. 

    Thanks.

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent


    May 6, 2020 (4:00 PM)
    School Closure Update 5/5/2020

     Please follow the link below for an update regarding East Helena Public Schools continuing distance learning for the remainder of the school year.

    https://helenair.com/news/local/east-helena-schools-to-continue-distance-learning-for-remainder-of-year/article_442a8318-ff8a-5cda-ab1a-b0ce240e73e9.html


    April 28, 2020 (4:00 PM)
    Parent Appreciation for Responding to the Survey

    Dear Families of East Helena School Students,

    Thank you for taking the survey regarding the School Impact from the Coronavirus over the weekend.  We had an overwhelming response!  From our latest records we had nearly 1,000 people reply out of the approximately 900 families in the school district.

    Certainly you are wondering what information we were able to gather from the responses.  The school board will look at the responses in more detail, but indeed there is much fear about the coronavirus and how it will impact families, especially those individuals with asthma and other health risks that make them more susceptible from complications from COVID 19.  That question had our highest input.  

    Though not an overwhelming majority like the previous question, still a majority of respondents were worried about the loss of socialization for their children during the closure.  The majority of parents feel like school closure is the best option, 77% favor full closure or a modified attendance schedule as we look at the end of this year and into the August 28th opening this fall.

    Unfortunately we are seeing that only 14% of our families are taking advantage of the totally free lunch available daily at Radley and Eastgate school.  Those lunches are free to ALL children 18 years old and younger each day and come with breakfast for the following morning.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to complete the survey to help us with our decision making.

    The administrative team


    April 22, 2020 (4:00 PM)
    Gov. Bullock Update 4/22/2020

    Parents and Community Members,

    East Helena Schools has always had the best interest of students at heart under all types of critical situations.  With the Governor’s disclosure today of lifting some of the restrictions on the stay at home order and the eventual lifting of the order for school closures, your Board of Trustees and administrative staff will be working on plans to ensure the safety of all of our children, their families and our staff in light of this pandemic. Certainly, hasty decisions by your school district team would be inappropriate during such a crucial period.  Keep watching the school district website, Facebook, emails and messaging from the school for up to the minute information as we examine the new orders by the Governor and the research on caring for the health and welfare of our students.

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent

     


    April 17, 2020 (9:00 AM)
    School Closure Update 4/17/2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    Greetings from East Helena Public Schools!  We hope this letter finds you and your family safe and in good health.  Our nation, state, and community are in the midst of very challenging conditions that have significantly disrupted our previous sense of normalcy.  We want to extend our appreciation and gratitude to all of you for your willingness to partner with us to keep the focus of our efforts on our most important assets, the 1300+ students of the East Helena Public School District.

    Governor Bullock’s current public school closure extends through Friday, April 24 and is accompanied by a ‘shelter in place’ order.  The probability that the current closure will be extended for an additional two weeks appears likely. Teachers, instructional tutors, and paraprofessionals have been working either on-site or remotely in preparing both hard copy and electronic remote learning materials for all students.  The next round of materials will be available at each school beginning on the following day and time: 

    School Date & Time
    Eastgate Elementary Thur., April 16 11:00-4:00 Fri., April 17 8:00-3:00
    Prickly Pear Elementary Already distributed
    Radley Elementary Monday, April 20, noon to 6:30, 8-4:00 4/21-4/23
    East Valley Middle & East Helena High Schools Monday, April 20 noon - 4:00 PM*

    *Note- EVMS/EHHS Packets are only necessary if you have no device or internet access.  We can also deliver packets, call 227-7740 to arrange delivery.

    Teachers will utilize the above distribution dates for new two-week materials disbursement and return work previously reviewed.  Recently completed work can be left at the school site(s) at this time as well, to be distributed to appropriate staff for review.  

    When students are physically in attendance in classrooms, grading at each level is based on guided/independent practice, homework, student participation, projects, assessments, etc.  During the current closure, the grading process used at each school site will undergo some modifications to take into consideration the extent to which adult assistance is available for each student, the reduced amount of direct contact with classroom teachers, the amount of technological resources available in the home as well as other family situations/conditions that may inhibit a student’s access to his/her education off-site.  

    All student work completed and returned either via hard copy or electronically will be reviewed by the appropriate staff member with feedback provided.  Following the District’s remote learning closure plan approved by the Office of Public Instruction, our staff will be looking for indicators of proficiency on all returned work and noting the completion of the assignment in grade books.  A consistent pattern of work completed at or above grade level proficiency levels may result in a quarter 4 or trimester 3 grade over and above what was reported on the previous report card. Thank you in advance for your patience as we work to establish a revamped grading system that remains flexible and attempts to account for these new challenges both you and your student(s) are now facing.  

    In closing, thank you for supporting your public schools in East Helena.  The administrative staff remains in awe at the time and effort each staff member is putting forth to ensure that our students and their families receive any and all services needed and available.  We miss each and every one of them and anxiously looks forward to the day when our halls and classrooms reverberate with the sounds of their return! Stay safe.

    Sincerely,
    East Helena Public Schools Administrative Team

     


    March 23, 2020 (1:00 PM)
    School Closure Update 3/23/2020

    Note to Parents and Guardians,

    Re: School Closure Update March 23, 2020.

    Dear Parents,

    The School District would like to update you at this one week juncture in regards to the school closure situation.  Please know that your EHPS staff has been tireless in their efforts in crafting a manner in which we can deliver instruction.  Thank you for your patience as we work through unforseen hurdles as remote learning is put in place across the nation. 

    We recognize that communication challenges have and will continue to arise.  If you would share an email with your children’s teacher(s) indicating the best time(s) and method to communicate for your student, we can strengthen this connection.  If you have not received any form of communication from the classroom teacher, please contact your child’s school office for assistance.

    • Eastgate - 227-7770
    • Prickly Pear - 227-7720
    • Radley - 227-7710
    • EVMS - 227-7740
    • EHHS - 227-7730

    Our food service staff is preparing a free grab and go lunch and next morning’s breakfast daily for students.  There are distribution sites at Radley and at Eastgate Schools that are open from 11:00 AM through 1:00 PM each weekday, excluding Spring Break.  EVERY child under 18 can eat for free. If your child rides a bus, these meals are also available weekdays at your student’s bus stop, exactly four hours later than their regular morning boarding time.   

    The percentage of K-5 students that are following through with iReady Math is impressive and steadily on the rise!   The loss of direct instruction time at school for students is unprecedented. We recognize the challenge put in front of many parents in arranging  daycare coupled with the loss of teacher interactions and instruction.  

    As of Monday March 23, the school buildings will be locked.  We encourage you to call ahead and make an appointment should you need building access or to speak to an employee. This will also be the case for the Central Office as well.  Please dial (406) 227-7700 to discuss your need for assistance and Central Office staff will be more than happy to assist you. 

    Each District school is working to develop a dropbox system for students and parents to be able to return completed packets and share other pertinent information. Postal service mail remains a very good choice for delivering work back to the schools.  All school mail arrives at PO Box 1280 East Helena, MT 59635.  

    For additional information on the health risks and appropriate practices, please consult this COVID-19 fact sheet from the CDC available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-h.pdf. 

    Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we deal with this extensive disruption to our normal life.  We hope that this pandemic will begin to lessen soon. However, we anticipate the current two week closure will be extended by Governor Bullock. By remaining strong and resilient, we will create great things in the wake of this cloud. I am very proud of my trusted staff and appreciative of your willingness to work with us to keep your children engaged in learning in this difficult time. 

    East Helena Schools Administrative Staff, Mr. McMahon, Ms. Miller, Mr. Murgel, Mr. Rispens, Ms. Stoltz and Superintendent, Ron Whitmoyer

     


    March 17, 2020 (4:00 PM)
    Update: Student Packets and Related Information

    Dear Parents,

    We appreciate your continued patience with our work to provide remote learning for students as was directed by our EHPS School Board of Trustees on Sunday.  As part of the amazing work by your teaching and support staff, your children may have already received electronic communications giving them direction on how to access their education; or, you have been informed that student work packets will be available starting tomorrow. Student work packets will be available at each of the schools where your children attend as shown below: 

    Eastgate Elementary - Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Prickly Pear Elementary - Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Radley Elementary - Wednesday 12:00 to 4:00 PM, Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    East Valley Middle School - Wednesday 12:00 to 4:00 PM, Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    East Helena High School - Wednesday 12:00 to 4:00 PM, Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

    Limited Chromebooks will be available at Radley Elementary and East Valley Middle School on Wednesday, March 18th from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM.  Families will be required to read and sign a Checkout Form for District Technology stating the requirements and responsibility of the device as well as the Acceptable Use Policy.  We ask that families consider their true need for a device as we want to ensure students that have no other available device are able to continue their education with their peers.  

    The East Helena School District will also be offering "Grab and Go" sack lunches on weekdays starting at 11:00 AM and continuing until 1:00 PM tomorrow through March 27 at Eastgate School and Radley School parking lots.  There will be no sack lunches over Spring Break, which is being observed as scheduled, nor on the weekends. A very limited number of Chromebooks will be available for our neediest families starting tomorrow at noon (grades 3-9).  Those will need to be checked out in the school offices following completion of the necessary paperwork. 

    It's imperative that parents communicate their most current contact information.  Additionally, student contact information would be extremely helpful such as working phone numbers (as applicable) in order to be contacted directly by staff.  Students and parents should be expecting phone calls from staff to help students with questions and/or completion of their school work. Librarians have made online E-Books available to students as well, so check for information from your librarians about that opportunity. 

    Bus route homes have been receiving phone calls to set up bus stop dropoff for Grab and Go lunches as well.  If you have not received a call and your child is a bus student, please call us to check on the time for delivery at your bus stop (227-7700). 

    We have received information from Spectrum that they will install internet access in homes for two free months.  Hookup fees may apply and if ongoing internet service is not desired after the two-month introductory period it is imperative that parents call and request a disconnect of the service.  By not doing so, automatic recurring billing will be charged against your credit card. Parents can contact Spectrum at 844-488-8398. 

    Please know that your dedicated professional EHPS staff is at your service during this health pandemic and will be working diligently to continue student learning as optimally as possible. 

    As always, please contact your schools with any questions or to update contact information as we reach out to you and your EHPS student(s). 

    East Helena Schools Administrative Team and Superintendent Whitmoyer


    March 16, 2020 (12:00 Noon)
    Update: EHPS School Closure Information (Student Learning)

    Dear Parents,

    This morning your East Helena teachers arrived at work to put together learning opportunities for kids as we face this two-week closure and closure for the scheduled spring break.

    The plan is to have learning packets, materials, and novels available for kids from their teachers to cover the 10 day period of lost instruction ready by Wednesday at noon.  We will have learning packets and information on the website and teacher website pages where students can get their electronic learning materials, also by noon on Wednesday. Parents can come to each school on Wednesday afternoon to pick up student packets and in very limited quantities possibly check out a Chromebook*.  

    As we work through this extreme situation, know that your teaching staff has your children as a primary concern and are diligently working to minimize the impact on student learning from this closure.

    Lunch and breakfast are being served today and tomorrow at Eastgate and Radley School for students.  The scheduled hours are: 7:30 - 8:30 am for breakfast and 11:00 - 1:00 pm for lunch.

    Starting on Wednesday, a grab and go sack lunch will be available for any person under the age of 18 for free in the front of Radley and Eastgate School between the hours of 11:00 am - 1:00 pm for lunch.

    Parents are encouraged to contact the school that have no access to electronic materials for kids.  Work packets will be made available that are printed and either available for pick up or that can be mailed home.  

    Please watch for further information on our website, e-alerts, Facebook posts and emails to stay informed about this rapidly changing situation.  We do appreciate your patience as we navigate uncharted waters. 

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent 

    *More information to come.


    March 15, 2020 (8:30 PM)
    Immediate EHPS School Closure

    Dear Families,

    Due to the declaration this afternoon from Governor Bullock, the East Helena Public Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 and then followed by Spring Break (March 30 – April 3).

    The schools will be providing breakfast and lunch on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 at Radley and Eastgate. EVMS will have breakfast only on Monday, March 16.

    The school buildings will be open tomorrow for parents and students to collect learning materials and personal belongings for continued instruction from home. More details to follow in the coming days from your administration.

    Thank you for your patience!

    Ron Whitmoyer, Superintendent

      


    March 14, 2020 (1:30 PM)
    Information Update to East Helena Community

    Dear Families,

    The intent of this letter is to keep our staff and families informed of the most recent and current information we have available regarding the coronavirus. While the symptoms of the coronavirus for the majority of people may be mild (especially for children), we do know that coronavirus can be very severe for a number of individuals; these patients may even require medical treatment. For that reason, on Friday superintendents from across the State including East Helena had a teleconference meeting with the Montana Office of Public Instruction to discuss the statewide implementation of precautions. It is important to note that the Montana Office of Public Instruction nor the Lewis and Clark County Health Department is recommending that we close schools at this time.  Therefore, our schools remain open at this time.

    However, we are using this opportunity to plan ahead and communicate with all of our families. There have been four confirmed coronavirus cases in Montana as of Saturday morning. This situation remains very fluid, with our schools receiving information daily and sometimes hourly. We will continue to meet with area school districts this week and our Lewis and Clark County Health Department because our communities are interconnected.

    Guidelines for School Closure

    In the event we have a confirmed case of coronavirus in or associated with a school in the East Helena area, we will work collaboratively with the local health officials to determine the next steps. Currently, our best information indicates that school closure for periods of less than 8 to 20 weeks has less impact on the spread of the disease than using good hygiene, sick students and staff resting at home and practicing targeted cleaning procedures.  However, under limited severe situations, our plan may include closing impacted schools. A closure would:

    • Give local health officials and school staff time to assess the exposure of the known case within the school and trace the person’s contact history;
    • Allow school officials time to perform a thorough cleaning of the school, with particular attention to areas frequented by the known case; 
    • Provide time for public health staff, assisted by school staff, to identify and communicate with families of students or staff who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus due to an underlying health condition;
    • Create time for the school to prepare for possible virtual learning or take-home work that would allow students who may miss a significant period of time (due to quarantine or underlying health issues) to be supported and continue their education; and,
    • Develop a plan to provide for additional support as needed once the school re-opens.

    Recommendations for Spring Break Travel

    As spring break approaches, be aware that travel to some areas may result in restrictions for school attendance upon return. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel advisories for areas experiencing the coronavirus epidemic. Right now, the CDC is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Europe. 

    You can check for updates at the following site:

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html 

    Please note that:

    • Any staff or a student returning from a CDC designated Level 3 location will be required to stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States. (These advisories can change on short notice, as the disease spreads. If staff or students travel to a location that is added to the list at the end of spring break, they will be held to the same standards.) 
    • Staff or students who return and are sick with a fever or cough or who have trouble breathing should call their health-care provider before seeking medical care in order to avoid spreading the disease to others in the medical setting. 
    • If a person has a respiratory infection and a fever after interacting with someone who recently traveled to an impacted area, he or she should call a health-care provider as soon as possible.
    • We acknowledge that postponing or canceling plans can be inconvenient and difficult, but we are asking staff and students to re-evaluate spring break plans if they intend nonessential travel.

    Recommendations for Nonessential Large Group Gatherings

    The East Helena School District will continue to seek the advice of the Lewis and Clark County Health Department and continue to evaluate nonessential large group gatherings. The purpose of this evaluation is to slow the rate at which people get sick in order to prevent overwhelming local hospitals and the healthcare system (often referred to as “flattening the curve”).

    We urge all staff, students, and community members to continue to follow the protocols recommended by healthcare professionals in order to protect yourself and prevent the spread of illness.  Frequent hand washing and coughing or sneezing into elbows are the most widely accepted means of slowing the spread of the disease.

    We will continue to communicate more information as it becomes available. Please continue to monitor the District’s webpage and other social media accounts for updates. 

    You may also find information on the Lewis and Clark County Health Department website at https://www.lccountymt.gov/health.html

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work together to keep our staff, students, and community safe. 

    Respectfully,

    Ron Whitmoyer

     Superintendent

     


    March 6, 2020
    Information Update to East Helena Community

    Dear Families,

    In response to the national health concern regarding the coronavirus, we are sharing the following information to assist in keeping our homes, schools, and community safe and healthy environments. 

    COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  This virus can cause respiratory symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe pneumonia. Cases have now been identified in Washington State, but there are no confirmed cases in Montana.  People at greatest risk are the elderly and those with existing health issues. 

    This virus spreads from person to person and is thought to mostly do this via respiratory droplets when coughing. The common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

    To reduce transmission of airborne illnesses including COVID-19, the CDC recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures:

    • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.
    • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then throw it in the trash can.
    • Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
    • Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

    Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak.  For more information from the Center for Disease Control, please click on the following links: 

    What you need to know about the Coronavirus.

    What to do if you suspect you may be infected with the Coronavirus.

    Some good reminders on germ management.

    While a new type of illness can be scary, we can protect our students, teachers, and the broader community by using these simple everyday actions that protect people from other types of respiratory viruses. Our teachers, school nurses, and staff are working carefully to encourage these simple and effective habits of frequent handwashing, covering every cough or sneeze, and cleaning classroom tables/surfaces frequently.  This is important not just to help prevent the spread of coronavirus but to also help prevent the spread of other infections that can lead to staff and student illnesses and absences. 

    Some specific steps our district may or have already taken to address concerns are:

    •       Cleaning schools on a regular basis with added precautions to disinfect hard surfaces and areas that have high use. 
    •       Working closely with other schools in our region, along with our local Lewis and Clark County Health Department, to determine best practices and possible conditions that could impact school schedules.  
    •       Staying in close contact with the Office of Public Instruction and the State of Montana DPHHS.   State information can be found at: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt

    Click here to watch a press conference conducted by the Governor’s office.

    •       Staying current on breaking news coming from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) directed at schools.  You can find additional information at  https://www.cdc.gov.
    •       Currently we are preparing to possibly offer virtual learning opportunities for 5th-9th grade students in the event of extended school absences from school as determined by health officials.

    As more information becomes available, we will keep information on our website up to date.

    Thanks,

    Ron Whitmoyer
    Superintendent

Announcements

  • Questions or Concerns?  Student and staff health safety is our top priority at East Helena Public Schools.  If you have a question, concern, or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know by calling (406) 227-7700.