Libby school board declares emergency status for district as COVID-19 cases increase across nation

March 20, 2020 8:19 AM

The Libby Public School Board voted unanimously to declare an unforeseen emergency during a special meeting March 18.

The declaration was intended to ensure the district continues to receive state funding during the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Libby, like other public school districts in the state, cancelled classes starting March 16 by order of Gov. Steve Bullock.

Bullock closed all public schools until at least March 27. At the same time, he curtailed nursing home visits and urged residents to avoid public gatherings. The move came just days after officials confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in Montana.

“This allows us to continue to collect our funds from the state despite [the crisis],” said Superintendent Craig Barringer. “We have policies that allow for offsite education, proficiency-based education.”

Barringer said the Montana School Boards Association recommended local bodies declare an emergency status. School Board member Bgee Zimmerman made the motion and fellow member George Woodruff seconded it.

School board members Lori Benson and Jeff Stevenson were not in attendance for the emergency session.