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Bozeman interim superintendent explains how surge in COVID cases led to return of mandatory masking

"Last week, we had 181 positive COVID cases between staff and students"
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 12:33:48-05

BOZEMAN - We’re currently seeing high transmission of COVID-19 within the Gallatin County community and that’s evident within the Bozeman School District as well.

“We’re certainly experiencing the Omicron surge within our community, within our school district and across the state of Montana," said Bozeman School District Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram. "Last week, we had 181 positive COVID cases between staff and students.”

Which is the highest number of cases the district has seen in a seven day average thus far.


“Today my ninth grader tested COVID positive," said one parent during public comments on Monday night. "She was at Bozeman High last week singing in choir class, dancing in gym class.”

The district’s COVID Task Force met last week which resulted in 4 recommendations, including returning high school students back to mandatory masking.

“Policy 1905, the masking policy to manage the current surge of omicron transmission," said Bertram. "That policy gives the superintendent flexibility to respond to highs and lows that we are seeing across the district and grade bands.”

Montana COVID-19 update: 1,520 new cases, 6 additional deaths

Another recommendation was to move away from close contact tracing within the district.

One, we can’t keep up,” Bertram noted.

There was only one public comment throughout the entire 4-hour meeting, and that was the father whose daughter has COVID.

I want to once again register my parental fury with the interim superintendent and his premature decision to let our guard down on COVID at exactly the wrong time," he said. "Correlation is not causation.”

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 24th.

The return to mandatory masking went into effect Monday, January 10th.