Shortly after the U.S. State Department warned Americans not to travel abroad due to the pandemic on Thursday, the state issued its own advisory urging those who have been outside the country to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Gov. Steve Bullock issued the advisory Thursday afternoon as students would typically be heading home from spring break and school would be getting ready to commence.
However, K-12 schools across the state are closed and university courses will move to online only.
“As Montanans return from spring break, Montanans who have been traveling internationally should take the proactive step to self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus in their community,” Bullock said in a release. “The ability to slow new infections is in our hands and our friends and neighbors are counting on us to do the right thing.”
Bullock on Thursday said a decision had not been made on a prolonged school closure, though one could be coming. The governor issued a temporary two-week closure last weekend to ensure schools had the space needed to plan for continued closures.
If an extended closure were issued, Bullock said, a district will not be required to reschedule time lost to in-person instruction because of the closure, so long as the board of trustees for the district approves the district’s plan that it has made up the lost instruction time through remote learning.
“We must ensure that students are still able to receive a quality education and the services Montana families rely on in the event of longer school closures,” Bullock said. “I recognize that decisions to close schools put an extra strain on families and we must do everything we can to ease the burden.”