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Butte school district determined to keep doors open as COVID-19 numbers rise

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Beset by new COVID-19 infections among students and staff, the Butte School District No. 1 plans to do all it can to keep school doors open and avoid remote learning.

That’s according to School Superintendent Judy Jonart, who said 46 new cases were recorded Friday. She said she wasn’t sure whether the omicron variant of COVID-19 was responsible for the new cases but that certainly seems possible.

"Our numbers are pretty high," Jonart said. 

Earlier this week, Marcee Cameron of the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department said omicron was “spreading like wildfire” in the region.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the omicron variant is highly contagious and has symptoms similar to a common cold.

“Our goal is to keep the doors open,” Jonart said. “We’re doing everything possible not to go remote. And we appreciate the cooperation of parents and the community.”

Meanwhile, the Butte School District continues to receive federal funding to help the district respond to the unprecedented pandemic.

In four installments to date, the district has received a total of about $18.3 million from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER.

ESSER funds are provided to state educational agencies and school districts to help them sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.

The Butte School District said the money has been used for technology, building improvements — including bathroom remodels, touchless sinks, drinking fill stations and more — as well as additional staff, personal protective equipment and cleaning equipment.

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