Great Falls Central Catholic limits in-seat classes for the upcoming school year

HELENA- Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen released a statement following Governor Steve Bullock’s press conference Wednesday.

The statement says the governor had left the Office of Public Instruction “in the dark” in his decision-making related to the safe opening of schools.

The full statement from Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen:

“The Governor made a last-minute decision days before school begins and has once again left the Office of Public Instruction in the dark in his decision-making related to safely reopening schools. I have in multiple efforts asked for clarification and collaboration and the Governor continues to be vacant. Today’s decision to amend his mask directive to include schools is a prime example of his poorly timed and isolated decision-making. I was notified via email by a staffer, from the Governor’s Office, nine minutes before his press conference today that he would be issuing a mask mandate in Montana schools. Surveys and conversations with parents, teachers, and communities have already occurred at the local level as school boards determined their school safety reopening plans. School districts and communities will now have to go back to the drawing board. The Governor’s lack of acknowledgment of state education experts is a disservice to Montana’s students, families, and educators. In these uncertain times, there must be multiple voices, not just one voice, in protecting our students’ safety. I am truly disappointed in the Governor’s inability to engage in timely and collaborative discussions on one of the most important issues facing our state this fall. A winning combination for our Montana students is to show respect for and collaboration with school leaders and local communities in a timely manner.” - Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen

The governor's office issued a statement in response to Arntzen's letter saying: 

“We’re confused by the Superintendent’s inconsistency. Just days ago Superintendent Arntzen was praising the Governor for approving transportation funds she requested. Now she’s accusing the governor of not working with her despite having ample opportunity to participate in the discussion on masks. It seems the Superintendent is more interested in getting headlines than working together to get Montana kids back to school safely.”

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