KGVO spoke to MCPS Superintendent Dr. Rob Watson on Friday regarding the letter he and all the other AA School Superintendents signed expressing ‘no confidence’ in State OPI Superintendent Elsie Arntzen.

“We as Double-A superintendents have been talking with each other for quite a while now during the pandemic,” began Dr. Watson. “We talked with each other about protocols and how to approach things, and in the last few months or so, we've been chatting about just our general concern about the lack of support that we were getting from OPI and felt like it was necessary to put those concerns in a letter to Superintendent Arntzen so that she was aware of our concerns.”

Watson said in addition to many other concerns, he and other superintendents were not happy with the situation surrounding special education in Montana.

“One other concern is special education, though that's an area that's federally monitored. and so we want to make sure we're following the rules around that,” he said. “We frequently call OPI for help in that area that had quite a bit of turnover and have been without a special ed director for a while, and that's been causing us some concern.”

KGVO also asked Superintendent Watson about the criteria on the MCPS website regarding the mask mandate and what would have to occur to end it.

“One of the criteria is that we've given enough time for five to 11 year olds to get vaccinated and be fully immune so that criteria will actually be met that first week of January, that would be one that would be cleared,” he said.

Watson presented another important goal to be met before the MCPS could relax the mask mandate.

“The one that we're watching most closely is the community indicator related to incident rate,” he said. “It is looking much better than it did obviously in October and November. But that's also the one that goes back up quickly in cases of a spike. That's one that all of us are just going to have to watch over the next several weeks. If that stays really low, then I would think that would be the biggest hurdle that we need to overcome in between now and that first week of January.”

Click this link to see the MCPS protocol regarding the mask mandate.


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