Email 20200803 Email to Families

Dear Lolo Families-

I am writing today with a back-to-school message the likes of which I could not have imagined at this time last year. I know it is a bit lengthy, but please bear with me and read the entire thing. Your family’s response to the survey at the end will provide critical information for our planning efforts and those of your family.

For five months, everyone has been swimming in a heavy flow of data and information regarding COVID-19. Early on, most folks were patient with new information and eager to do their part to help curb the spread. Unfortunately, the longer the crisis continues the more it becomes a divisive issue fueled by misinformation, opinions, politics, anxiety, and frustration. At the top of the hot topic list is if, how, or when to return to school. The safety of our students and the health of our community is a priority, and one we take seriously. It is clear that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but we are doing our best.

Lolo School is fortunate to have compiled a return to school committee that consists of parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, school nurse, maintenance, food service, trustees, and administration. From its first meeting, this team has focused on doing what is best for kids, staff, and their respective families. Doing so through the complex lens of a pandemic is new and challenging. The committee has considered a long and dynamic list of needs, recommendations, and directives from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Office of the Governor, the Montana Public Education Center, the Missoula City-County Health Department and others. The committee has also considered the data collected from the first survey last week (THANK YOU for responding). Based on what we know today, Lolo School will offer families two options for the 20-21 school year, each of which is described briefly in the following sections.

Learning at School
We have a wide variety of protocols prepared for in-person learning on the school site. By bringing kids and staff together on campus, risk of spreading disease naturally increases. Please browse this one page overview of our guiding framework. Pay particular attention to Phase 2, since we anticipate being in Phase 2 when school begins. The overview is not the comprehensive plan, but a framework outlining the areas in which the school continues to develop innumerable changes to our daily practice. The basic idea are that we ask parents to screen students at home for symptoms and keep them home if any are present, students will also be monitored for symptoms of illness while at school, gatherings will be limited, students will remain in somewhat static groups during the day, only essential visitors will be allowed on campus, and face coverings will be worn by everyone. In many cases, specialists will ‘push-in’ to the classroom instead of kids traveling to the specialist area. Recess schedules will be prepared so that smaller groups of students are using a playground at any time and disinfectant will be applied to the high-traffic equipment between recess groups to the extent possible. Restrooms and common areas will be disinfected more frequently during the day. Extracurricular activities will be modified or cancelled. The overarching purpose of all these measures is to promote healthy behavior, minimize mixing of students, reduce the numbers of contacts to trace in the event of a positive case, and mitigate as many risks as practical.

Learning from Home
Families who choose distance instruction at home will have a different experience than they have before. With a sizeable investment in professional development, equipment, and planning, teachers are better prepared than ever before to offer distance instruction. Learning at home will include synchronous instruction with live teachers, asynchronous assignments and learning, and opportunities for individual and small group work. Distance instruction teachers will be collaborating closely with their at-school colleagues to align pacing, assessments, depth and scope of instruction, etc. are aligned among at-school and at-home learners. Likewise, distance learners will be accountable for their work, participation, etc. just as if they were present on campus. Distance learners who wish to partake in the school meal program will be able to participate and arrangements will be made so that several meals can be picked up from the school perhaps twice each week. Note that we are returning to the usual free/reduced/paid meal structure.

Action! Our mutual commitment
We are pleased to offer these unprecedented options to our families during the pandemic crisis. We want kids to get what they need from school and families to feel safe and secure. By offering these options, the school will be allocating human and financial resources in brand new ways and these resources are not endlessly flexible. We will be making staff and student class placements for in-school and at-home learning, assigning teachers to work in different ways, and planning a budget for what we know today and can reasonably foresee for the upcoming fiscal year. Therefore, it is important for families to think in terms of the 20-21 school year when responding to the survey. The earliest the school might be able to entertain requests to change settings (home to school or school to home) would be during the winter break. That said, there is no way to predict what the circumstances might look like in December and we can’t guarantee that the option will be available at that time. Also note that parents with students in two households must coordinate with each other and choose only one option (a student cannot be a distance learner on certain days or weeks and an at-school learner other days or weeks).

The principals are your first point of contact for questions.
KG- 4th grade Principal Shawna Kientz
5th-8th grade Principal Kerrie Schneiter

Please respond this survey by 9am on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

Many thanks for your partnership in this endeavor.
Dale Olinger, Superintendent

Email 20200518 Email to Families

Dear Lolo Families-

We have a few updates regarding the last few weeks of school. Please see below.

Updated School Calendar

All schools in Montana are required to provide a minimum number of instructional hours each year to meet standards and maintain funding. We recognize that this school year has been challenging in many ways and want to adapt to the extent we can. At it's regular monthly meeting last Thursday, the Board of Trustees voted to adopt an adjusted calendar that meets the necessary requirements, but shortens the year. The last student day will be June 4, 2020 (previously June 9). Find the new calendar here. There is still a PIR day on Friday 5/22 and a school holiday on Monday 5/25. Teachers will not be available for student meetings or instruction on these days.

Learning Materials / Personal Items / Returning materials

Tuesday, May 26, 2020, will be last day teachers provide distance learning materials either online or via packets. This will also be the day we return students' personal items (desks, lockers, PE shoes, etc.) to families. We will also be collecting borrowed library books, band instruments, etc. To accommodate the increased volume of traffic, the upper parking lot will have extended hours of 11am- 5pm.

Please return:

  • Library books

  • Rented band Instruments

  • Any other school property no longer needed for distance instruction

Staff will be ready to hand out:

Final packet (if your student usually gets a packet)

Contents of student desks, cubbies, & lockers

PE shoes

We anticipate an increased volume of traffic and therefore the line to move a little more slowly than usual. In order to reduce traffic congestion, keep group sizes small, and maintain social distancing, we're asking folks to spread out over the entire window of time.


We will provide free grab-and-go breakfast & lunch most days from 10am-1pm (extended hours on Tuesday, 5/26). There will be no meals on Friday 5/22 or Monday 5/25. Our food service crew has provided over 13,000 meals to-date!

The school will continue to be a site for free meals through the summer. The program will be the same: free meals for anyone 18 years old and younger. The summer meal program will eventually be operated in partnership with the Missoula Food Bank.

Kindergarten Registration

We are currently registering students for fall 2020. If you or anyone you know will have a kindergartner this coming fall, please complete the registration form and email it to Elementary Secretary Linda Pfister. Call 273-6686 or 273-0451 with any questions.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher, principal, or the District office if you have any questions.


Dale Olinger, Superintendent

20200501- Email to families

Dear Lolo Families-

The Lolo School Board of Trustees decided tonight to continue distance education for the remainder of the 19-20 school year. The decision came after reviewing considerable input from the public & individual trustees. You can review the motions, superintendent rationale, and written public input by going to this link.

During the meeting, the Board thoughtfully recognized the challenges with all possible scenarios. Distance learning works well for some students and households and is a struggle for others. Knowing that no option is ideal for everyone, the health and safety of students and staff remained the enduring priority.

We offer a heartfelt thanks to Lolo School families. Though the situation appeared unexpectedly for everyone, families have partnered with the school to help students continue to grow. Remember that we're available to help! Lolo School staff is committed to student success. Please reach out to the teacher or principal if we can help make this experience better for your family.


Dale Olinger, Superintendent

Lolo School District

P.S. Come eat! Lolo School continues to serve free, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch (together) from 10am-1pm Monday through Friday to anyone 18 years old or younger thanks to a special USDA nutrition program.

20200422- Email to families

Dear Lolo Families-

Governor Steve Bullock announced today that in two weeks, local schools will regain authority to determine when to reopen their doors to students. Much like most other areas schools, the Lolo School Board will be weighing its options and analyzing risks and benefits during this time. We will use email to announce the Board's decision as soon as it is available. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex situation. Comments for Board consideration can be directed to Superintendent Dale Olinger or to individual trustees.

In the meantime, and regardless of how long the closure lasts, we will continue to provide distance learning opportunities for students. For those who receive printed materials, the next packet pickup will be Tuesday, April 28, 2020, from noon-4pm.

We will continue to provide free meals during the closure. Lolo's kitchen has distributed over 10,000 free meals in less than five weeks. Funding for this fantastic service is made possible through a special USDA program intended to feed youth during unexpected school closures. BIG thanks to the folks on our staff who are working hard to make this happen. Remember, grab-and-go meals are free to anyone 18 and younger, M-F 10am-1pm. Just stop by!

Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support during these uncertain times. Be safe, stay healthy.


Dale Olinger, Superintendnet

Lolo School District #7

20200407- Email to families

Dear Lolo Families-

During a press conference today, Governor Bullock announced a continuation of the statewide school closures, the stay-at-home order, and a variety of other public safety protection measures through April 24, 2020. Lolo teachers and staff are working harder than ever to deliver quality content for at-home learning. This situation certainly presents unforeseen challenges that we will overcome together. Don't hesitate to visit with your child's teacher if you have questions or comments about their learning.

The next set of learning materials will be available from noon-4pm on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Teachers will let you know whether you will have a packet at school or if you will receive materials another way. Please check in with the teacher if you have questions.

Monday April 13, 2020 remains a non-scheduled day on the school calendar.

Teachers will not be instructing or taking calls. School offices are also closed.

Lolo School is pleased to continue offering free, grab-and-go meals to anyone 18 or younger Monday through Friday, 10am-1pm.
We will serve meals on Monday the 13th, 10am-1pm as usual.

We understand the importance of physical activity. In an effort to prevent the spread of disease, however, we have closed all playground equipment at the school. Play equipment is no longer being sanitized. Open spaces at school remain available, but the following conditions are in place for their use:

  • Do not come to the school if you are sick or have any symptoms

  • No group activities

  • Wash hands/use sanitizer before & after your visit

  • Stay at least six feet apart for safety

Thank you for your ongoing partnership during these unprecedented times. We will emerge from this stronger than ever!


Dale Olinger, Superintendent

20200330- Email to families

Dear Lolo School Families-

Lolo School will remain closed through April 10 as directed by Governor Steve Bullock. Thereafter, on March 26, Governor Bullock issued statewide restrictions to stay home and limit contact with others. Certain functions of school such as distance learning and food services are considered "essential" and exempt from the order. The exemption includes personal travel for parents and students accessing essential school services (i.e. it is okay to come to the school for food and schoolwork).

Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch is for anyone 18 and younger. 10am-1pm M-F. Please eat!

The next round of learn-from-home materials can be picked up Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from noon until 4:00pm. Similar to last week, we will provide curbside service. We encourage you to take free breakfast/lunch for kids while you're here. In order to facilitate appropriate social distancing, please remain in your vehicle. We'll move things along as quickly as possible.

Teachers and staff have compiled work for approximately two weeks. Don't let the size of the packet overwhelm you or your child. Two weeks is a long time and with regular check-ins from staff, it'll race by. Remember that teachers are checking email, keep regular office hours from 10am-2pm M-F, and may be available at other times by appointment. Please don't hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher(s), even if just to say hello. K-4 273-6686, 5-8 273-6141.

We strongly encourage you and your children to comply with all guidelines for frequent handwashing, social distancing, cleaning/disinfecting, and staying at home whenever possible. Supplemental resources are added to our COVID-19 webpage periodically so check back from time to time.

Wishing you good health from Lolo School District,

Dale Olinger, Superintendent

20200324- Second Email to parents

Dear Lolo Families-

During an afternoon press conference, Governor Bullock announced an extension of his March 15 Executive Order to close Montana K-12 public schools, now effective through April 10. Lolo School will remain closed to the public, and all activities cancelled for this timeframe. The Governor's update today also included more strict orders regarding social distancing and keeping nonessential gatherings to less than 10 people. Lolo School is doing its part to model this behavior by encouraging staff to work from home, calling limited staff to work on site for essential functions, and striving to keep at least six feet apart while working.

Learning is still our mission. THANK YOU to the many parents who are working hard to keep their child’s skills sharp; your partnership in education makes it possible for students to learn during this challenging time. The school will continue to develop its distance learning strategies and capacity. Teachers will maintain weekday "office hours," generally from 10am-2pm unless other arrangements are made, to answer questions from parents and students. Call 273-6686 for K-4 teachers & counselor or 273-6141 for 5-8 teachers & counselor. Call either number to reach art, music, health enhancement, library, or Title I. Later this week or weekend, the school will be in touch with families via email with information on the next cycle of learning materials ready for home.

Lolo School will continue to provide free, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for anyone 18 years old and younger, M-F from 10am-1pm near the cafeteria. The only question we ask is how many young people we're serving. We are allowed to give the meals to family, friends, and neighbors for delivery.

Remember, the first round of distance learning materials will be ready at noon on Wednesday 3/25, and if your teacher talked about a physical packet of material, the packet can be picked up at the upper parking lot from 12-4pm on Wednesday 3/25.

Stay healthy, Lolo! We're all in this together.

Dale Olinger, Superintendent

20200324- Email to parents:

Dear Lolo School Families-

Lolo School remains closed through March 27. There has been a great deal of speculation about an extension of the closure, but we do not have official information one way or another at this time. We will certainly communicate with families when we know more. Please ensure your telephone numbers and email are up to date. Also, please download the Lolo School smartphone app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Please see additional information below regarding learning, nutrition, plus a few helpful links.
Dale Olinger, Superintendent

Teachers are working primarily from home. Most of you have heard from your student’s classroom teacher. If not, be watching for a phone call from a school number, an unrecognized number, or a ‘private caller.’ Each family and each grade are unique. If your teacher-team has a packet of materials for your child, pickup will be from 12pm-4pm Wednesday March 25 at the school’s upper parking lot. Please stay in your vehicle. We’ll have staff ‘runners’ checking in with folks as they arrive, gathering the needed materials, and delivering them to you car-side. If students are able to safely walk or ride to school, they can certainly pick up their own packet. Like the weekday meals, we’re glad to send materials with older siblings, neighbors, etc. so long as it is prearranged with the recipient and proper precautions (social distancing, sanitation, etc.) are taken at final delivery.
Teachers and staff are working hard to make this successful! Keep in mind that we’re as new to this process as you are. Please be patient as we work out and continue to adjust the system.

Free breakfast and lunch for anyone 18 and younger is served grab-and-go style each weekday during the closure. 10am-1pm, in the upper parking lot of the school. Curbside service. Youth do not need be present. If a parent wants to pick up meals for two kids at home, we can do that. If an older sibling needs to take a meal for herself and two meals for the little ones at home, we can do that, too. A family friend or neighbor could also help with delivery. We’r e trying to be as flexible as possible to make sure kids are eating.

Busy minds and bodies
The increasing time at home can be tough for kids and parents alike. We strongly encourage everyone to follow all guidelines for social distancing, handwashing, and staying home whenever possible. Though not part of our curriculum, here are some resources for families who have access to the internet at home. (These resources are not owned or moderated by Lolo School. Any information you choose to share with the providers is entirely up to you.)
ABC Mouse & Adventure Academy
A Principal’s Idea List

20200320- Email to parents:

Dear Lolo Families-

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented and dynamic global crisis. Society's response to the COVID-19 situation has changed drastically since we departed for spring break just one week ago, all with the critical intention of slowing the spread of infection. The school is continually shifting to comply with closure, while continuing to be responsive to our educational mission. We will get through this, and we’ll do it as a team.


School buildings remain closed to the public at this time and will remain closed through March 27. At this time, we do not know if the closure will be extended by the Governor or local health authorities. We will share information on extension or reopening as the information becomes available.

Free Food for Youth, starting Monday 3/23

Lolo School will serve free, grab-and-go style breakfast and lunch each weekday from 10:00-1:00pm, starting Monday 3/23. The meals will be served together. Food available to ANYONE 18 years old or younger, regardless of income, residency, enrollment, and so on. Lolo students, homeschool students, high school kids, etc. Weather permitting, food will be distributed outside the East cafeteria entrance (or just inside the East cafeteria entrance in foul weather). In keeping with necessary preventative measures, please practice appropriate social distancing, take meals home to eat, and thoroughly wash your hands often.

Distance learning

On Monday 3/23, teacher teams will begin to plan for distance instruction opportunities. The process will start with teachers reaching out to families, primarily via telephone, to take inventory of the resources available to each student. This will help teachers tailor instructional materials to meet each student's needs at home. Our current goal is that by Wednesday afternoon, families will have the first collection of lessons from their child's teaching team. If the school closure is extended beyond March 27, teachers will provide ongoing lessons, likely on a weekly basis. Teachers will be available by email and telephone to answer questions from students and parents, and to give feedback when possible. Additional details will be coming from the teacher or teaching team when materials are ready. We will gladly send materials electronically when it makes sense and works for the student. The school will provide hard copies to students who don't have adequate internet access at their home.

Critical items

In addition to nutrition and learning, we understand that your student may have an important item left at school. If your child needs something from the school such as medication, an inhaler, eyeglasses, or another important personal item, please call the school office starting at 8:30 Monday morning. We will attempt to locate the item, let you know when it is ready to be picked up, make arrangements to have the item waiting for you. Please do not attempt to make these requests in person since the buildings remain closed to the public. We are not clearing out desks and lockers at this time.

K-4 Office 406-273-6686

5-8 Office 406-273-6141

Disinfecting procedure

Even though there is no known exposure to COVID-19 at Lolo School, the school is following CDC guidelines for disinfecting the buildings during the closure. First, the maintenance staff is following the regular cleaning process. Then, we will move ahead with a procedure for disinfection, room by room, building by building, including common areas inside and on the exterior of the building. Additionally, Lolo staff is applying a disinfecting solution to common-contact surfaces on playground equipment at least once each weekday during the closure. Upon reopening, the school will adjust the disinfection process as necessary. Our primary goal upon return is to have students and staff enter school buildings with confidence.

Thanks again for your patience. You’ll be hearing from your child’s teacher early this coming week, and we hope to have an initial rollout of learning materials ready by the middle of the week. Your partnership and participation is greatly appreciated as we continue adjusting to this exceptional situation.


Dale Olinger, Superintendent

20200315- Lolo School is committed to the health of our students and families. We are aware of Governor Steve Bullock's Declaration to close Montana K-12 public schools until March 27, 2020. Lolo School District will comply with the Executive Order. Lolo's existing school calendar had already identified spring break during the week of March 16-20 which will not change. During this time, school leadership will be planning our next steps and communicating to our families. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together for our students' health and safety. More detailed information will follow in the coming days. Please monitor the website and your email for updates.

Lolo School District does not have any cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at this time. Were there to be a case identified at Lolo School, we would initiate communication protocols as necessary to let our families know and provide instructions. We will communicate primarily through this website and school email, but may also utilize text messaging and social media. Lolo School continues to collaborate regularly with primary resources including the Missoula City-County Health Department and the Missoula Office of Emergency Management for up-to-date information and recommendations. You, too, can visit the Missoula City-County Health Department’s webpage for more information, or you can call their staffed coronavirus telephone line at 406-258-INFO (4636).

At this time, we strongly encourage these common-sense practices for everyday health. These practices are known to be effective in deterring influenza (flu) viruses, the common cold, etc., and should be used at all times to help keep yourself and your children healthy. Please help encourage the use of these techniques with students, family, coworkers, and friends.

What YOU can do now:

  • Stay home when ill. Infecting others with whatever you have helps no one. Do your part to reduce exposure.

  • Wash hands regularly. Use soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Here’s how to do it right.

  • If handwashing is not possible, use hand sanitizer.

  • Cough and sneeze into a disposable tissue and dispose of it immediately afterward. Use your elbow if no tissue is available.

  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, & mouth.

  • Students and school staff should stay home when they are ill. Spreading illness to others magnifies the problem exponentially. Voluntary social isolation is a very effective means of preventing the spread of illness.

  • Avoid being around others who are ill.

  • Consider delaying non-essential domestic and/or international travel

  • Visit the Missoula Health DepartmentCDC, and Montana DPHHS  websites for accurate, real-time information.

What Lolo School District is doing now:

  • Encouraging the practices listed above.

  • Discouraging handshakes, high fives, and hugs. Go for an elbow bump!

  • Providing additional surface sanitizing supplies to teachers for classroom use on common-contact hard surfaces such as desks, tables, handrails, doorknobs, light switches, etc.

  • Encouraging frequent handwashing when possible.

  • Providing hand sanitizer in classrooms. (Also thanks to PTSA for funding this!)

  • Bringing in additional custodial staff for cleaning/sanitizing during school breaks

  • Maintaining close communication with the City-County Health Department for updates, information, and recommendations

The CDC, DPHHS, and City-County Health Department are not recommending school closure as a preventative measure at this time. Should that recommendation change, we will adjust as needed. Most schools, Lolo included, are not fully prepared to make a quick switch to remote learning. We are making plans to the best of our ability in the event we need to change the way we instruct and teach. School closure and/or remote instruction has major impacts on families and is a decision that will not be made in haste.

We will update this webpage with relevant information as it becomes available from the Health Department.