A Message from Northern Montana Health Care, 3/17/2020. 3:15 P.M.
There are myths of COVID-19 that need to be addressed. THIS IS NOT ANOTHER FLU. Some data suggests that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is 10-30x higher than seasonal influenza (flu). There are no drug treatments. There are no current vaccines, and a vaccine is not expected for another 12-18 months at best. Yes, most people will have a mild illness with COVID-19, roughly 80%, but the most vulnerable in our population will pay the price if nothing is done. Persons aged 60 and above and those with preexisting lung or heart disease, diabetes, and multiple other medical problems are the people at highest risk. Do we want to risk our parents and grandparents so that we can go on with regular life? Or go out for a social function? Or are our parents and grandparents worth the inconvenience that we are experiencing now? My answer is we sacrifice and defend our loved ones. We have a chance to get ahead and limit the impact of COVID-19.
The true danger of COVID-19 does not necessarily lie in the mortality rate, but in the rate of infection and spread. The 15-20% of patients who have severe illness related to COVID-19 will require aggressive ICU treatment. Herein lies the problem... the medical system does NOT have the capacity to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients all at the same time. Our only defense, our only treatment, our only hope, is to spread out the rate of infection and illness. If the rate of infection can be slowed to the point where medical resources are adequate, many people can receive the support and treatment needed to survive severe cases of COVID-19. If the system is overwhelmed, as in Italy, mortality rate will rise, with a disproportionate number of deaths in the elderly population.
Spread is contained and slowed by limiting social interaction. We have all heard that the major sporting leagues have shuttered their doors. Locally, this means school closures, keeping kids and families at home, limiting trips to the store, working from home if possible, eating/cooking at home, avoiding large gatherings, canceling local events with greater than 10 people. The latter being a presidential recommendation.
The social isolation measures that are currently in place are applauded by the medical community. We fully understand that this battle will be won on the backs of our small business owners; parents who stay home from work to take care of children; people whose retirement accounts are decimated; the families of medical providers who work long hours and sacrifice much; and our children whose education is disrupted. This is just to name a few.
We thank you in advance for your sacrifice to give us a fighting chance against COVID-19.
Kevin Harada, MD
Chief of Staff
Northern Montana Health Care
HPS Update, Monday 3/16/2020, 3:07 P.M.
We will be trying to contact you. At the time some of you are reading this message, you may have been contacted. If that is not the case, give us a little time as we are learning as we go on this one too. Your teachers are not able to access their classrooms and this creates difficulty. We will do our best to provide connectivity between you and the school.
We are going to need your help reaching everyone. Please text or call your friends to make certain they are checking in on our website. This is really important. If you know one of your friends or a family that does not have an electronic device or a means to connect to the internet let us know by leaving a message with our webmaster.
If you do not have connectivity you may call (406) 395 – 6719. Do not call this number for general questions. This is the number we want you to call to help us get in touch with you.
We are making phone calls and reaching out on our end as well. It is important that we deliver notices and information to everyone. Help us make certain that 100% of our children are informed.
There are families not receiving our messages. We plan to post ideas for instruction at home. We will inform families when and where meals will be available. We will provide important school updates. We can do this Havre. We need your help. 100%.
Food Service Update, Monday 3/16/2020, 1:15 P.M.
Beginning Tuesday, 3/17/2020, lunch and breakfast pick-up time will be 9:00am-11:00am. Parents/guardians will be able to pick up breakfast and lunch at the same time, if desired. Pick-up locations remain at Highland Park at the North Cafeteria Doors, and in front of Lincoln-McKinley.
Food Service Update, Monday 3/16/2020, 9:00 A.M.
Starting at lunch on Monday, 3/16, Highland Park Meals will be available curbside at the North Cafeteria entrance. Pull up to the doors and one of our friendly staff will deliver the meal to your vehicle. Meals will continue to be available in front of Lincoln-McKinley. Breakfast will be distributed from 8:00-10:00, Lunch from 11:00-1:00.
HPS Update 3/15/2020, 6:00 P.M.
By order of the Governor, All public schools in Montana are closed through March 27, 2020. Our buildings are closed to all non-school personnel as well. Please note the recommendations for social distancing referenced in the Governor's letter.
All HPS activities are suspended.
All Havre Public Schools personnel are directed to remain at home unless contacted otherwise.
Grab and Go Breakfast will be available at Lincoln McKinley and Highland Park from 8:00-10:00, Lunch will be available from 11:00-1:00. Meals will be ready to be picked up curbside.
A Message From Superintendent Andy Carlson
Closing our doors is far more complex than checking out electronic devices. I believe strongly in technology but I will not lie or pretend that online classes will be nearly as effective as daily interaction with a teacher. It might work for a short period of time with some students and a consistently operating delivery platform.
Quality of instruction and equity for all will suffer.
The achievement gap is real and I believe that length of closure will significantly impact a substantially difficult challenge for us already.
Closing our schools for the lengths of time being discussed will create difficulties for the children we serve, their families, and create challenges for our staff that we, as a school district, do not have the resources to adequately support. That being said, we greatly appreciate and support the Governor's declaration.
These are unchartered waters for all of us. We will do our best, but it will not replicate what occurs when our doors are open.