MCPS’ Rob Watson says many teachers are close to breaking point

MCPS Superintendent Rob Watson was on KGVO’s Talk Back Thursday and reviewed some of the successes achieved during the 2021 school year.

“I would say that some of the successes we’ve had have been in providing immunization clinics with the support of our community members,” Dr. Watson said. “I think we had all 1,200 teachers and staff vaccinated or had the opportunity to be vaccinated just before spring break, and it was quite exciting for our staff to have this before spring break. spring.”

Watson said 2022 promised more normal times, but because of the Omicron variant, that was not to be the case.

“I would tell you that coming into the fall, we were hoping for something a little more normal. And we were planning that direction. I don’t think our plans have changed much. But obviously this year hasn’t been just normal. There’s just been a lot of stopping and going and frustrations with continuing COVID cases. I think this week we have up to 190 COVID cases this week across the district, which will be an all-time high for us in any given week.

Watson was asked about the continued mask mandate in Missoula schools.

“Masking is probably a very controversial issue,” he said. “I understand that our board has established pretty clear metrics that as soon as community numbers go down, we would use those metrics to make masking decisions. They are quite clear. They are quite simple. We were really close to those metrics just before the break, but then we saw the community numbers go up during the break, so we were out of line with those metrics.

A Talk Back caller said a parent was a school district employee and many teachers and staff were close to breaking point due to the pandemic.

“I think a lot of our employees are at breaking point,” he said. “I think sometimes we don’t realize how close it is for teachers because they’re quite stressed. That said, they are in it. I think as Rick (the caller) pointed out, they are there for the right reasons. They are there because of the children and they want to be around children and that is what feeds their hearts and souls. So I know it’s real. It’s hard for them because they’re stressed and exhausted, but at the same time they don’t want to leave because of the kids.

Recently, the Missoula County Board of Directors adjourned their meeting when one of the directors refused to wear a mask during the proceedings.

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