COVID-19 Information for Schools

     On March 15th, the Governor ordered all K-12 public schools to be closed statewide through March 27th.  On March 24, the Governor extended school closures through April 10th. 

    Parents:  Your child's school or district should be your first source of information about what services your school or district is offering during the closure.  The OPI has published extensive Online Learning Resources for School Leaders, Teachers & Parents.


Plains School Dist. 

Phone Nos.

Thom Chisholm - Superintendent   

        Office: (406) 826-8600


Kevin Meredith - High School Principal

        Office: 406) 826-8600


Jim Holland - Elementary Principal

        Office: 406) 826-8600


Abigail Collett - School Nurse 

        Office: 406-826-8600 Ext. 117



OPI Requests Waivers On Educational Requirements As COVID-19 Closes Schools

By Aaron Bolton, 18 March 2020

from MT Public Radio 

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is asking Gov. Steve Bullock and the federal government to waive requirements for standardized testing and instructional time. The request comes days into the governor’s two-week public school closure order in response to the novel coronavirus.

OPI is asking Gov. Bullock to waive state instructional time requirements and to continue providing transportation reimbursements as schools deliver food to students throughout the closure.

OPI is also asking the federal government to waive testing requirements that help dictate federal funding. OPI held a conference call with district administrators, Montana’s congressional delegation and the Governor’s office Tuesday to discuss issues related to school closures.

Many schools are moving to online and remote learning, but districts are concerned about whether they’ll have to make up any instructional time they may lose out on during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re also worried about continued state funding for transportation needed to deliver meals and physical learning materials to students.

Bullock ordered schools to close for two weeks starting Monday, but there’s anxiety over whether the closures could last much longer.



13 April 2020

How to stay focused while studying, a guide:

9 Research Based Guides

1. Find a suitable environment.

Location, location, location. Finding where you work best is an essential part of any successful studying session. For some, the quiet of a library is essential, but for others, the light bustle of a coffee shop can be just the right amount of background noise to stay focused. But whatever your background noise preference, it’s important that your study spot has a few things –

    Flat, clear, surface with enough space to comfortably hold all your materials and laptop

    Outlets – if you need your computer to study, ensuring you have a close power supply can prevent the need to get up and break your flow

    Comfortable seating (or standing place) – When selecting a place to work, it’s important to try and pick a place that has the necessary furniture to promote good posture for prolonged, sustainable studying.  Whether you use a comfortable desk chair with back support, an exercise ball, or standing desk, sitting upright has been shown to increase energy levels and confidence, as well as enhance overall mood. In addition, sitting in a slouched position can make your brain more predisposed to feelings of hopelessness.

2. Create a study ritual.

A good place to start is having a pre-study ritual that involves things like clearing your desk, closing your door, grabbing all the materials you’ll need, putting on some headphones, and creating a to-do list. Taking five minutes to set up your workspace will not only physically prepare you to study:

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3. Block distracting websites + apps on your phone, tablet, and computer.

If you’re like most of us, distracting websites and apps can be the death of any productive, focused studying session. On average, it takes 23 minutes to refocus on your work once interrupted.

4. Divide up + space out study sessions.

Most of the stress associated with studying is a result of poor planning and time management that leads to stressful cramming the night before.

Research has shown that dividing your studying into multiple, spaced out sessions greatly improves retention over time.  It’s also a lot easier to maintain focus for 30 minutes at a time, rather than for an eight-hour cramming session.

5. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is perfect for splitting your study sessions into manageable chunks of time. It’s simple – select one task to work on, set a timer, work until it rings, and then take a break.

6. Find the best tools

When it comes to taking your studying to the next level, having the right tools can make all the difference. Whether you need help organizing, prioritizing, or focusing – there are tools that can help ease some of the pain points.

    To organize:

        Todoist – Todoist is a task management app and to-do list that allows you to simplify your goals, tasks, and projects into actionable lists. With Todoist, you can easily break down projects into manageable tasks, share and collaborate on lists with others, and visualize your progress and productivity.

        Trello – Trello is an online organizational tool for task and project management. Based on the Kaban system, Trello allows you to visually break down large assignments into manageable tasks. Organize your tasks into lists or categories, assign due dates and members, and visualize your progress as you go.

    To focus:
 – is online tool that uses music’s ability to influence your mental state. Backed by research,’s AI music composer uses auditory rhythms that have been proven to help you focus, meditate, and sleep.

        Coffitivity – Need the comforting background of a coffee shop without the hassle of finding a table and outlet? Then Coffitivity is exactly what you need! It’s simple – choose your preferred cafe sound and get to work!

7. Focus on skills, not grades.

Academic expert, Daniel Wong, says that one of the most common mistakes he sees students make is to focus on grades more than skills and learning. Remembering to focus on the learning rather than a grade can help reduce some of the distracting stress and pressure surrounding studying.

8. Schedule downtime.

It’s important to schedule small breaks to check Facebook, look up a question that was off-topic, or grab some coffee to prevent burnout and keep you focused for longer. Also, having a small reward to look forward to at the end of each session can help you stay motivated.

9. Exercise.

Research suggests that in the short-term exercise can improve your focus for up to two to three hours by increasing blood flow to the brain. Regular exercise has also been shown to improve mood and sleep, while reducing stress and anxiety. To start experiencing the benefits of exercise, researchers recommend 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week or 150 minutes total.

__________________________________________________________ — Information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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