Montana public school districts will receive roughly $41 million of relief funding in about two weeks. Schools say they need that money for things like buying masks, special cleaning equipment and supplies so they can open in the fall. New guidance from the U.S. Department of Education says private school students will receive an increased share of that funding.

Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton spoke with MTPR News Director Corin-Cates Carney to explain.

Missoula hasn’t had a new COVID-19 case in more than two weeks and the local health department says there are no active cases in the county. That means health orders affecting some local businesses are about to change.

The phones of Missoula barbers and hair stylists have likely been blowing up since this morning when word came down they’ll soon be back in business.

A stock image of a doctor wearing a stethoscope.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A state health official says a COVID-19 outbreak that started at a north-central Montana nursing home and caused six deaths appears to be over.

The entrance sign for West Yellowstone.
Spend A Day Touring LLC / Flickr (CC BY SA2)

As Yellowstone National Park moves closer to releasing its reopening plan, the community next to its busiest entrance is working on boosting its ability to test residents, workers and visitors for the COVID-19 illness. 

New national wildfire response plans released Thursday give us a better picture of what firefighting will now look like in the COVID-19 era.

The days of big fire camps, those self-contained cities that seem to magically appear in open fields overnight are, at least for this year, a thing of the past. Under new guidelines released Thursday, they’re being replaced with a system designed to foster proper social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees at Billings’ Babcock Theater swap signage on May 8, a day after the governor announced movie theaters, gyms and museums can reopen May 15.
Nickt Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Governor Steve Bullock May 7 announced gyms, movie theaters and museums may reopen beginning next Friday, May 15, with limited capacity and new requirements for social distancing and sanitation.

A sample ballot for Green Party candidates in Yellowstone County, Montana.
Montana Secretary of State

Ballots for Montana’s all mail primary election will be sent out Friday, May 8.

Some small public schools reopened their doors to students Thursday, although with new guidelines. Montana is still in the first phase of its reopening plans as the number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19 declines in the state.

A motocade drives by Billings' two hospitals on May 6, 2020.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

The Montana Air National Guard flew over hospitals across the state this week to salute Montana’s first responders and medical workers combating the novel coronavirus. Yellowstone Public Radio News was there to watch a motorcade in Billings that coincided with the flyovers.

Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital exterior.
Bozeman Health / Bozeman Health

Hospitals in Montana have started performing elective procedures that had been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals are reopening in phases with additional screenings in place.