Schools, Childcare and University Links and Information

Childcare for school-age children

Several districts in Missoula County are returning to school this fall in a hybrid model, as well as offering all-online options. The Missoula County Childcare Task Force is working with area providers to offer care for these students when they are not in school. The following guide breaks down the options for elementary schools:

GUIDE: Childcare options for school-age children 

Other childcare information

During COVID-19, finding child care, paying for child care and deciding whether to send your little ones to child care can be more challenging than normal. Child Care Resources offers a variety of services and information for families to address these issues.

Child care grants:
In-home child care grant for families

School-age child care grant

Need help finding child care?
Child Care Resources maintains a database of child care facilities, with information about vacancies, hours of operations, rates and more. Give them a call at 406-728-6446 or search for a Montana child care provider online.

Need help paying for child care?
Child Care Resources can assist income-eligible families in applying for the Best Beginnings Scholarship, which helps cover the cost of child care fees at licensed facilities. Scholarship information is available online

What should I consider when deciding whether or not to send my child to child care during COVID-19?
Child Care Resources created a checklist to help guide parents through this decision-making process.

Other information about child care during COVID-19:
Child Care Resources regularly updates their parenting page with information for parents.


Missoula Area Emergency Child Care Task Force

The Missoula Area Emergency Child Care Task Force also is working to address the need for child care among Missoulians employed in occupations critical to the community’s continued health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force includes personnel from the Missoula City-County Health Department, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center, Child Care Resources, Missoula County Public Schools, Missoula Family YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club of Missoula. It is coordinated by Grace Decker of Zero to Five Missoula County, an initiative of United Way of Missoula County.

The task force is assessing the need for child care among healthcare, law enforcement and first response personnel; identifying potential locations for child care for 0-5-year-olds and school-age children, including in existing child care facilities and other community sites; and Identifying resources and funds to support child care programs operating under emergency conditions.

WATCH: Child Care Task Force provides update on care for kids of essential workers

Parenting resources

Supporting Young Children during COVID-19
Pregnancy and new parenthood during COVID-19
Parenting young children during COVID-19
Helping children understand COVID-19

Public schools

Missoula County Public Schools

Please visit mcpsmt.org/covid-19 for updates or call 406-728-2400 and dial 0 to speak to a receptionist.

The MCPS Board of Trustees voted Aug. 11 to approve the superintendent’s recommended reopening plan. MCPS schools opened in Phase 1 – Hybrid Model, with the exception of Seeley Swan High School, which opened in Phase 2- Modified Schedule. The district will also provide the MCPS Online Academy to all students K-12 until reaching Phase 3.

The MCPS Online Academy is a completely online K-12 school dedicated to supporting staff and students who cannot return to face-to-face learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The MCPS Online Academy will be available to students while in phases 0-2 of the phased reopening plan. The Online Academy may stay open to certain students who qualify due to significant health issues once Phase 3 of our reopening plan is reached.

Details about plans for reopening school can be found on the Return to School Page.

Meal assistance

All MCPS meals will be provided free of charge to all students as of Sept. 9. These meals are also available to all youth in the community under 18 years of age.  Meals will be free through Dec. 31.

  • Grab and go meals will include breakfast along with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a deli sandwich option.
  • Grab and go meals are available at each school site to:
    -Students on remote learning days (including Mondays)
    -Students attending the MCPS Online Academy
    -Any youth under 18 - even homeschooled and private school students
    -Anyone can pick up meals on behalf of a student. 

Pick-up locations and times for schools are listed here. More details are online.

WATCH: Missoula educator shares challenges, opportunities of remote education

Missoula County Superintendent of Schools

Please contact individual school district websites for district specific information.

Hellgate Elementary School District #4

Lolo Elementary School District #7

Potomac School District # 11

Bonner School District #14

Woodman Elementary School #18

DeSmet School District #20

Target Range School District #23

Sunset Elementary School #30

Clinton Elementary School District #32

Swan Valley School District #33

Seeley Lake Elementary School #34

Frenchtown School District #40

As of March 24 until further notice, the office will conduct business through the use of technology, phone and mail only. We will not be physically open to the public.

Teachers who need to register their teaching licenses may:

  • Drop the original in the lockbox to the left of the entrance. We will register it and mail it back to you. Please let us know what school you work for and where you would like us to mail it.
  • Mail the original to 410 W. Spruce St., Missoula MT 59802. We will register and mail it to you.

Parents and community members may contact us in the following ways:

If you see that our front office light is on, someone is in the office. Feel free to call 258-4860 and speak with someone at that moment regarding your visit. We will not be able to let you enter the office, but we can help you as best we can while you’re here.

Please send your questions to Erin Lipkind, Missoula County Superintendent of Schools at elipkind@missoulacounty.us or call Erin or Jessica Bird, school clerk, at 406-258-4860.

University of Montana

The University of Montana will welcome students back to campus this fall for face-to-face instruction. UM is working hard to provide the safest environment possible, and the health and well-being of students, employees and community are top of mind. Find UM's Healthy Fall 2020 plan here

UM will start the fall semester on Wednesday, Aug. 19. The last day of the semester and the conclusion of finals week will be Wednesday, Nov. 25, eliminating the need for students, faculty and staff to travel between the Thanksgiving holiday and the conclusion of the semester. There will not be a fall Commencement at UM this year.

Winter break will last until Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, when spring semester begins. 

UM is proceeding in a measured and data-informed manner that considers, first and foremost, the safety of all members of the UM community. For information about fall semester, see the Fall 2020 website. For general information about how UM is handling COVID-19, visit UM’s Coronavirus Information website.

Helpful links