Glacier National Park has been investigating several fires tht are suspicious in nature. Several investigators were on the ground, along with the FBI and National Park Service assisting remotely. Portions of the park are closed due to the investigation

The Billings REI store opened last Friday. The Washington-based outdoor retailer closed all its locations across the country in March. That included postponing the opening of the new Billings store at the corner of Shiloh Road and King Avenue West.

Ramsay residents are still fighting  to prevent Love’s Travel Stops from locating a truck stop complex next to Interstate 90 about 7 miles west of Butte. Residents say a Butte-Silver Bow Zoning Board decision that went against them bolstered their case. Love’s has purchased land for the truck stop at Ramsay and obtained a DEQ stormwater permit for general construction activities, but other regulatory approvals are still pending. Some Ramsay residents have opposed the project from the start, saying the truck stop will bring traffic, noise, pollution, transients and crime to the community.

Eagle Mount Bozeman and Julius Lehrkind Brewing have teamed up to make a special release beer in support of the local nonprofit. Eagle Mount provides a variety of camps and activities for kids and adults living with disabilities or cancer. Because of COVID-19, the nonprofit has scaled back much of its activities.

Sidewall Pizza Company opened this month in the Emerson Center in Bozeman. The first Sidewall Pizza Company was started in an old tire shop in South Carolina, hence the name, and the Bozeman Sidewall will be the first outside of that state. The menu features a variety of meat and vegetarian pizzas, all with the option of gluten free crust, and salads.

Slow Drift Shuttle Service has opened in Bozeman offering shuttle service for the Madison River and Yellowstone River.

Fishing on the Big Horn River is slowly recovering from a bad spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Business has reportedly picked up in the past month and is looking better for following months. Many of the cancellations have been rebooked for October

The Bowman family has been growing cherries on the eastern shore of Flathead Lake for five generations. The family business has grown from a single acre of trees to the two-state operation it is today. As Bowman Orchards celebrates 100 years of operation in 2020, the family looks back at a century of ups and downs. As the orchard grew, so did the cherry crop and the family’s success. In 1935 when a harsh early winter storm destroyed the orchard the family dug in and replanted the orchard.

North Dakota airports are beginning to see a rise in passengers coming through terminals. The eight commercial airports saw around 24,000 people flying, including Williston, Minot, Bismarck and Dickinson – which is only 24 percent of the number of passengers in June of last year. Bismarck Airport says each day numbers continue to climb. In June, they saw more than 8,000 passengers– the highest since the pandemic began.

When the coronavirus hit Montana and non-essential businesses closed, Misty Williams, Froid Grocery store owner, took the radical step of closing the front door of her “essential business,” restricting it to phone and Facebook orders and curbside pickup. Instead of shopping the aisles in person, customers “virtually shopped” by looking at photos of the shelves on the grocery’s Facebook page. Williams says the results were astounding as orders increased fivefold.

Beginning July 20, the City of Livingston announced their offices would  be closed to the public since there were four or more active cases of COVID-19 in Park County. All persons on staff will remain available via telephone or email. In-person meetings will only be available by appointment. 

Gallatin County’s residential real estate market saw an increase in pending sales in June, while days on market, the inventory of available homes and new single-family listings decreased. The median sales price increased 6.7%, from $427,700 in June 2019 to $456,325 in June 2020. The average days on market decreased 3.5%, from 57 to 55. The inventory of available homes decreased compared to last year, from 472 to 364, and the month’s supply of inventory decreased 20%, from 3.5 to 2.8.

Sellers received 98.4% of their list price last month, down slightly from 99% last year. The number of new single-family listings decreased 13.4% compared to June 2019, from 269 to 233. Pending sales jumped 32.9%, from 173 to 230, and the number of closed sales fell slightly by 0.6%, from 171 to 170.

Two-Bit Saloon, The Yellowstone Raft Company, Rosie’s Bistro and Red’s Blue Goose Saloon were destroyed by a fire in Gardner, just six weeks after they were able to open following the COVID mandated closures.

By Evelyn Pyburn

The state’s economy is in a state of “extreme fluidity”

The declaration was in response to the question, “Where are we Now and What’s Next?”

It was the theme question posed by economist Pat Barkey, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, in a virtual version of the annual program “Montana’s Economy at Mid-Year,” last week.

“We are starting to get used to where we are but where are we exactly?” posed Barkey, adding that because of the uncertainty, “We have shortened our horizons and are more concerned about next week and next month.”

“This is a situation of active management for a considerable period of time.” But, “Montanans are capable of adapting.”

Not all of the news is bad, said Barkey, explaining that much of the data they need to understand what is going on is slow in coming. “We are certainly in a second phase, he said, “In terms of economy we are grappling with the challenge. is a fluid situation but we are getting more clarity.  We are looking at steep declines, strong bounce backs and persistence in going forward.”

The US Economy has “turned in one of the worst performances ever recorded.” GDP (Gross Domestic Product) dropped by 33 percent (as an annual rate).

 “You have to go all the way back to the 40s to have this kind of hit to the economy …it is of a different order of magnitude than any other decline in history.”

Despite the decline, the “bounce back in jobs and consumer spending since then has also been impressive,” said Barkey.

The current forecasts call for a 17 percent growth in GDP in the third quarter.

There is going to be some permanent changes as a result of COVID impacts.

Why did it happen? “Because consumer spending was in free fall.” Consumer spending saw a 25 percent decline in the second quarter – another fact that is without precedent, a description that Barkey conceded everyone is probably “sick of hearing.”

While data is slow in coming for updates as to the state of Montana’s economy, much about Montana’s economy is similar to other areas of the country where there is more data, which allows researchers to draw some parallels.

Data from credit card transactions in Montana, shows there was a “huge hole in spending in late March and early April – a 8 percent spending decline.

Consumer spending seems to have cratered mostly in accommodation services and health care.

At the same time, “consumer income rose and it rose strongly… primarily because of transfers from federal government.” Also, more people are saving more… the aggregate spiked from single digit to 25 percent.” Barkey further noted that “it is not just that consumers are reticent about spending, they couldn’t” – they were on lockdown and many stores were closed.

“The US forecast is very much a moving target.”  While it was a strong bounce back, it is not going to take us back to the economy of before – nor will it in Montana.

 “There is more optimism about 2020 than there was several months ago, but trends in infections is lowering expectations for 2021 and 2022.” A July revision puts more pessimism into the speed of a come back. It will take months if not years to recover.

“We are going to see very, very low interest rates for the next couple of years.”

“We are going to have negligible inflation and a weaker dollar.”

One impact of the virus that is not being talked about much is the collapse of international trade, said Barkey, which dropped by 50 percent and is one reason why some products – such as bicycle or pharmaceuticals “aren’t on the shelves.” 

There has been a huge influence by Congress and the Federal Reserve, said Barkey, going on to say that one of the best things to have happened was the rapid response in getting money dispersed to the American people and businesses. 

“The one mistake they didn’t make was to dawdle about it.”

 “I think the actions of Congress have been quite helpful, but let’s not have false hope that we can spend our way out of here.”

The extraordinary actions taken by Federal Reserve have quietly revolutionized what management of the economy means,” said Barkey, while the US is $2 trillion more dollars in debt, distribution of money to businesses and citizens “has stabilized and normalized markets.”

“It sent an extreme message that we are going to have an ordinary economy… and the panic and fear is gone in the financial markets.”

“The first quarter for Montana was pretty good, according to Barkey. Initially, “We thought we were in a recession that would be twice as large as the Great Recession.”

“Unemployment data says it is a very seismic event, but state tax collections don’t agree,” he said. The state General Fund suffered a mild revenue decline of 1.6 percent. In fact, individual income taxes had a slight increase, but other categories declined, not least of which was oil and natural gas production which declined 29.2 percent.

Some studies indicate that the economic activity across the state stabilized through June.

Business openings which fell 40 percent because of forced closures, “are returning to early March levels… we are coming close to having all businesses open.”

There’s a lot to be worried about in energy markets, said Barkey. Bakken oil production has seen a record fall. The spot price of crude oil went negative for one hour one day. All of which is important for Billings and points east.”

“Grocery store spending is amazing.” There has been a huge shift in consumer spending away from restaurants to grocery stores.

The hospitality industry, restaurants and hotels, have taken “a major hit” with spending down by 45 percent.

Housing prices haven’t changed much – “they are going up just like before the down turn.” There’s definitely “a lot of heat in the housing market.”

About people moving in great numbers to Montana, Barkey was dubious. “You have to convince me that someone who has lived in New York all their lives is going to move to Montana and be happy, in enough numbers to be significant.”

While there is much anecdotal information about the number of out-of-state vehicles seen traveling through the state, Barkey said the credit card data says they aren’t spending as much. And, he further noted that businesses that cater to tourism are not reporting booming business and many have not bothered to open for the tourist season at all.

By Evelyn Pyburn

Over the years as a reporter and learning about economics, early on I became alarmed at the rate and intrusiveness of regulations. As I came to understand the depth and breadth of regulations on business, I failed to understand, not only the acceptance of them but the often enthusiastic embracing of them, by business people, and especially by most of the organizations that represent businesses.

When asked about their biggest concerns, business people would most often, and still do, lament the impact of taxes. While understanding the obvious negativity of taxes draining away investment resources for businesses, in talking to some of the business people, I would argue that the greater threat for business in the US was the escalation of regulations, and not because of their cost — which is no small matter— but because I could so clearly see the end game of the amassing of such power. The cost of compliance in terms of dollars and cents is nothing compared to the irreplaceable value of our freedom.

I am sure that others could see it too, but so for granted did they take their freedom that they found such a day as this, incomprehensible.

Now with the emergence of a persuasive pretext in the form of COVID-19, business people are discovering the degree to which they have relinquished power to the government over their freedom to do business. So, with the ramifications becoming so obvious, while it has taken some 50 years, I can say, “I told you so.” It gives no satisfaction being able to do so.

I came to understand that most of the enthusiasm businesses often had for regulations was what they saw as a convenient means to use the power of government to inhibit potential competition. Many businesses and industries actively undermined the free market, and were often the instigators of new regulations aimed at crippling upstart newcomers, who threatened to challenge them.

As obvious as are the regulatory powers that government is now using to control and throttle business activity, I was still somewhat surprised to hear that one businessman, facing the first round of shutdowns imposed by government, and being told the government would take away the license he needed to do business if he did not comply — he actually said, “So this is how we pay for the protection against competition that we have enjoyed.”

He is surely among a very few honest enough to admit so much, because always before their justification was that regulations were for the sole purpose of “public health and safety.” Their real strategy was never discussed publically and undoubtedly many didn’t even admit it to themselves. And, needless to say, government was always an eager and enthusiastic participant in making the unholy covenants.

The current reality of our economic situation is that government has great ability to control what business people can do, primarily because of a wealth of regulatory powers, any and all of which can be whipped out at any moment, to coerce compliance from innocent citizens and an ostensibly free people, whose only crime is trying to earn a living and manage a privately held enterprise. After all, the essence of a free market is the voluntary exchange of value for value among citizens. To prohibit that is to violate the individual freedom upon which this country is based.

In selling licenses and permits and having to gain permissions from boards and agencies – even a municipal business license — such a simple voluntary exchange has been inhibited, and so arbitrarily burdened, that any idea of being in a state of freedom is an illusion which COVID has suddenly unveiled for the police state that it has become. The regulatory bureaucracy that now prevails in our country effectively controls the daily life activities of both purveyors and consumers.

And, just as that one unique observant businessman so aptly stated, this is indeed the other side of the bargain for which they sold their free souls.

From Northern Ag Network

At the 11th hour Senators and Representatives from Western States are calling on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the acquisition of the Mountain States Rosen lamb processing plant by JBS USA. Montana Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte said in the letter that, “This acquisition could have a major impact on sheep ranchers in Montana and their ability to get lamb to market, as well as result in an increase in lamb imports.”

The purchase of the Greeley, CO facility, that’s owned by 145 sheep producers from 11 states, was announced last week and could have significant long-term impacts on the nation’s sheep industry. Mountain States Rosen (MSR) is the second largest lamb packing plant in the country processing 350,000 lambs annually. MSR accounts for about 20% of the entire U.S. lamb market.

Mountain States Rosen filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, forcing the plant to be sold. JBS, a Brazilian owned meat packing company, has said they plan to use the facility as a value-added beef plant. Removing that processing capacity from the supply chain will leave the sheep industry with more lambs than there is ability to process them.

The purchase and potential conversion to a beef facility has created a lot of concern amongst sheep producers. The industry has already been hit hard by the recent trade disputes and the fallout from COVID-19. Lamb prices have fallen well over 30% in 2020 alone and many producers are dealing with drought conditions on top of all the challenges.

At this point the chief concern of the industry is that JBS may be attempting to buy market share and shift from processing domestic lambs to importing lamb. JBS is already the largest importer of lamb into the United States.

That fear has led many sheep producers to call upon lawmakers and the Justice Department to halt the sale of the plant. Set to be finalized on Friday, July 31st, sheep producers say the long term affects to the nation’s sheep industry must be examined.

Lawmakers from Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah joined together to send a letter to the Department of Justice to at least temporarily halt the sale. The Senators and Representatives commented in the letter that the DOJ must “demand that JBS cease from any irreversible actions that might harm the ability of American sheep ranchers to get their products to market until the Department can determine how best to protect competition in this significant part of America’s food supply.”

The Center Square

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 opinion that the application of Article X, Section 6, of Montana’s Constitution (Montana’s Blaine Amendment) violated the free exercise clause of the U.S. Constitution. The majority held that the application of the state’s Blaine Amendment was unconstitutional because it barred religious schools and parents who wished to send their children to those schools from receiving public benefits because of the religious character of the school.

Blaine Amendments refer to language in state constitutions that prohibit public funding for schools or educational institutions run by religious organizations. The language in each state constitution varies. Blaine Amendments are named after an amendment to the U.S. Constitution—sponsored by James Gillespie Blaine—that was proposed but never passed.

Thirty-seven states have Blaine Amendments in their constitutions as of 2020. Louisiana’s Blaine Amendment was repealed by voters in 1974.

In 31 states, the existing versions of Blaine Amendments were included when the state’s most recent constitution or constitutional revision was ratified by voters, which means voters did not vote specifically on the Blaine Amendment but rather considered an entirely new constitution or a larger set of revisions that contained the Blaine Amendment language. In six states, Blaine Amendments were added through specific constitutional amendments, at least three of which were referred to the ballot by constitutional revision commissions.

In Utah and South Carolina, the states’ Blaine Amendments were amended to remove the prohibition against indirect public funding of religious schools, leaving a prohibition against direct public funding.

By Dan Nordberg and Brent Donnelly

As leaders within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), we have the privilege to partner with businesses and entrepreneurs pursuing their American Dream – even amidst extreme challenges. Last week, we visited Bozeman, Butte, and Belgrade to learn how local businesses are weathering the pandemic, and we were encouraged to hear about the ways so many not only kept their businesses viable but went above and beyond to support their community.

Take Bridger Brewing Company, for example. Known in the area for locally sourced pizza and brews, Bridger has made community partnerships a central component of their business model. When the coronavirus pandemic impaired their ability to continue business-as-usual, Bridger applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan through the SBA to supplement their income and keep their employees on payroll. Because of the financial flexibility provided by this loan, the restaurant committed to serving their community in one of the ways they know best: they delivered free pizza to fire stations, non-profits, and other first responders.

Mountain Hot Tub was also impacted by the economic challenges of recent months. An integral part of local tourism efforts, Mountain Hot Tubs experienced challenges based on the supply chains of national manufacturers. Though business was uncertain and they weren’t getting the inventory they needed, the hot tub retailer was able to bring back their entire staff through the help of a PPP loan. Kelly King, Mountain Hot Tubs’ co-owner and president, said the PPP allowed them to change their mindset from insecurity to innovation, and they utilized the time of reduced sales to dig into business strategy and consider opportunities for forward advancement.

These stories are just a few that demonstrate the incredible actions of your business community, and the SBA is honored to play a part in making them possible. In recent months, more than 30,000 Montana businesses have received over $2.2 billion in SBA loans. These dollars fueled local economies, made sure families continued to receive paychecks, and kept hometown businesses afloat.

Visiting your region, we were reminded that so much good is happening despite the challenges around us. People are giving back to the community. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Companies are going the extra mile. Yes, times are tough, but by investing in local businesses, we’re truly building a foundation for a stronger tomorrow.

We are profoundly grateful to your local business community for hosting us last week. Together, we’ll continue empowering Montana entrepreneurs to serve their hometowns and pursue their American Dream. To learn more about the PPP or other SBA programs, visit

Dan Nordberg serves as the National Director for Rural Affairs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Brent Donnelly serves as Director for the SBA Montana District Office.

By Donald J. Sterhan

There’s no question that we’re facing unprecedented challenges in today’s economy.  From job losses and disruptions in education, to deferred payments, business closures and even bankruptcies, it’s clear we have a lagging economy that is stumbling along in uncertainty.  On that much, I think most all of us can agree.   But where we seem to disagree is in identifying the steps needed to set a new course and get us back on the pathway to economic recovery and growth. 

As a lifelong Montanan with a business career spanning over 35 years in the Treasure state, I must admit that I often see the health and welfare of our local business community as a good barometer of the opportunities available to our citizens.  If we are to achieve growth in our economy and stimulate tax revenues to fuel our schools and public services, then we must rely on a vibrant business community that promotes more jobs, better wages, and the spirit of entrepreneurship.  This result doesn’t happen by chance – it only happens with leadership. 

It is for this reason that I was pleased to see Matt Rosendale step forward this past week in a very public way to take the initiative and offer leadership in this debate over the next best steps.   Last week I participated in a roundtable discussion that Rosendale hosted with business leaders from around Montana, with a variety of industries represented including retail, construction, agriculture, healthcare, financial services, and tourism.  Rosendale convened the roundtable to listen to specific issues affecting each of our industries as a result of COVID-19, and to discuss any ways that we felt the federal government could make it easier on businesses during these challenging times.

Over the course of the conversation, it became clear to me that Rosendale draws on his own experience as a businessman, with much success to his credit in growing his family’s small business, creating jobs, and signing both sides of a paycheck.  But even more impressive is his willingness to listen – and it’s a refreshing quality. This quality is evident in Matt Rosendale’s “Plan to Reignite Our Economy”.  I’ve reviewed this plan and believe it’s right on the mark. 

The plan that he released addresses many of the concerns we shared with him at the roundtable, from liability protections for businessowners, to incentivizing employees to return to work, to rolling back crushing federal regulations and taxes.  It’s apparent to me that Rosendale and his team have worked overtime to consolidate the various business issues and recommendations into an organized and bold plan to rebuild our economy, unleash growth, foster job creation, and promote innovation in Montana.  

Now that’s leadership.  Especially in these uncertain times, that’s the brand of leadership from our public officials that is critically important.   In Congress, in the legislature, and in local municipalities, we need leaders with a clear understanding of the challenges facing businesses.  Matt Rosendale has demonstrated to me that he is indeed that type of leader.

Donald J. Sterhan is the President and CEO of Mountain Plains Equity Group. He has previously served as Chairman of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, President of the Montana Chamber Foundation, on the White House Conference on Small Business, and as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.

By Evelyn Pyburn

The Montana Rescue Mission is proposing to build and revitalize almost a whole block of Billings on the 2800 block of Minnesota Avenue to develop a centralized “Unified Campus” to provide services to the homeless and low income.

Since part of their plans include a building in which a whole floor will be dedicated to low-income apartments, MRM in conjunction with Mountain Plains Equity Group, Inc. is applying for Low-income Tax Credits from the Montana Board of Housing.

At MRM’s request, Yellowstone County Commissioners issued a letter of support, on Tuesday. “This thoughtful approach and reaction to a ‘full service’ campus will be instrumental in breaking the cycle of homelessness in our community,” states their letter. The commissioners further commented that this is the approach to the issue of homelessness and mental health care for the most needy, for which they have been advocating.

MRM is seeking $6,477,000 which will cover about half the anticipated $12.6 million cost of developing the proposed campus. If they are successful in obtaining the funds, said Matt Lundgren, MRM Executive Director, then they will launch  a community campaign for additional support.

Lundgren said they will be counting on private donations and conventional long-term financing to complete the project which includes a 166 –bed homeless shelter, 29 affordable apartment units, and supportive services and amenities.

The plan for centralizing the services available for the needy, mentally ill, and homelesss has been in the works for two years. It’s entailed consultations with other communities who have solved similar problems with such a facility.

Referring to MRM’s past experiences, Lundgren said “We have found such a success in our programs … We know, we need to do more low income apartments.” Heavily subsidized apartments which are affordable to people working at entry level jobs, give them an opportunity to get back on their feet, he explained.

“We have a holistic approach,” explained Lundgren, “Our goal is to keep people close to the services they need. We can invite other organization and agencies to come in and provide services and  medical care.”

“Putting all things into one campus will keep our people contained.” It would include an outside space, secure and sheltered which would provide “a place for people to congregate and socialize” rather than having to wander the streets.

A child care center would also be part of the facility which would further enable parents to hold jobs. Other “wrap-around services” would include a chapel, auditorium, class rooms and a workout room.

“It would be a learning campus,” said Lundgren.

The first floor would be the location of services.

Lundgren pointed out that the building in which MRM is currently located is a hundred years old and as such has many on- going maintenance issues and remodeling needs.

Indicative of the inadequacy of the space they have, is that the current men’s shelter is “a bunch of bunks” all in one room. “There is little opportunity for social distancing – of keeping people six feet apart,” said Lundgren, emphasizing that they expect social distancing to be an on-going concern. “We don’t see an end date to this virus,” he said.

An important part of the design is to make the whole facility ADA compliant, which will enable MRM to better serve people with disabilities and unique populations.

Following recommendations from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities’  Seven Year Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability Evaluation of MSU Billings which occurred in 2018, MSU Billings received a glowing report from the NWCCU’s virtual visit this past April, commending the university for turning the ship around in such a short amount of time.

The Center Square

As states and school districts continue to change their back-to-school policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national debate rages over in-person or virtual learning for instruction, some parents have taken their children’s education into their own hands.

A new form of quasi-homeschooling, called micro-schooling, is emerging. In this not-so-new format, neighboring families have decided to educate their children in a modern version of the 19th century era one-room schoolhouse.

But there’s a difference, Matt Candler, founder of 4.0 Schools, notes.

“What makes a modern micro-school different from a 19th century, one-room schoolhouse is that old school schools only had a few ways to teach?—?certainly no software, no tutors, and probably less structure around student to student learning,” Chandler says. “In a modern micro-school, there are ways to get good data from each of these venues. And the great micro-school of the future will lean on well-designed software to help adults evaluate where each kid is learning.”

Micro-schooling can involve 10 students or less, all at varying ages. The structure allows for extreme flexibility, proponents argue, and the content and approach to learning is determined by the parents.

“The model of a micro school is evolving,” the Micro School Network states. “Most are characterized by small learning communities made up of students working in mixed age groups. Teachers in micro schools do more guiding and less lecturing, and there is extensive use of digital and online resources to create personalized learning paths. Micro schools tend to emphasize project-based learning and community involvement.”

The network provides a platform for families to locate the right school for their children, as well as educational resources. Its “school finder” tool helps parents locate the best microschool for their child’s needs. They can search according to a student’s age, type of school, school attributes, and zip code.

Microschooling allows for personalized learning and individual attention with teachers, while also enabling students to learn in a multiage environment, Nevada Action for School Options explains. Instruction includes core classes of English language arts, math, science, and social studies, but also includes outdoor and other activities tailored to meet the students’ needs.

Nevada Action recently launched MicroschoolingNV in June and created a survey to help match parents and families with schooling options that best fit their needs.

“Families can do this, parents can lead microschools,” says Ashley Campbell, chief of staff at Nevada Action for School Options. “While opening up a schooling group might seem intimidating, parents leading these groups are doing amazing things all over the country, and it really is easier than you might think.”

Campbell says that while there are many licensed teachers opening micro-schools this fall, parents don’t have to be licensed teachers to lead or participate in one.

Micro-schooling takes different forms in different states depending on state laws. In Arizona, they operate as charter schools, in other states, as private schools.

Some families view micro-schooling as a permanent solution to their ongoing frustration with traditional schools not meeting their children’s needs. Others see it as a flexible, temporary solution to an immediate problem.

A recent Ipsos poll found that more than half of the respondents who are parents with a school-aged child said they were very or somewhat likely to switch to at-home learning.