Superintendent’s Update March 23, 2020

Update as of Monday, March 23rd.

As promised, I will be checking in with staff, students and community on a regular basis to provide ongoing, updated information.  I have another meeting on Tuesday with ODE and Superintendents to discuss any changes in our plans to continue providing essential needs for our families.

A big THANK YOU to our staff who have the capacity to help with food service, online/virtual instruction and possibly day care for our parents who are providing essential services for our communities.  Those who cannot leave their homes for any reason – I understand. My 90 year old mother lives with us and I’m being extra careful not to expose her to what could be a life ending illness. With that said, I know those of you who do not have the capacity to help outside of your home, I know you are still going above and beyond for your family, neighbors and community as a whole.  Thank you!

Our students—Our students have been checking in with teachers and support staff in a virtual environment at least twice a week, more if necessary.  We know the sudden loss of the consistency and structure in a traditional brick and mortar education setting can be challenging. Fortunately, our students have been trained to access and use technology in a virtual setting to continue their education.  Thank you teachers and support staff for consistently checking in with students and families – students are comforted when they connect with you.

Essential Services—Some of you have been wondering about new calls for social distancing (Register Guard article) and what it means to remain open as an “essential service” (e.g. businesses) or go out (doctor appt. or grocery stores, walk in the neighborhood, etc.).

School Districts, under the Governor’s Executive order, were put in paid status in an effort to provide and ensure essential services are available to students (food, supplementary education) and to medical providers and first responders (childcare). We are operating, and will continue to operate, as an essential service entity until different explicit guidance is provided. It is a new way of thinking as we work under emergency conditions, but it makes sense that we would be called upon to do this critical work given our knowledge of working with children, our capacity to feed them, and our available spaces to open child care. And, as our community is reeling from the loss of work, we have been prioritized, in paid status, to provide these essential services. I know that some of our own families and acquaintances are already feeling the economic hardship from lost wages.  In regards to food services for our community we will continue to provide pick-up and deliver for families – even through Spring Break. We may do one Pick-Up and Delivery for the whole week to minimize physical contact. We ask families who need to pick up to please send only one person and families who need food to be delivered to please know we may set the bag of food outside of your door if no one is home. We anticipate that you (Staff) will be hearing about family needs that we may or may not be able to address. Please report all of these to your building leader.

High School and Graduation–We know this is a big question for everyone. We fully expect that all of our Seniors will be on track for graduation as we continue to function as a virtual school.  All of our high school students still have access to all their courses and should not lose any opportunity to earn credit in any one of their classes.

Childcare— I will know more about childcare after Tuesday’s meeting.  I do know that Shana Hockema is working with United Way, staff, administration and volunteers to come up with a plan for providing day care for our parents who are providing essential services on their job.

I’m continually amazed with our staff and community for your continued support in the best interest of our students and families.  Thank you Marcola!!