Sunday, March 15, 2020
Dear Oak Creek-Franklin Families,
On behalf of the entire school district team--our Board, our teachers, everyone--thank you for the overwhelming support in this uncertain time. We know that there are many unanswered questions, and your understanding has been a powerful testament to the strength of our community. Last Friday--with the picture rapidly unfolding for the next few weeks in public education--schools throughout Wisconsin announcing closures, our own announcement, followed by the Governor's announcement, which provided an even wider window... Unprecedented acts to say the least.
Until the Governor's announcement, which prescribed a designated window for closure, our District's position was one of measured reaction. We would wait until our local health authority advised closure, disinfect our schools frequently, provide resources from the CDC, and monitor closely in the interim. Many districts had hoped we were experiencing a period of rising concern that would ultimately prove to be an exaggeration--and we truly hope that is still the case. However, now we face a period of closure from today, to the Governor's tentative return date of April 6th. We'd hoped that this week, followed by spring break would be enough to allow our District to help combat community spread of Covid-19, and minimize our loss of instructional time.
In sum, we're off Monday and at least through spring break. We want to come back March 30, but we might not be able to, so we're planning to be out at least until the Governor's tentative return date of April 6th.
First, we face the challenge of feeding our students who depend on the schools for meals. In partnership with the Salvation Army, tentatively, expect the following:
- Lunches will be made available to all community members 18 and under from March 16-20. All future days will be determined by March 19.
- Lunches will consist of a bag lunch and beverage and be distributed in drive-up fashion in an effort to adhere to the guidelines of the health department.
- Forest Ridge (2200 W Drexel Ave)
- Oak Creek High School (340 E Puetz Rd)
- Salvation Army (8853 S Howell Ave)
- Times: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Second, this situation is fluid, and we're learning new information every day. However, below you'll read how we will attempt to help facilitate learning, despite these challenges, if closures must extend. You'll likely hear a lot about virtual learning, or extended learning opportunities, in the coming days. Our model here in Oak Creek/Franklin is built around a licensed teacher, with a big heart and a toolbox filled with practices, working directly with your kids--not in virtual reality, but in real-time. Full fledged virtual academies are entirely different models. Additionally, perhaps a third of our students do not have home access to the internet--and we don't know how long providers' offers of free, temporary internet will take to deploy. Delivery for our youngest students, students with special needs, English Language Learners, students experiencing poverty--not to mention child care challenges--will also prove daunting.
That said, our staff will pull together and treat this challenge like an opportunity.
- Monday, March 16th, all school administrators and a number of support staff will come together to continue to address extended learning opportunities, should this closure move as far as the governor projects, or further.
- Tuesday, March 17th, all available teachers will report to school and prepare to deploy extended learning opportunities for students, should we remain closed beyond spring break.
- Wednesday, March 18th, schools will be open for families or students to stop by and collect any essential belongings or medications stored at school, and potentially check-out devices. More information to come.
At this time, we will continue to evaluate circumstances as they unfold. Perhaps, as we hope, reactions have reached further than necessary, and we can return to school, as originally planned, after our scheduled spring break. Should further closure be needed, we'll do what we've always done, and work together to build what's next. Expect additional communication leading up to Wednesday, and as we near the conclusion of spring break, or as circumstances warrant.
The District will continue to share our most up to date information and most recent family messages on the Coronavirus Information page of our website.
Please know your school district leaders, local health officials, and community partners are working around the clock in order to take preventive measures to keep our community safe.
In appreciation for your continued support,
|Daniel Unertl, J.D.|
|Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District|