Update to COVID-19 for Oscoda Schools.

Update to COVID-19 for Oscoda Schools

In an effort to ensure accurate and thorough communication regarding a variety of concerns that have been expressed to our team, this message will outline our current understanding of and plans to address issues related to the state mandated prolonged school closings and how they apply to Oscoda Area Schools.   While we continue to work diligently to develop, modify, and communicate plans to address a wide range of concerns, please understand that this remains a rapidly evolving situation with many uncertain variables.  As such, changes to communicated plans may happen swiftly and we will work diligently to communicate any updates or changes as efficiently and effectively as possible.  Oscoda Area Schools appreciates your understanding as our team works to keep you informed.  The following are some of the more common areas of concern or requests for clarification that have been expressed to our team as well as our current plans to address those issues:


1.      How will this impact the last day of school for the 2019-2020 school year?


At this time, we cannot be certain as there are a number of variables that have yet to be clarified with public schools.  We currently foresee at least three possible outcomes:


                                                              i.      State legislators could pass a bill that would allow for the forgiveness of time missed during the mandatory school closures, as they did during the 2018-2019 school year during the polar vortex state of emergency.  IF this were to occur, we would not anticipate any change to the final day of school, currently scheduled to be June 5th, 2020.


                                                            ii.       Oscoda Area Schools could use the available “forgiven time” including the application for an additional 3-day waiver provided for in law, to “excuse” some of these days.  In this scenario, and absent additional forgiven time from legislators, the end of the school year would be extended by 6 days to June 15th, 2020.


                                                          iii.      Our application for an additional 3-day waiver could be denied by the state.  In this case the end of the school year would be extended by 9 totals days resulting in a final day of school of June 18th, 2020.


As more information becomes available we will keep everyone updated regarding the end of the school year.


2.      Will students have homework or on-line based learning during this mandatory school closure period?


At this time the State of Michigan has not addressed pupil attendance requirements.  To further compound the issue of remote educational programming, many families do not have easy access to high-speed internet service.  However, Richardson Elementary School will be providing intermittent learning challenges, starting Monday, March 16th, 2020 for students to complete and submit electronically through the period of time school will remained closed.  Many of the organizations which work closely with us are sharing creative ideas via social media to keep students engaged during this time away from school.  We appreciate these organizations and their efforts to continue engaging students.


3.      How can I help ensure that students that need assistance with food are getting their nutritional needs met while school is closed?


Oscoda Area Schools continues to work with various partners and organizations to ensure that our student population gets their nutritional needs met.  Further, our Food Service Department is undergoing training related to the Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Project which can provide up to five (5) pre-packaged breakfasts and five (5) pre-packaged lunches to students under the age of 18.  In addition, Oscoda Area School’s backpack program will be doubling this effort by providing weekly food disbursements to complement and enhance this program. 


Currently we plan to start disbursing lunches and breakfasts twice per week on Mondays and Wednesdays starting Wednesday March 18, 2020.  The backpack program will be providing food to families of students each Wednesday beginning March 18th, 2020.  We anticipate sending a call with more specific information and instructions on Monday March 16th, 2020.  Additionally, we will provide more information on Monday if you are interested in volunteering to help hand out food to those in need during our Monday and Wednesday food disbursements.  If interested please send an email to barnhartm@oscodaschools.org with your name, telephone number expressing your interest in volunteering.


4.      Will any other events scheduled to occur at Oscoda Area Schools be held during this period?


No, in accordance with the recommendations from the State of Michigan, we will be using this period of closure to do deep cleaning and disinfecting of our environment.  As such, we will only be permitting Oscoda Area Schools’ staff and some limited individuals into our facility.  Further, we will not be permitting any students to enter any school building until further notice.  This will ensure that our team has the ability to thoroughly disinfect all areas of our buildings and minimize risk of interaction with any individuals experiencing symptoms of any illness.