Community Update 5/20 (Day 43)
Dear School of the Osage Students, Families, and Community-
It has been an exceptionally long couple of months, and it is very strange to think we are already to the last day of the 19-20 school year. August will be here before we know it. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful summer. Moving through the coming months, I will continue to send weekly updates on Wednesdays. This way, if you desire to stay in the loop, you will have the information on a regular basis. Occasionally, I will also send an “off-Wednesday” email as well. I don’t do much with social media. But I do return phone calls. In fact, I have done just that multiple times today to listen to concerns and answer questions. I will continue to do so as invited. And of course, do not hesitate to email me.
Thank you for all you have done to partner with us the past two months. I am grateful for your support and excited for the hope that summer and the year beyond brings for us.
We are working on a very detailed FAQ response. But for tonight, I will simply include below some of the most popular.
- Why this? We just want kids back on campus for five days.
We know from the feedback we gathered from parents a couple of weeks ago that we cannot “do school at home” as we did these past two months. We are proud that everyone made it through. But it was not without problems. People have been at home juggling so much. Parents have been balancing; teachers have been scrambling. We all did what needed to be done, but it did create a learning deficit for students. We can’t be in this position again in the future. We agree that students need to be in school, and you want them in school. It is very possible the traditional model of school will not be possible for all students on all days. This is a proactive approach to continue education regardless of sickness, weather, government directives to shut-down; instead of a reactive plan that is harder to execute at the high level our community, family, students and staff have come to expect from Osage.
- What about childcare?
We will have systems in place for needed child care and support by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. As a member of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, our district understands how interconnected all businesses are. Our district is committed to ensuring that we take care to protect our community's ability to go to work. Parents will soon have the opportunity to take a survey to provide input about specific needs.
- This doesn't seem like you are really doing anything with social distancing?
This is a multi-scenario plan. Scenarios 2-4 have many ways to deal with social distancing. Scenario one does not have as many options. Ultimately though, people really just wonder why must we use all those Mondays when that doesn't fix COVID19. The plan is not to “fix” COVID19 problems. However, very real learning losses occurred during school closure due to COVID19. This pushed us to move forward more boldly to ensure we can better protect students and their education in the future. We need options for which we are well prepared.
- What about access to campuses and buildings on Mondays?
Campuses and buildings will be open unless closed by health authorities. We will be using our facilities to provide support and opportunities for students. We will provide updates in the coming weeks.
- What about feeding kids?
We will continue to provide food distribution through the summer and for Mondays.
- As of right now, in which scenario do we plan on starting the year?
Scenario 1 as long as we are allowed to do so by the local and state health departments.
- How much advance notice do you plan on giving parents before making a switch from one scenario to another scenario?
We will only switch to scenarios 2-4 if directed by the local health department or due to weather. And we will let you know as soon as we know.
- Will this new schedule be a plan for the future school years as well?
As we have learned this year, nothing is permanent; and agility is key for our success. We are constantly evaluating needs, opportunities, and requirements. We are committed to listening, learning and paying attention to what is and isn’t working.
- I’ve heard the district has committees. What are they and when are they meeting?
They are meeting regularly for the next two months.
*Calendar, Campus, and Operational Readiness (Dr. Brad Yoder)
*Social/Emotional/Medical Supports (Mr. Bill Altermatt)
*Technology Deployment (Mr. Eric Martin)
*Hybrid Learning PD & Instructional Support (Mrs. Amy Fowler and ISS team)
*Childcare Support, AMI Tutoring, and Opportunities (Mrs. Kim Edwards & Mrs. Amanda Wersching)
*Policy and Governance Adjustments (Mrs. Lana McPheeters)
*Osage Family Partnership (OFP) & Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (Dr. Laura Nelson)
Dr. Laura Nelson
*Indian Support Hotline:
573-552-8878 or [email protected]
Additional Community Support Resources:
Hope House Food Pantry at (573) 365-0099
Camden County Community Assistance Hotline at (573) 346-6145
Miller County Community Assistance Hotline at (573) 692-0426