March 9 Letter to Parents
A letter to parents from Superintendent Dr. Amy Fichtner regarding the novel coronavirus.
March 9, 2020
Parents and Guardians,
While there have been no major changes within our school district since my March 3rd letter, I wanted to communicate with you and share updates since that time. Tomorrow, we will share a letter with you specifically related to spring break travel recommendations from our state agencies.
At this time, there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. While that case does not appear to have a link to our schools, I share that so you will know we are aware and closely monitoring the situation. We continue to be vigilant and review each update that is provided to us from the Oklahoma Department of Health and Oklahoma State Department of Education.
These regular protocols, previously shared with you, still remain a priority for the health of our students.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve/arm, not your hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- If children are feeling sick, do not send them to school. Allow for proper time to rest and recover to help prevent infecting other students.
- Per district policy, students who have had a fever of 100 or greater, diarrhea or vomiting must be symptom-free for 24 hours, without the use of symptom reducing medication, prior to returning to school.
We have received a few phone calls or emails asking about the potential closing of school. Here is what we have shared.
- We are monitoring updates related to this recent health concern and should the need arise, we would certainly close school. As with snow, ice, etc., we would communicate that information with staff and parents as soon as decisions were made. Currently, there are no plans to close our schools.
- If we were to close school as a district, we would determine the best course of action for maintaining educational services for our students. Many factors would affect that decision - duration of the school closing, guidance from our state agencies, timing of the closing, how best to serve each grade, etc. Those details would be determined by our staff and communicated as soon as decisions were made.
- There may be times when school is in session that a parent determines their child will not attend for a variety of reasons (family funerals out of town, a child feeling under the weather but not running a fever, a child being concerned about spring storms, etc.). We always respect a parent’s decision-making to keep a child home. Our schools will work with parents to make sure academic progress is being made. Our experience, as a district, is that our parents are wonderful to partner with schools to make sure their students make up school work.
- There has been discussion in the media about on-line learning should school be closed for an extended period. Virtual learning would be more manageable for high school students and more challenging for our youngest learners. We have resources in place, but our district still places great value on the teacher in the classroom and interaction with students. We could certainly devise temporary solutions, should school be closed for an extended period of time.
Our goal as a district is to remain educated and collaborate to provide what our students need. We are extraordinarily grateful for our families who partner with us to make this community strong for our children.
Amy Fichtner, Ed.D.