Parent Update | 3.13.2020
Per Governor Jay Inslee’s executive order, Oak Harbor Public Schools will join the rest of the school district’s in Washington State to close schools beginning Tuesday, March 17, through April 24. At this time, the earliest students will be back in our schools will be Monday, April 27. Schools will be open Monday, March 16, for students to collect their belongings, check out Chromebooks, receive instructional materials and gather any essential education items necessary for the extended closure. Additional learning materials will be available for pickup throughout the closure at our meal distribution locations listed below.
We know these are unprecedented times and will bring uncertainty and anxiety for many of our families. However, our teams have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare for an extended closure. In addition, we have also participated in several conference calls with regional superintendents, public health officials, the Governor’s office, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and other government agencies to learn everything we can to provide the best support we can during this time.
This closure may bring hardships for families and we know many of you may have concerns. We have tried to answer many of your questions and concerns and rest assured specific information will be shared with you as it finalizes.
For now, here are the known answers we have for many of your questions. We will communicate directly to you throughout the weekend.
Why a six-week closure?
We have had many lengthy discussions with Island County Public Health, Governor Jay Inslee, OSPI, and other school district superintendents throughout the region. All parties have come to the agreement that in order to help reduce the impact of COVID-19, all K-12 schools in the most highly affected counties must close for an extended period of time. The governor already issued an executive order to close all schools in the three counties and expanded that order to all schools throughout Washington State today.
What does this mean for extra-curricular activities?
All events, activities, meetings and use of our facilities by outside organizations are canceled during the closure. All school activities, parent information nights, concerts, drama productions, and club meetings are also canceled at this time.
All Oak Harbor High School athletic practices and competitions are currently canceled through this extended closure. At this time, we are closely monitoring the schools in our league as well as neighboring leagues to make an aligned decision for athletics once school resumes.
Will we need to make up the days at the end of the school year?
OSPI expects districts to make every effort possible to make-up any days and instructional hours lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including extending the school year to June 19, if necessary. Currently, OSPI is stating that they will file an emergency rule to allow school districts to waive the days and instructional hours that districts won’t be able to make up after June 19. This rule will be in effect for the 2019–20 school year only. At this time, Friday, June 19 is expected to be our last day of school.
What about graduation?
The Washington State Board of Education makes determinations regarding graduation and we are awaiting official guidance from them. The legislature took action to give the State Board the flexibility to waive graduation requirements as needed. We have been assured there will be flexibility and accommodations that will allow our students in the Class of 2020 to graduate on time.
Will this have an impact on student testing?
OSPI is canceling all state testing for the 2019–20 school year. This includes the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS), the Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM), and WIDA Alternate ACCESS for English learners.
Are you providing online distance learning for students?
At this time, the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) does not recommend our schools attempt to transition to an online distance model during this closure. Rather, they urge schools to provide continued learning activities students can participate in at home. We understand that many of our families may not feel equipped to support their child’s learning at home. We are working to gather resources that families can use at home if they choose. Families are encouraged to set a schedule and space for learning time each day, even if it is just spending time reading. Talk to your child about the importance of maintaining the skills they have because, like anything, if we don’t continue to practice regularly we will lose some of those skills.
Is the district still providing breakfast and lunch for students who need it?
Yes! Starting Tuesday, March 17, we will be providing free grab-and-go meals for any Oak Harbor student. Two meals will be given to each student and will be available to pick up during weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Elementary, Broad View Elementary and Olympic View Elementary. We will also have additional learning resources for pickup throughout the closure at each of these sites.
Are you providing childcare for students of working families?
Per direction of Governor Inslee, our district’s priority is to provide childcare during school hours for families who are not able to remain home while serving in critical community roles as healthcare and emergency responders. We expect to have this service up and running soon and we will share updates when we have more information.
If you are an emergency responder or work in the healthcare industry and need childcare in order to report to work during school hours, please notify us on our NEW child care hotline (360) 279-5040. At this time, childcare spots are reserved for only those families who must report to work during school hours in healthcare or is a first responder.
Are visitors allowed in schools during the closure?
No visitors or outside users will be allowed to enter schools during the closure to minimize the spread of the virus after Monday, March 16. If you have an emergency that may require you to be on school campus, please schedule an appointment with your school administrator. Some of our staff will continue to work at school sites and district buildings during the closure. We are working through the details of what kindergarten registration will look like and will share that information as soon as it is finalized. We expect to launch an online registration process for kindergarten families.
Will the district office be open during the closure?
At this time, the district office will remain open; however, we will be following social distancing guidelines and ask that all visitors not enter if they are:
- Experiencing a fever or respiratory illness
- Have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days
As a district, we are doing all we can to take care of our students and families during this incredibly difficult time. You can expect more communication from us during the coming days and during this closure. You are not alone. We are all in this together and, together, we will make it through.