Family Update | 3.15.20
By now you’ve heard the news that Governor Inslee has ordered the closure of all schools in Washington State from at least March 17 - April 24 to slow the spread of COVID-19. This included canceling all school activities and events. I’m sure this came as a shock to many of you and I understand this will be hard on your children and families. We are here to support you throughout the coming weeks and our staff will continue working to serve our students. I want you to know that our team has been working tirelessly to finalize details regarding student meals, optional learning opportunities, and childcare.
Tomorrow, Monday, March 16, will be a regular school day. We will have transportation, breakfast, lunch and classes. Teachers will be providing students important information to help them prepare for this unexpected closure. Students will also be able to pick up learning resources including printed materials and Chromebooks.
We ask that parents not come directly into the school office tomorrow. We want to minimize the number of families coming into the office at once. We will have staff in front of our schools to greet you and direct you where to go depending on your needs, such as picking up medication, requesting Chromebooks (if you didn’t reserve one), checking out students, etc.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we respond to this dynamic and evolving situation. We are determined to support our students, families, and staff throughout the closure. Together, our school community can create a circle of support to ensure that every student and family feel cared for and connected during this time of uncertainty.
Below you will find the following services available to our families during the extended closure. As a reminder, the earliest students may return to school is Monday, April 27, but that is subject to change. All of the services will continue even during our scheduled Spring Break, April 6 -10.
STUDENT MEAL SUPPORTS
Our first priority is meeting the basic needs of students and families. Starting Tuesday, March 17, we will be serving free “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches for any and all students at the following locations:
Broad View Elementary
473 SW Fairhaven Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Crescent Harbor Elementary
350 E Crescent Harbor Road
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Olympic View Elementary
380 NE Regatta Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98977
Families may pick up both meals Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. along with additional learning resources for pickup throughout the closure at each of these sites. At this time, students must be visible to pick up breakfast and lunch, but we’re awaiting further guidance. By next week, we plan to have buses delivering food and curriculum to additional areas in our community for families with transportation issues. We are committed to making sure students are fed during these trying times.
OPTIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
We know there is a lot of anxiety about student learning continuing during this closure. We want to make sure our students keep up on their education as much as possible. While we can’t provide complete online education, we will provide supplemental and enrichment learning opportunities (both online and in paper form) to help our students continue their learning during this time.
Here is what you can expect:
- A letter will be sent home on Monday with each student outlining where to access resources.
- Each student will receive a set of resources to help them get started, including information on accessing digital learning opportunities. Resources will be available in a variety of methods, including materials to download and print, website links, and ideas for other activities.
- Tomorrow, you should also receive an email from your child’s teacher with more information. They will be working during the closure on additional activities and materials for your child and adjusting curriculum for when they return. They will also be periodically checking and responding to email in case you have questions.
- Printed copies will be available by grade level for students who may not have internet access. These can also be picked up at our student meal distribution centers.
- We will provide general guidance to consider by grade level about the amount of time to spend on specific activities as well as a daily sample schedule.
- Every week, a new set of resources will be provided. For students who do not have regular access to the Internet, we will also be providing aligned, printed activities at our student meal distribution sites starting Tuesday, March 17.
- While these activities are not a replacement for classroom instruction, we are committed to providing continued educational opportunities for students during the extended closure.
- If you feel your child will need a Chromebook to access the optional learning activities, please fill out this form and our district will be in touch with your family with details.
- If your family does not have internet access at home, Comcast is offering free Wifi hotspot access to anyone (www.xfinity.com/wifi) and free internet access for low-income families. You can learn more here: https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19.
Per the Governor’s order, we will offer limited child care for families who are considered essential employees in the healthcare industry and first responders. To minimize the spread of disease, we strongly encourage families to find alternative methods and only use this resource if absolutely necessary. If you need this service, please call our dedicated hotline at 360.279.5040. For families who do not fall in this category, we urge you to offer support to family, friends, and neighbors to make sure those who need child care receive it. We know that at this time the Boys & Girls Club, Their Place, and several other child care providers plan to remain open. Most of us have never experienced this level of life disruption. Small moments of grace and support will go a long way as we navigate our collective response to COVID-19.
SUPPORTING STUDENTS’ WELLBEING
This time will be hard on our students’ social and emotional wellbeing. As more information is learned and shared about the spread of COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus), you may notice your child experiencing a wider range of emotions such as worry and fear. Some children might also experience sadness and frustration at not being able to interact with their friends and school staff regularly. There are many steps you can take to support your child during these uncertain times.
Here are some ideas and resources for families:
- Reassure your child that what they are feeling is normal
- Please make time to talk with your child about their feelings and questions
- Take them on hikes, bike rides, walks on the beach and other healthy activities to keep them physically active and outdoors when possible
- Play board games, listen to music, dance, play musical instruments, do art projects, garden and engage socially as a family
- Limit screen time and access to social media
- Pay attention to how long and what your child is watching and reading
- Model positive self-care strategies, your child is learning how to manage their emotions from the caring adults in their life
- Provide honest, age-appropriate information and avoid sharing assumptions about who is sick with COVID-19
- Work with your child to develop a consistent “new” daily routine, samples will be provided early next week
- Public Health’s Guidelines for gatherings of children and youth while schools are closed
- Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children
- Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
- Talking to Kids About COVID-19
This is new territory for all of us. We are working with local and state officials, including the state education agency, OSPI, to navigate this evolving situation and provide inclusive support. Our team will evaluate and make appropriate changes and modifications to make sure we are supporting our families the very best we can.
Thank you for working with us in our community’s collective response to COVID-19. We are proud of our school community and are grateful for the shared commitment to supporting the needs that exist within our area.