New Start Date, Chromebook Returns and What's Next
We know the big question on everyone’s minds is, “What will school look like in the fall?” This is an important decision and we have been reviewing thousands of comments and data from our June parent, student and staff surveys and phone calls, meeting with staff and parent focus groups, meeting with health officials, reviewing research and guidance, and are preparing to re-survey all of our parents and staff. Much has changed in the past month, so within the next week, look for this new opportunity to share your current thoughts on the different instructional models our district is considering and share with us what choices your family may be making.
As a reminder, we will offer a full-time distance learning option through the Oak Harbor Virtual Academy for families who wish to stay with online learning regardless of any on-site opportunities this fall. We also offer a supported homeschool program with enrichment classes, curriculum, core content support, and more through HomeConnection. At the secondary level, families can even create blended programs to take advantage of our various programs and options.
NEW START DATE FOR THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR
To allow our teams ample time to plan and make the best choice to deliver safe and high-quality student learning experiences for the upcoming school year, we are delaying the first day of school from Thursday, September 3 to Monday, September 14. There are a variety of factors that were weighed, but below are some key points that led to this decision:
- More time to evaluate and develop different school models (in-person, hybrid, and distance), receive more feedback from families, and communicate our finalized plans for the 2020-21 school year.
- Ample time for schools to create safety measures for the classrooms, pick-up/drop-offs, bus routes, meals, technology, etc.
- Opportunities for teachers to complete robust professional development on best practices in hybrid and distance learning.
- Complete development of part and full-time virtual learning systems that allow us to move between various learning models depending on changing conditions.
- Time to adjust to new reopening guidance and metrics from the Washington State Department of Health expected within the next week.
- Time to get a more accurate picture of the trends of COVID-19 in our community.
The last day of school is now Tuesday, June 22, 2020. Normally, we have three teacher workdays in the calendar, where our staff work but students do not come to school. Those days will be moved to before the school year and no longer listed on the calendar. Also, Emergency Closure Make-Up days will no longer be listed because, in the event of a snow closure, we will switch to distance learning.
We are creating a FAQ for families and will communicate more specifics about the calendar soon.
Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, our district will start a 1-to-1 student-to-Chromebook ratio. Each student will be assigned their very own device for the entire year. We have purchased 2,400 new Chromebooks, but to complete this initiative, we need to collect all Chromebooks issued to families during the March school closures. These machines will be cleaned and updated by our Information Systems Department before checking them out to students next year.
Below are instructions on how to return your Chromebook.
Location: Oak Harbor High School
Address: 1 Wildcat Way, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Dates: Monday, August 3 - Thursday, August 13 (Monday-Thursday)
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
If you are unable to attend our drop off location and times, please call 360.279.5000 to schedule an appointment to return the Chromebook at the District Office.
Families will soon be receiving more information about the different instruction models being examined by our teams for the 2020-21 school year. We have the results of our June family survey and phone calls, but it's vital that we get your current input. As a result, we will be asking for your feedback to help us select the instructional model we will start with this fall based on what we know right now.
It is important to remember that conditions change and at any time we may be required to switch to a different model. We will also be soliciting feedback from teachers and other staff members before submitting the proposal to our School Board for a final decision. We hope to have a decision made in early August to give you ample time to make plans and time for our teachers and staff to get ready for a safe and successful start to our year on Monday, September 14.
We hope to offer as many instructional opportunities as possible. We are working with OSPI, the Department of Health, and our employee groups to make sure the choices available to you are as safe as we can make them. However, it will still be a family decision when selecting the best instructional opportunity for your child. We know many of you are facing different circumstances that will undoubtedly impact your decision. We are striving to meet the needs of as many of our families as we can.
We understand the desire for finalized details and answers to your many questions. This is an important decision. We want to get it right and be fully prepared. New reopening guidance from the state is expected within the next week. We hope to provide specific information right after that to relieve the anxiety and stress many of you are feeling. Rest assured, our team is working extremely hard to make sure Oak Harbor Public Schools students receive the very best education possible in this continued challenging environment.