COVID-19OAKS Reopening Plan
What a wonderful end to a very different semester at OAKS. Last week we were able to host an outdoor graduation for our kindergarten and 8th grade graduates and their families. Mr. Hall and Mrs. Preston worked tirelessly to provide take-home receptions and bags of gifts for each graduating family. The weather held out and families sat on the lawn in their chairs to celebrate the achievements of their students. Thank you to Pastor Matthew Shallenberger and Mr. Chester Caswell for speaking for these occasions and leaving the graduates with some memories and thoughts to reflect on during the summer. It was great for our staff to see the students one last time and personally wish each family to be well and safe over the summer.
I appreciate the families who were able to participate in the parent forums. The feedback and affirmation provided has already changed our trajectory for the August opening of school. The Covid-19 pandemic has created an ever-changing environment for our profession, but I want to let you know of our current plans for the August opening. You will be updated continually as we change our plans.
Large education systems in our area are making adjustments to their calendars to provide longer breaks for students during the winter months to help with distancing through an expected resurgence of the virus. Although OAKS is not looking to make drastic changes to our calendar, we are looking over the plans and will update you soon with the adjustments that have been voted by the school board. I know that some parents have put in vacation requests already. Please know that our school board will take the necessary measures to excuse these absences due to the last minute changes.
In planning for an August opening the following procedures will be implemented to create a safe work environment for our students and staff. We will work to create small family groups that have little to no exposure to other classes and staff. Remember, these are likely to change some as the summer progresses.
1. Students will enter and exit classrooms using the outside door of each room.
2. Classrooms will be assigned bathrooms in the building to limit exposure across the classrooms.
3. All school gatherings (such as chapel) will be handled electronically as each classroom joins the online assembly program using Zoom.
4. Students will be required to wash hands with soap and water on a regular schedule during the school day. Hand sanitizer will also be used, but soap and water is THE BEST DEFENSE for this virus.
5. Students with persistent coughs will likely be asked to wear a mask to prevent droplets from spreading to other students. All students may wear a mask voluntarily at any time.
6. Students and adults will have their temperatures taken every morning as they enter the building. Students who fall ill with any variety of fever-based illness will be asked to remain home until they are free from fever for 48 hours WITHOUT being medicated. Students who present with an elevated temperature will be removed from school and parents will be responsible for all medical interventions and possible covid, strep, or flu testing.
7. If a staff member or student have a confirmed positive test for the COVID-19 virus it is likely that our program would enter “online learning mode” for at least 14 calendar days, long enough to determine if others have been exposed and made ill from contact with those who are sick.
If OAKS is required to enter an online learning mode there will be major changes from how it was hosted the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year.
1. The online learning duration would be much shorter than the 8 weeks previously managed. 14 calendar days would possibly be the length of time until an all clear is given. Our lesson planning will be created to enter and exit online learning seamlessly, and at a moments notice.
2. OAKS is working to provide technology equipment, one for each student grades 3-8 to use in their classrooms and potentially at home. Appropriate training will start the first day of school and will be centered around using that technology independently. This will allow students in grades 3-8 to be completely independent in accessing their class work and joining classes led by teachers. Online learning etiquette lessons will be taught and a high level of accountability for good online behavior will be implemented. This technology will be used in classes hosted at OAKS as well and provides opportunities for review and enrichment while on campus.
3. Parents will have to have a strong commitment to providing oversight of the login/email system that this class work would be connected to. The email system will host the online classroom, and student use of the email to communicate with other students will be highly restricted. Continual parent training and support will be provided through OAKS.
4. The online learning schedule will look very different with all teachers hosting simultaneous classes multiple times a day to teach lessons and guide students through completing their work while still logged in. There will be classroom and individual incentives to motivate students to remain focused until the learning is accomplished. Please know the frequency and duration of online classes will depend on the age and grade level of each student. For very young students, small group and individual learning sessions will be provided.
5. This model can run for students who are out of school on quarantine or who are missing classes due to other illnesses as well. This system will be a strength to our program at OAKS and to our students.
The Georgia-Cumberland Conference is monitoring state regulations and will continue to provide pertinent information to schools and principals during the summer. I am in touch with Hamilton County and our local health department. We will be guided by the procedures and policies recommended by these entities.
Our greatest source of strength and guidance currently is Jesus Himself. One day I hope to have the time to share all the ways that OAKS was prepared for online learning long before we even heard of COVID-19. Jesus holds us in the palm of His hands and I and the staff at OAKS have faith that we can trust in God’s plans for OAKS. Thank you for your prayers during the summer months. Know we are praying fervently for your family’s safety and wellness.