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9/9 COVID Update

September 9, 2021

Dear OUHSD Families;

As we begin to complete the first full month of school, I would like to share with our community an update on how COVID-19 is impacting our district community.  Like many other school districts, we are challenged with a substitute teacher shortage, and the increase in COVID-19 cases in our community has resulted in our teachers needing to stay home with their own COVID-19 positive family members, or quarantine due to a positive exposure.  In addition to this, the number of students who are testing positive for COVID-19 is increasing each day, requiring students to quarantine at home, and if unvaccinated, quarantine if they have had a close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.

Because of these circumstances, instead of having each of the quarantined students work with their teachers individually on obtaining missed assignments--which can be a time-consuming process, resulting in unnecessary delays--we are asking our teachers to put assignments in Google Classroom so that students in quarantine can access their assignments.  This will allow for continuity of learning so that students do not fall behind.  Therefore, if your student is quarantined, please have them check Google Classroom each day for their assignments and to turn in their assignments.

Next, the increased COVID-19 cases and the recent closure of a middle school is beginning to raise questions about whether our schools will be shutting down, and what will happen if we need to close a school.

I want to emphasize that in addition to keeping students and staff healthy and safe, keeping schools open is our top priority.  This also needs to be our community’s priority, because this cannot happen due to sheer will.  Keeping schools open can only occur if, together, we can keep COVID-19 case rates down through wearing a mask, hand washing, staying home if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, and getting vaccinated. If eligible family members also get vaccinated, that will further prevent the spread of COVID-19 to students in your household.  Please review our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions if you need additional information about what to do if your student is COVID-19 positive or if they have a close contact with someone who is.

It is important for you to notify your school immediately if your student has tested positive for COVID,  has been exposed to someone who has tested positive, and to keep them home from school  if they are feeling ill.  The school will report the case or exposure to our school nurse, who will then start contact tracing.  It is imperative that you provide accurate information to the nurse in a timely manner.  Failure to do so may result in other students needing to be quarantined for a longer period of time.

The primary factor that will play into the consideration of school closure is  whether there is significant absenteeism of students and/or staff to warrant that closure.  And, if there is a local closure of any of our schools, the duration will likely be brief.

In the event of a school closure, the following steps will occur: 

  • You will be notified officially from the district office via ParentSquare.  Please don’t rely on rumors, social media posts outside of the district’s social media, or even speculation.  
  • We will ensure that all students will have a Chromebook and hotspot, if they need one. 
    • If your student needs a Chromebook or hotspot, please email ouhsdchromebooks@ouhsd.net 
  • Instruction will occur online during the same hours that school is scheduled.
  • Students will access assignments via Google classroom.
  • Food services will provide curbside pickup.
  • Additional detailed information will be provided in the event of a school closure.

Also, if you are eligible, please apply to be a part of our substitute teacher pool. We have a large need for substitute teachers, and this will also help us keep our schools open when our teachers need to quarantine or stay home with family members who are quarantining. You can apply at: edjoin.org/OUHSDThe pay is $150/day short-term, $175/day long-term (21st day in the same classroom).

We love seeing  our students on campus and learning in the classroom. High school is an incredible time of social and intellectual growth for students, and we want to maximize every opportunity for students to thrive on campus.  This is the reason why, as educators, we chose this career, and what drives us to continue to serve our students each day.  Please help us keep our schools open by keeping ourselves and our students healthy and bring down the rate of COVID-19 in our community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Corey Willenberg
Superintendent