NSSD COVID-19 Staff Update

April 1, 2020

Andy Gardner Message

Hello NSSD Staff!

I hope that you are all doing well as we adapt to the new normal. Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Colt Gill’s announcement on Monday night that School Districts in Oregon will need to transition to providing Distance Learning for All implicitly acknowledges that we may not come back to school this year. I empathize with all of you as we go through the mental and emotional challenges of adapting to these new realities. The Governor’s orders have given us clear direction about our role in this crisis, and while it is definitely not what we are used to, it does give us purpose.

Our primary intent today is to provide information about the shift. The District presented plans to you yesterday (Tuesday, March 31st) that were based on having “Supplemental” instruction ready to go by April 6th which would be delivered through April 28th. The Monday evening (March 30 at 9pm) communication did not give us time to adjust and communicate the new shift, which, understandably, created stress in staff yesterday. To be clear: April 6th is no longer our deadline. The State has asked us to be ready to go with plans for the new “Distance Learning for All” by April 13th, but it was made clear that this new date is not hard and fast with districts implementing a perfect system. This means that we have time to learn together, to plan, and to understand. Without question we will be in a state of constant learning and adjustment, and I encourage communication among and between staff at all levels to raise awareness of challenges so that we can work towards the best ways to serve our students and families.

A backbone of our district has been our PLCs, and these groups will continue to be key as we begin to dig into new learning about how best to do the work. Perhaps more importantly, they have the opportunity to be our best vehicle to support each other. I would ask that each group raise its awareness of those things that are under our control and those factors that are not. For example, we can control our planning and our learning new technology that can assist us, but we cannot control the dynamics in a home where a parent may be laid off. We must simply do our best in those areas where we can, and help our fellow staff members through anxiety and frustration. I have been amazed at the great attitudes that our staff has had in the last few weeks, and I know that families are being reached out to this week—thanks to all who are engaged in the daycare, the communication and teaching, cleaning our buildings and preparing the meals.

Announcements and Clarifications

  • The daycare is open to families that meet priorities that have been set by the Governor. These are 1) Healthcare providers, including all support staff at hospitals and nursing homes; 2) Emergency responders; and 3) others who work outside the home. Due to this priority, and with the purpose being to support our local healthcare employees, we have not moved to lower priorities at this time. Please refer inquiries to the District Office if you encounter a community member with a question.

  • The State of Oregon has asked that teachers track their time and districts be able to demonstrate that they have provided supplemental education and now Distance Learning for All. The Governor’s original order stipulated that schools will continue to pay staff, but we do need to demonstrate that we are working to meet requirements.

  • The District is developing a calendar of training that will be available next week to support staff in transitioning into Distance Learning.

  • Chromebooks are being prepared for distribution starting Monday next week.

  • District staff and principals are preparing guidance documents related to Distance Learning. Principals will be working with their staff next week to support you in this transition.