Ashland School District
Inspiring Learning for Life
ASD Omicron Update: High School Moves to Short-Term Distance Learning
Ashland School District
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Superintendent Smore Newsletters: https://www.smore.com/
In this newsletter
- Update on active cases, exposures, quarantines and staffing
- Short-term move to distance learning at High School January 13
- All Schools Technology Needs Survey
- All Winter Sports and Activities Postponed Until January 31
- All other sites Open and In-Person
Omicron Update: High School Moves to Short-Term Distance Learning
Ashland Families, Students and Community Members,
Since returning from break and over the weekend, our conditions are changing on a daily, even hourly, basis. We continue to hear from families reaching out about the impact surging cases could have on our schools and extracurricular activities. My goal today is to share what we know to date, so that you can be as prepared and proactive as possible.
Over the weekend, we’ve seen rapid rise in confirmed cases and exposures among student athletic teams as well as spread among students and staff at some sites. Along with active cases, we are seeing increased numbers of exposures resulting in isolation or quarantine. The majority of exposures are from off-site social gatherings or events.
Due to the increasing numbers of persons being isolated or quarantined due to COVID and the limited pool of available substitutes in all areas from operations and instruction to administration, we are moving Ashland High School to short-term distance learning on January 13. We anticipate a return to in-person learning on January 31.
Additionally, one classroom at John Muir Outdoor School is moving to distance learning this week. JMOS is communicating with those families.
ASHLAND HIGH SCHOOL SHORT TERM DISTANCE LEARNING
AHS staffing has been significantly impacted by quarantines with a total of 20 staff out today for a variety or reasons. We anticipate insufficient substitutes available after Wednesday this week. We have made the difficult decision to move to distance learning for 1-2 weeks or until we are able to provide staffing for adequate in person instruction and supervision.
We are working to reduce exposures and spread, and safely return all students to campus as soon as possible.
AHS will send out important details today on the move to short-term distance learning.
- Technology will be made available for students that need devices to use at home.
- The AHS computer labs and library will remain open for students to access devices and learn on campus. Buses will continue to operate and meals will continue to be provided.
- AHS will offer flexible opportunities for finals the week of January 24.
ALL SCHOOLS TECHNOLOGY NEEDS SURVEY
AHS will send out a survey today through email to determine which students have a device and access to Wi-Fi and which students need a device or Wi-Fi. If you do not receive the email, please check your spam folder. The survey link is unique to your student.
All other schools will send out a similar survey through your email to be prepared in the event of a closure.
ALL WINTER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES POSTPONED
All winter sports and after-school extra-curriculars and activities are temporarily postponed district-wide. We anticipate resuming sports and activities January 31.
We understand that school closures and suspension of activities impact our families significantly. Our goal is to keep our students learning in-person, every day, as we know that this is the best place for them academically, socially, mentally and emotionally. Additionally, we are committed to do our best to resume extracurricular activities.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED WHEN MOVING TO SHORT-TERM DISTANCE LEARNING
District leaders have been communicating with state health officials, meeting regularly with local health providers and Jackson County Health to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our community, and we’ve also been closely tracking data, nearly hourly, to determine COVID’s impact on our ability to continue to keep classrooms open. This includes, but is not limited to, monitoring the number of staff and students isolated with COVID-19, the number of staff and students in quarantine, and the number of staffing vacancies not covered by substitutes.
We are back-filling staff vacancies at every opportunity with staff from all departments, including administrators. Due to the increasing numbers of persons continuing to be isolated due to COVID-19, we are in a position at AHS and in a classroom at JMOS where we are unable to have students learn safely at school due to staffing shortages.
Details on short-term distance learning will vary based on the classroom or school impacted.
You can read more about short-term distance learning here.
PARENTS AND GUARDIANS - BE PREPARED
Because of this current situation, we urge you to have a contingency plan for your student(s) and family in the event of a move to short-term distance learning for your child’s classroom or school. If a classroom or school transitions to distance learning, we will make every attempt to provide appropriate notification prior to the transition.
- Make sure student vaccinations and boosters are up-to-date.
- Observe social distance guidelines
- Limit social gatherings outside the home to minimize exposure
- KN95 masks are strongly encouraged – omicron is highly transmissible
KN95 masks are available for use at school in most sizes if needed. Not all sizes are available at all sites.
Thank you for your understanding and support as we work to help our students stay healthy and stay in school.
Ashland Public Schools
Pronouns: He, Him, His
SAFETY LAYERS – KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY
Throughout the pandemic, the Ashland School District has taken student and staff health and safety very seriously. We have used some of the most cautious precautions in the region and have had fewer cases and more time in school as a result. We post our student and staff cases and exposures, as well as our safety protocols on our website here: https://www.ashland.k12.or.us/page/coronavirus-covid-19-response
The safety layers we have in place during the school day are:
- All staff that work with students have completed the first series of vaccinations
- Encouraging all eligible students to get vaccinated, including hosting vaccination clinics
- Masks are worn on campus by all, except when actively eating or drinking
- 3 foot distancing is maintained whenever possible between students
- 6 foot distancing is maintained whenever possible between students and staff, and between all individuals when masks are off for eating
- Frequent hand washing and sanitizing
- Increased filtration measures in classroom spaces
- Students and staff have the option to participate in free weekly asymptomatic testing programs
- Rapid testing for students and staff who become symptomatic while at school
- No student or staff experiencing symptoms may remain at school
- Large group events such as open house or curriculum nights are held on line
- Limited volunteer opportunities - six foot distancing must be able to be maintained, and volunteers must be vaccinated and masked