OCS 20/21 School Year Planning Updates
Greetings OCS Community ~
Although the end of this most memorable school year was not even two weeks ago, the OCS Board and Administration team have already jumped into the planning for next school year.
The Board and Admin team will be meeting every two weeks to continue planning for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Following each of these planning sessions, a newsletter will be sent out to the OCS community to provide updates.
During this time, more than ever, Board communication and parent engagement will be essential as we continue planning throughout the summer.
What is the Board Doing to Plan for Next Year?
The Board has been meeting weekly since school transitioned to distance learning back in March. These meetings have focused on urgent and tactical needs to support school operations. Now that the 2019-20 school year is over, the board has transitioned to Fall planning meetings every other Sunday.
Much of the work to-date has been focused on learning and information gathering. While there is no comprehensive guidance available yet to inform how schools should be operating, more and more information is becoming available from sources such as the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Department of Health, Labor & Industries, and the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, to name a few. The information being collected by the Board will be made available on the new website for community members to review. (More on that below).
The Board is also establishing and maintaining relationships with other private schools in the same situation. For example, OCS has been represented at weekly meetings with the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, which consists of both local and statewide private school administrators who share planning ideas and concerns for next year.
Most importantly, the Board is really focusing on effective and transparent community engagement and communication. Families must be involved in these critical decisions facing the school. In addition to regular newsletter updates and parent meetings throughout the school year, the Board has established a parent portal on the updated OCS website. This portal will be a central hub for all Fall Planning information, including planning meeting schedules and notes, links to resources, and a form to submit questions, concerns and suggestions to the board.
Current Guidelines and What We Know So Far
Per OSPI, we know that Washington schools are expected to re-open this fall for in-person instruction, consistent with health requirements, and meet the 180-day and 1,027 instructional hour requirements. This guidance is specific to both public and private schools, regardless of what Phase of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan our county is in.
OSPI has identified seven reopening concepts ranging from traditional onsite face-to-face school, and going all the way to enhanced continuous remote learning. After a review of all seven models, we have determined two to three to be applicable to our situation. We will continue to assess how these models, or a combination of models, can work for us.
We know that with re-opening there is still a real risk of virus exposure. And while no re-opening options afford us with a zero-risk outcome, we are committed to reducing the risk of exposure as much as possible. We know that we will need to socially distance our students while at school and that our staff and students will be required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks or face shields and comply with temperature checks. We know that sick individuals, whether students, staff, teachers, or volunteers, will not be allowed to be physically present. We also know that we will have increased cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting protocols to adhere to. How we will implement all this is still being determined.
There is also the potential that schools may be required to close or go remote during the year, so we will need to plan for multiple school delivery options and how to transition to/from each to ensure continuous learning.
And, lastly, we know that we are not in this alone! There are other schools we can, and are, collaborating with to learn from and information share.
How should the Community Stay Engaged in Fall Planning?
We know this coming school year is going to look much different than normal. And the only way we can design school operations consistent with our community values is to both solicit and receive feedback from families. The Board is increasing its effort to engage the community, but it’s also important that families also increase their efforts to be informed. This means participating in the monthly parent meetings throughout the school year, reading the newsletters throughout the summer and school year, completing school surveys, and reviewing the new website, particularly visiting the new parent portal! Also, families should start having their kids practice wearing masks so that when the school year starts it is not such a shock for them to wear during school. If your family has any concerns, questions or ideas, you can also reach out to any Board member or email the communications coordinator directly.
A Message from our Community ~
Kattarina Simons (Ariana's mom) has graciously come forward offering her skills expertise in mask making. If you are interested in having a mask made for your child please contact Kattarina directly to discuss what options she is offering. You can contact Kattarina by emailing her at: email@example.com.
Get a Jump Start!
All new and returning families are required to submit paperwork prior to the first day of school. Below are the links to the paperwork and forms needed. You can send your completed paperwork electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Returning Families Paperwork:
Changes to State Immunization Rules for Schools and Child Cares Effective August 1, 2020
The State Board of Health (SBOH) has approved changes to Chapter 246-105 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) concerning school and child care immunization policy. These rules apply to all public and private schools and licensed child care centers in Washington State.
Starting on August 1, 2020, the revised rule requires medically verified immunization records for school and child care entry. Medically verified record includes one or more of the following:
A Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) printed from the Immunization Information System (IIS)
A physical copy of the CIS form with a healthcare provider signature
A physical copy of the CIS with accompanying medical immunization records from a healthcare provider verified and signed by school staff
A CIS printed from MyIR
Link to MyIR:
Some closing words from the OCS Board
Remember to be safe and take care of yourselves over the summer! Even though businesses are re-opening, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Practice good hygiene habits, like mask wearing and hand washing. These are going to be good habits to have established as we begin the new school year. And remember to practice compassion for your community and yourself. This is going to be a long journey but we can do this together.