I've been receiving a number of DM's regarding the decision by The Oak Creek-Franklin Board of Education. Many of these parents feel like they were hood-winked. According to a survey earlier this summer, 73% wanted in-school learning. The board did give parents the option of virtually or in-school learning. This latest decision takes away that option. My wife Dorothy and I can thank our lucky stars our kids are out of school and college. We can't imagine what all these young parents are going through. Below is the statement from the school board.
Copied and pasted from the email just sent to OCFJSD families regarding the school board meeting that occurred this evening.
August 13, 2020
Good Evening Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District Families,
The Oak Creek-Franklin Board of Education just concluded a Special Meeting, scheduled as a result of COVID-19’s changing impact on Oak Creek-Franklin and our return to school plans. The Board considered new information shared by our District Medical Advisor and the City of Oak Creek Public Health Officer. The Board voted to adopt criteria for making decisions regarding when the District will open and close our doors.
Our staff has been working on an in-person return to school and A fully virtual option. Given the Board’s unanimous vote tonight, If you chose the in-person option, the District will now temporarily pivot to remote learning to begin the year. There are metrics and phases of return--all requiring additional planning, preparation, and communication. You can view the entire report here.
The board’s vote requires that the District use a scorecard, updated weekly, starting tomorrow, to monitor the criteria identified in the attached report. Improving community data could result in the District successfully reaching phase two with a return as early as the beginning of October. This is ideal, and what the Board hopes we will experience.
Earlier this summer I wrote, “We also must be cognisant that we could be ordered closed by the Department of Health Services, or the local Health Department, or that individuals or groups of students could be quarantined at home for periods of time.” We have seen Oak Creek’s numbers climb since July, and we have recently observed schools in other parts of the country open, then be quickly closed. No one wants that to happen.
The Board, in reviewing the metrics likely used to ultimately order us closed, chose to act to both avoid the considerable disruption of a closure order, and help families prepare. The Board did not make this decision lightly. Everyone agrees that the schools are the best place to learn. The Board knows that many families depend on the District for a great deal more than an education.
If you chose the 100% Virtual Option, you are unaffected unless you would like to choose the Face-to-Face Option (now phased to start in a remote-learning format); in that case, anyone who when participating in the enrollment survey selected “Yes,” to the question:
“Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, in the event that the District had to pivot to remote learning for all students prior to the official start to the 2020/2021 school year, would you change your answer?” will be contacted as soon as possible.
One of the next messages you receive from the District will be a summary of improvements planned for remote learning. In preparation for fall, we roughly doubled our professional development for the coming year, tailored it to support remote learning, and opened everything early so teachers could use the summer to begin preparing for quarantines or closures. We hoped to open on the first day of school, but planned nonetheless.
Many questions remain, high school and middle school athletics and activities, for one, will continue under the guidance of the WIAA and in coordination with the Oak Creek Health Department. We will continue to communicate frequently and update our FAQ diligently.
The Board knows that opening in a remote format--even if this phase only lasts a few weeks--is a hardship for many families. We will continue to do everything we can to support the unique needs of the nearly 6500 students who depend on us.
Dan Unertl, Superintendent The Oak Creek/Franklin Joint School
Here's the comments on the Oak Creek Facebook page: Oak Creek Neighborhood Watch
Story and photo credit: Fox 6 news