IMPORTANT: OFPS moving to virtual programming beginning October 8, 2020.
Due to the increased spread within our school district and in the communities that we serve, we will be modifying our educational programming. Students in grades two through twelve will transition to a fully virtual learning model beginning October 8, 2020. We will reassess the level of community spread and student positive cases during the first week of November to determine if, when, and how we’re able to resume face-to-face learning. Face-to-Face programming will resume on October 12 for students in 4K-1st grade, and the specifics of these days will be shared with you by your building Principal. It is important to note that our Transportation Department will be reaching out to families to share pick-up and drop off times that will support the modified face to face schedule for students in 4K-1st grade.
Use the buttons above to contact the district for questions and support. Additionally, click the dates at the bottom of this page to expand each district update.
Stay safe and healthy!
|COVID-19 Resources for Parents|
|Decision Tree Guide for Families and Their Children on Sending Students to School|
|Decision Tree Guide for Students Returning to School after COVID-related Absence|
Dear OFSD Families and Staff,
Over the past two weeks we continue to experience a rise in positive COVID-19 cases among our students and staff as well as throughout Oconto County and NorthEast Wisconsin. The results of these positive cases involve a significant number of our students and staff required to isolate due to being a positive case, and an even greater number of students and staff needing to quarantine due to being a close contact. On multiple days over the past two weeks, we have experienced more than 30 staff members unable to be at work and more than 150 students out of school. During this time, I have met and consulted with the County Health Department, our Medical Liaison to the School District, local Superintendents, members of our Board of Education, and school district personnel to evaluate the information we have and to consider the many concerns that have been shared with us by parents, staff, and community members. Due to the increased spread within our school district and in the communities that we serve, we will be modifying our educational programming. Students in grades two through twelve will transition to a fully virtual learning model beginning October 8, 2020. We will reassess the level of community spread and student positive cases during the first week of November to determine if, when, and how we’re able to resume face-to-face learning. We will maintain our current schedule Monday/Tuesday (October 5 and 6) to provide our students, staff, and families the opportunity to prepare for this change. On October 7, staff members will be involved in transition planning and will provide students with asynchronous online learning expectations via their learning platform. I anticipate that you will receive further information from your child’s principal and teachers related to their specific building schedule and any needed information related to the transition and virtual learning expectations.
If your child has an IEP or 504 plan, please be aware that there will be additional communication regarding services and support for students who have disabilities as the district is implementing a virtual model of instruction. Please look for communication from Terri Olsen, Director of Pupil Services and/or your child’s special education teacher in the next few days.
Given the specific needs of our students involved in 4K, 5K, and first grade programming, we will continue to involve them in face-to-face instruction at their home school. We will implement modifications to our schedule, processes, and programming to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I anticipate that your child’s Principal will provide you with more information regarding the 4K-1 schedule which has been modified to provide face-to-face learning of the most essential academic needs.
For students in 4K – 1st grade we will maintain our current schedule Monday/Tuesday (October 5 and 6) to provide our students, staff, and families the opportunity to prepare for this change. As part of this transition process, 4K-1st grade students will not report to school on October 7-9 and instead be involved in learning from home. Staff members will engage with students in a similar manner to their Wednesday sessions. Face-to-face programming will resume on October 12 for students in 4K-1st grade and the specifics of these days will be shared with you by your building Principal. It is important to note that our Transportation Department will be reaching out to families to share pick-up and drop off times that will support the modified face-to-face schedule for students in 4K-1st grade.
We are planning to continue our Kids Station programming in order to support our families during these challenging times. If you have questions related to Kids Station services, please contact Mrs. Joanne Michalski at Abrams Elementary School (920) 826-5819.
We will continue forward with Athletic events district-wide scheduled to occur this week (Oct 5-9). We will be modifying the special board meeting agenda scheduled to be held on October 7th in the PAC to include a discussion regarding whether or not to continue with district-wide athletics (Middle and High School) during the implementation of fully virtual programming (After October 9).
Please know that I am grateful for the efforts of everyone involved in the educational process over the past five weeks to enable us to operate in a face-to-face environment. This time has helped our students to successfully transition back to school and it has also enabled students and staff to build their capacity relative to interacting in a virtual environment on Wednesdays. As we move forward, I encourage our students, staff, and families to continue in your vigilance to focus on how we can do our part to protect our families as well as the communities that we live in. Please be thoughtful to wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently, and maintain social distance in all public settings. Through everyone working together we can positively impact our current reality and improve our ability to get back to school.
Additional information related to this transition:
- Please continue to monitor updates on our district website
- We will reevaluate on November 2nd and every two weeks thereafter.
- School District Staff will report to work and offices will remain open
- Principals will share more information with their families regarding the specifics of the transition
- More information regarding school breakfast/lunch programming will be forthcoming. We are currently planning how we can implement a breakfast/lunch dropoff program to support our families.
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Oconto Falls Public Schools
September 25, 2020
Over the past few weeks we have addressed the needs of both students and staff within our school district that have tested positive for COVID-19. In each of these situations, we worked collaboratively with the Oconto County Health Dept to address the needs of the individual that tested positive, and also identified any students or staff that were determined to be close contacts with the individual that tested positive. Once close contacts were identified, we contacted those families that were directly affected. In an effort to allow all of our families to stay informed related to new positive cases, please refer to the following LINK on our district webpage which will be updated each Wednesday. The totals in the student columns will be added in the next few days to include data from today. We will not be sending communications out to families each time we experience a positive case within our school district. Instead, we will update this site weekly which will allow families to be aware of any new cases. Please note that this data is general in nature as to protect the confidential nature of this information.
As a school district, we continue to implement measures to mitigate the spread of this virus. These actions include social distancing, good hand hygiene, and wearing face coverings. You can assist us by incorporating the same strategies at home. To support you in your efforts we are including guidance in our Student Decision Tree, if your child is exhibiting any symptoms please follow the decision tree and refrain from sending them to school. Your thoughtfulness and assistance is greatly appreciated as together we can more effectively control the spread of COVID-19.
It is important to note that yesterday the Governor of Wisconsin took action to declare a public health emergency Executive Order #90 . In response to this public health emergency, the Governor has also extended the face covering requirement to November 21, 2020 Emergency Order #1. Please note that our school district implemented a face covering requirement prior to the original state order which means that if the state order sunsets in the future, the face covering requirement will still be in place for all students, staff, and visitors until the Oconto Falls Board of Education would take action to rescind this expectation.
Superintendent of Schools
September 10, 2020
COVID-19 Positive Case/Close Contact Information For Parents
Over the past couple days we have had many questions related to our response to positive cases of COVID-19 within our student population. Below is information that will help to outline the sequence of events that happens when a student or staff member is identified as being COVID positive.
The Sequence of Events:
- The school district is notified by the Oconto County Health Department of a positive case of COVID-19
- School district staff then work collaboratively with Oconto County Health Department staff to identify anyone that would be considered a “Close Contact”.
- School district staff contact the parent/guardian to pick up their child if they are identified as a close contact.
- Oconto County Health Department staff will contact the parent/guardian within forty eight hours to verify their child is a close contact and communicate next steps and expectations related to quarantine.
- Oconto County Health Department will work closely with school district staff to guide us on a return to school date for each individual and we will be following these recommendations.
When we receive notification regarding a positive case of COVID-19, school district staff work together with the Oconto County Health Department to quickly implement the isolation process for the person that has tested positive. We then work collaboratively to determine who if anyone was in Close Contact with the individual that tested positive. The following is a link that provides more information relative to determining a close contact. It is important to note that in our current educational environment which involves all students attending school face to face four days a week, we can anticipate that we will have students that are close contacts when we experience a positive case in the school environment.
Once any close contacts are identified, school district staff will contact the parent/guardian of the student to inform them of the situation and have them come to school to pick up their child. The parent/guardian will be informed at that time that they can expect to receive a phone call from the Oconto County Health department which will involve questions, validation of their child being a close contact, and then guidance to follow relative to being a close contact. During this contact by the Oconto County Health Department, the parent/guardian will be given information relative to the duration of their child’s quarantine. This information will also be shared with school district staff so that we can anticipate your child’s return to school.
While students are quarantined, school personnel will communicate with the parent/guardian to address how we can best address their child’s educational needs based on their specific circumstances.
Dean Hess, Superintendent of Schools
Oconto County Public Health & School District Nurse Committee
Districtwide Notification of a Positive COVID-19 Case
School Year: 2020-21
This letter is to notify you that a student or staff member within our school district has tested positive for COVID-19. The health of our students, staff, and community is our top priority. We are actively working with Oconto County Public Health to quickly identify, notify, and quarantine students and staff who may have come into close contact with the person that tested positive. We are also taking extensive disinfection measures throughout the school building(s) to control the spread of illness.
What to Expect
If your student had close contact with an active case of COVID-19 in our school district, you will receive communication via phone call and letter providing information on the next steps. Oconto County Public Health Department will be reaching out to you with further questions and guidance.
If your student is not identified as having close contact with an active case of COVID-19 in our school district, no further communication is indicated at this time. However, please continue to do your part in mitigating the spread of this virus by continued practice of social distancing, good hand hygiene and healthy practices within our community.
If through further assessment and interviewing of this case, Public Health would request any information from you, please assist them as they work to investigate and control COVID-19 in our school district.
Prevent Further Spread
Notify the school if your student tests positive for COVID-19
Notify the school if your student had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
Keep students home from school if they are sick
Encourage good habits: wash hands frequently, keep 6 feet apart from others, wear a mask or facial
covering in public, monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, stay home as much as possible/avoid crowds
Symptoms of COVID-19
● Fever (temperature 100.4 F or higher)
● Trouble breathing
● Muscle/body aches
● Loss of sense of taste or smell
● Runny nose or nasal congestion
● Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Please monitor your student for symptoms and follow the guidance of Public Health, and help us keep our
students and school community healthy.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your School Health Department: 920-848-4467 (ext-6)
8 September 2020
We are excited to announce that the USDA announced a nationwide waiver for schools to offer free meals to all students.
Effective September 14, 2020 all students age 18 and under in the Oconto Falls School District can receive Free Breakfast and Free Lunch up until December 31, 2020 OR until the available funds run out. Which means this program could end at any time prior to December 31, 2020. These meals will only be available on scheduled school days according to our 2020-2021 School year calendar. If there is money in your food service account currently, it will remain in there to be used once this opportunity ends.
This is a great opportunity for all kids to receive breakfast and lunch each day at Abrams Elementary, Oconto Falls Elementary, Washington Middle School and Oconto Falls High School. We will still be sending meals home with students that order them Tuesday for the Wednesday Virtual Learning Day and these also will be free of charge.
It is very important that you still complete the Free and Reduced Application, if you have not done so, because when this free meal opportunity ends, you will be responsible for payment based on your current status of free/reduced/paid. Our District may qualify for special funding or programming based on our Free and Reduced percentage.
Please note this opportunity does not include a la carte purchases, snack milk at the elementary levels, and/or milks purchased with meals brought from home. These items WILL be charged to your account.
PLEASE BE PATIENT AND FLEXIBLE as we will be ordering supplies, based on the data from our meals last spring.
As always, if you have any questions, we will be happy to help.
Food Service Director
920-848-4466 ext. 1
Superintendent, Dean Hess, and instructional coach, Jason Schmidt, participated in a podcast discussing the first week of school. Please click the play button below to hear the podcast.
August 13, 2020
To Parents of Students of the Oconto Falls Public Schools,
On Friday, July 31, 2020, Governor Evers declared a Public Health Emergency and issued an Emergency Order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when indoors, except in a private residence. The following is a link to that Emergency Order. The Oconto Falls School Board also indicated they would support students and staff wearing face coverings at the board meeting on 7/29/2020.
Effective immediately and until further notice, all staff, students and others entering the school buildings are required to wear a face mask/face covering if both of the following apply:
- The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space
- Another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household or living units are present in the same room or enclosed space
The face covering needs to be covering your nose and mouth. Acceptable face coverings include:
- Cloth face covering / mask
- Surgical masks
- Neck Gaiters/Balaclava
Masks should be conservative in nature and be in good taste. Masks that have inappropriate pictures, words or symbols should not be worn.
Instructors/staff will be expected to wear face coverings in the classroom during instruction. Staff and students will be afforded opportunities to take breaks during which time they will be able to remove their masks. We will need to implement breaks throughout the day for both staff and students. Examples include at lunch time when eating, outside breaks, snack breaks, etc. Staff and families will receive more information at the building level as to how breaks will be implemented.
We have received enough white cotton masks to provide each student with at least one, or two if you choose. Please contact the office of the building in which your student attends, if you need a cloth mask. Your student will need a mask on before entering the bus or school each day.
We anticipate that a majority of students will be able to tolerate wearing a face covering, with the planned breaks. We will also provide additional accommodations for those that require additional support. We will make arrangements for staff and students who require more frequent breaks to support their tolerance of face coverings. Students unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition, will need parents to complete the following Student Face Covering Exception Request Form. These forms are returned to building principals for review and you will be contacted regarding the next step in this process. Once that process is completed, it is likely that a decision will be made regarding an alternative mask or alternative program option for students who are unable to wear a face covering. At any point during this process, families can enroll their child in the virtual school (Acellus) option that we are offering as a school district.
August 12, 2020
Our District has been planning for the reopening of school this fall and how we can reduce the spread of COVID-19. As part of that planning, our Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Mike Bouche has been collaborating with Supervisors from other school districts throughout the area to discuss products, processes, and protocols to help with risk mitigation.
On July 29, 2020 our Board of Education approved the hybrid model of instruction which includes face to face classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This leaves Wednesday with no students in the building, as they will be participating in virtual learning on those days, and it allows our Custodial staff to do more in depth cleaning in our facilities It should be noted that as part of our risk mitigation efforts, our custodial staff are also modifying and increasing cleaning protocols on the other four days of the school week.
Please see below some of the highlighted steps being taken to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools:
- Covid updated processes and equipment implemented by the Maintenance / Custodial staff.
- We have been and will continue to add touchless faucets in the higher traffic bathrooms.
- We are adding bottle fillers to each school and restricting access to water fountains.
- We will provide hand sanitizer for classrooms where needed and 1 gallon bottles for each student entry point to the building.
- We have added plexiglass shields to each office and to the food service teller at OFHS
- We will be retooling our cleaning supplies. We will switch to microfiber cleaning towels which will be changed out after cleaning each room.
- We have also outfitted the food service area with microfiber towels for cleaning tables.
- Night staff will continue to work their shift 5 nights a week. Where possible we will push their daily schedules back to have less personal contact with instructional staff. Monday,Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday they will thoroughly clean their assigned areas. Hard surfaces, floors, knobs, touchpoints. When needed they will electrostatically spray high risk areas.
- The cleaning focus for night staff on Wednesdays will be high traffic areas. (Entries, common areas, bathrooms, athletic areas).
- Day staff will help meet the needs of teachers, assist with common areas, and touch up entries.
- They will add to their daily duties an extra cleaning of the high use bathrooms.
- Maintenance staff will do their best to avoid high traffic areas, utilize 6am to 8am to do repairs and use vacant class times to assist with classroom management.
- We will assist with the removal of any hard to clean furniture or rugs.
- We will change the air filters more frequently and modify the influx of outside air when possible.
Dean R Hess
Superintendent of Schools
Buildings and Grounds Supervisor
Superintendent, Dean Hess, and instructional coach, Jason Schmidt, participated in a podcast outlining the decisions of the board of education regarding returning to school in the fall of 2020. Please click the play button below to hear the podcast.
Two videos were shared as part of the board of education meeting on July 29. The first video outlined how students might access live (synchronous) instruction from home. Please view the video below.
The second video provided a brief overview of what parents will experience when using the district’s new learning management system, Schoology. More information regarding how to access Schoology as a parent will be provided in the upcoming weeks.
The purpose of this fully online option (Acellus) is to provide families an alternative choice for educational programming. The Acellus programming will be different from the virtual learning that students in the hybrid model (four days face to face/one day virtual) will experience. Students learning through Acellus will receive a curriculum that is similarly aligned with state standards, but instructed in a different manner and in a different sequence than students in the face to face hybrid model recently approved by our Board of Education. Acellus courses are generally self paced. An Oconto Falls staff member will be checking in and will be available to support your child with their questions.
If your child has health conditions and you have concerns about your child returning to school, please reach out to one of our school nurses, Lynette Donart (email@example.com) and/or Bobbi Jo Boomsma (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can provide you with more guidance specific to your child. We understand that some families are not planning to have their children return to school in our four day face to face hybrid model. To support families interested in the Acellus (fully virtual) option and to assist with our planning needs, it is important that parents intending to have their students participate in our Acellus program to apply to the Fully Virtual School Option. Click here to apply Virtual School Option Application.
If you are opting for your child(ren) for full Virtual School Option, please understand the following:
- You are committing to full online learning for the entire grading period and are not able to attend school face to face or hybrid/blended model or move between learning models until the start of the next grading period. (4K-5 – Trimester, 6-8 Quint, 9-12 Semester)
- If the outbreak requires students in the face to face or hybrid model to move into virtual learning, online learning students will continue on their same online learning course. There is no transition back to non-online learning until that grading period is complete.
- The District will ensure four core subjects (Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies) are taught in full online learning. Elective classes are available, however, some specials or encore courses may not be available.
- To select this option, you would need to have adequate internet connectivity. A device to utilize the coursework would be provided by the district.
Success as a virtual student requires that you acknowledge the need for daily engagement within courses by maintaining structured pacing where assignments and assessments are completed each day. Regular communication with Virtual School Option teachers through email and/or phone calls is expected. School Attendance rules will be followed and enforced.
Home Learning Coach
It is important you identify someone to be the Home Learning Coach. The Home Learning Coach will be the primary person for helping the student through the process of online learning. This person can be a parent, capable older sibling, grandparent, babysitter etc. The Home Learning Coach’s role is to communicate with the student on a regular basis about school. This role is especially important for the younger student(s).
Virtual School Learning Tips
- Create a learning space for your child.
- Make a consistent school schedule but be flexible.
- Reduce distractions.
- Schedule other activities such as exercise.
- See which accessibility features help your child.
- Communicate with your child’s teachers regularly.
Contact Information: Danny Smith at email@example.com or (920)848-4467
July 30, 2020
As most of you know the WIAA has made a decision to change the start date to most fall sports. Last night, July 29th, the Oconto Falls School Board decided to honor the change in start dates and gave us the ok to move forward with plans at the High School to start our season on the new dates. Here are the new start dates.
Girls Golf – August 17
Boys and Girls Cross Country – August 17
Cheer – August 17 (tryouts are still scheduled for the week of August 3)
Dance – August 17
Volleyball – September 7 – this is Labor Day but we are still starting
Football – September 7 – this is Labor Day but we are still starting
The fall parent/athlete meeting that was scheduled for Monday, August 3rd has been cancelled. We are still working on how a parent meeting can happen for each sport. Those details have not been determined at this time. All parents and athletes should be in communication with their fall coach.
Attached is a video showing you how to check the status of your child’s online forms and athletic physical and alternate year cards. Please watch the video and go into your parent access for Skyward and fill out the online forms for the 2020-2021 school year. All these forms need to be filled out for your child to be eligible.
As we progress through the next month we will be working on making changes to our sports season to do our best to prevent the spread of the virus. Many things will change but keep in mind our goal is to keep your child safe while still offering them an opportunity to do something they love. We will need your help and understanding during these difficult times and decisions. Your child’s social, emotional and physical well being will be first and foremost in our mind as we progress through the upcoming months.
Please feel free to call the school or email me if you have any questions or concerns.
Athletic/Activities/Community Ed Director
Oconto Falls High School
210 N. Farm Road
Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, 54154
(920) 848-4444 (fax)
On Thursday, July 30, Governor Evers released Executive Order 82, which declared a public health emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19. Emergency Order #1 outlined the following related to face coverings in the state of Wisconsin:
Every individual, age five and older, in Wisconsin shall wear a face covering if both of the following apply:
- The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space, other than at a private residence; and;
- Another person or persons who are not members of individual’s household or living unit are present in the same room or enclosed space.
Face coverings are strongly recommended in all other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
Please view the following documents for more information regarding this executive order.
July 22, 2020
Oconto Falls Public Schools Parents and Guardians,
I am writing to inform you that the Oconto Falls Public Schools Board of Education considered a recommendation on Monday, July 20, regarding the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. To begin the meeting the Board listened to more than sixty five public comments from parents, students, and community members regarding their perspective relative to the reopening of our schools. The Board then considered information that was presented to them regarding multiple different instructional models that ranged from fully face-to-face, blended hybrid models that included both face-to-face and virtual instruction, as well as a fully virtual option. Three different priorities were consistently discussed which included our focus on safety for students and staff, the desire to educate our students in as much of a face-to-face model as we believe is prudent given our circumstance, as well as our focus on how these decisions affect our families. Throughout the conversation mitigation of risk regarding the spread of COVID-19 was discussed at length and included potential changes to how we conduct day-to-day operations in our schools, the wearing of face coverings as a way to reduce risk, and the challenge of physically distancing students while transporting them on our school buses. Below are a few examples of changes that were discussed:
As part of the presentation it was recommended to the Board that both staff and students be required to wear masks in an effort to reduce the risk level and better enable us to provide face-to-face learning in the fall. It was shared that this is especially important in situations where we are unable to socially distance our students such as on our buses, in cafeterias, hallways and many classroom settings. It was also discussed that if the decision of the Board is to come back to school in a more face-to-face setting, this will result in a lesser capability to socially distance; thus, wearing a mask will be even more important as an action to mitigate the risk level for students and staff.
As part of the transportation discussion, Board members were made aware of the high number of students that ride our buses every day (more than 80% ridership). This often results in 50-60 students per bus which does not allow us to physically distance students. Parents that are able and willing to transport your child who normally would ride a bus, please call our transportation department at 920-848-4460. It was further discussed that another option for the Board to consider, if they feel the need to further reduce the number of students on the bus, would be to stop transportation services for students that live within two miles of their school. This action would reduce the number of students riding the bus by approximately 25%. To a lesser extent the Board could consider stopping transportation services for students that live within one mile of the school as a potential alternative. The result of this action would be a reduction of approximately 10%. Either of these actions would help alleviate the congestion on the bus and better enable distancing students. However, we also recognize that this action would have a negative impact on those families directly affected by the change in service. As part of this discussion the point was made that if we implement a mask requirement it would help mitigate the risk of viral spread on the bus and provide greater latitude to not initially implement a change in service for students living within the two-mile radius of their school.
The board was presented with information relative to the benefits and drawbacks related to multiple different educational models. It is important to note that families that desire to have their children involved in fully virtual education will be provided with a virtual option. Fully virtual students will be offered an option new to Oconto Falls called Acellus. More information is provided below. This link will provide you with a short video as well as other information that we hope you will find informative.
When reviewing the different educational models (fully face-to-face, hybrid, and fully virtual), the discussion focused on our priorities of safety, educational capacity, and how the models would potentially impact families. The proposal from our administrative team was for the board to consider a hybrid model that involved elementary students (4K-5) attending school face-to-face four days each week (M, T, Th, F) and learning from home each Wednesday. Secondary students (6-12) would be divided into two cohorts with approximately half of the students attending school face-to-face two days each week and then accessing their education virtually three days each week.
We Will Be Offering a New Virtual Option
For parents interested in having their student/s attend school online, the Oconto Falls Virtual Program offers a great option. Oconto Falls School District has recently partnered with Acellus to bring high-quality online education to Oconto Falls. Acellus uses video-based lessons with cutting-edge technology to accelerate learning, elevate standardized test scores, and to prepare students to transition into careers and college. The program is available to students entering kindergarten through 12th grade.
Students will have access to a list of curriculum offerings to meet their needs, with the help of an Oconto Falls educator. Stayed tuned for more information coming shortly.
Parents and students that are interested may contact Danny Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLICK HERE for more information about Acellus
The Board Has Not Made a Decision
We anticipated that our board members would need time to reflect on the information presented to them which is why we scheduled a special board meeting for July 29, at 6:00 p.m. We anticipate that our board will have further dialogue at this meeting regarding a back-to-school plan and may take action relative to identifying an educational model to begin the year. I anticipate that they will also be discussing the topics of face coverings and transportation given the importance of these issues relative to our programming and our ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Schools
July 1, 2020
Parents and Guardians,
We Appreciate Your Feedback
Over the past four weeks we’ve been involved in many different activities related to the end of the 2019-2020 school year and planning for the 2020-2021 school year. One of these activities includes disseminating community surveys and reviewing survey feedback in order to reflect on lessons learned during the COVID-19 school closure. This information, together with feedback from our staff, has enabled us to better plan and provide focused professional development as we prepare for the future.
Back to School Planning
Back-to-school planning has been and continues to be our primary focus, and our efforts are guided by the Education Forward document developed by the Department of Public Instruction. The attached document reveals the massive level of planning in which we are involved. It is our goal to create a multifaceted educational plan that effectively meets the learning needs of our students while providing the flexibility to modify operations as needed in response to changing levels of risk. As we conduct our planning, we recognize that each instructional environment has positives as well as challenges associated with them. In the best case scenario, we will be able to reopen our schools in the fall in a more traditional, face-to-face learning environment. With that stated, we will plan for this option as well as both a physically-distanced/hybrid model and a virtual model to ensure that we are prepared to modify operations to mitigate the ever-changing level of risks posed by COVID-19.
To improve our planning, we have also enlisted the help of parents, staff, students, and community members as part of a Back-to-School Advisory Committee. We are sharing information with the members of this group and listening to their perspectives on key topics such as instructional models (face-to-face, physically-distance/hybrid, and virtual), social distancing/risk Mitigation, transportation, and personal protective equipment (PPE) just to name a few. The role of this committee is to work collaboratively to discuss the challenges that we face, provide feedback, and brainstorm ideas in our efforts to address these difficult realities.
Board Meeting to Discuss Our Back to School Plan
On July 20, 2020, we will be briefing our board of education as to a potential back-to-school plan. It will include information relative to operational changes needed to support the plan as well as what we, the district leadership team, believe are the benefits and drawbacks to the different courses of action. I anticipate that this discussion will include topics such as the different instructional models that we are considering for the fall, transportation of students, ways that we can mitigate risks, social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, and other key areas in the Education Forward document.
As part of our commitment to excellence, we are focused on the safety of our students and staff while planning for how we can conduct educational programming that meets or exceeds the needs of our students in this ever-changing environment. We will continue to review information from the CDC, state, and Oconto County Health Department, along with the Education Forward recommendations from the DPI, to guide us in our work.
As we move through this planning process, we will continue to provide you with updates which will be posted on our school district website.
We are in this together, and together we are stronger.
Dean R. Hess
Oconto Falls Public Schools
Dear Families and Staff,
You’ve most likely heard in the news that the “Safer at Home” order has been overturned by the State Supreme Court. We have received feedback that in a footnote to this 161 page decision, school closures will remain in place. Therefore, we believe that public and private schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year (June 30, 2020), for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities.
As this situation continues to develop we will provide you with updates in as timely of a manner as possible.
Dean R. Hess
Superintendent of Schools
Oconto Falls Public Schools
Jake Beschta, the principal of Oconto Falls High School, and Dr. Dean Hess, Superintendent of Schools, join the podcast this week to talk about how we are honoring the class of 2020.
Superintendent, Dean Hess, and Athletic Director, Jerry Moynihan recently participated in a podcast regarding 2020 Spring sports and activities. Please feel free to listen to the podcast below to gain more details about the current situation.
As we continue on in this virtual educational world, the Pupil Services Team wants to reach out to continue to let families and students know we are all here for you! If you reach out, team members will get back to you (parents and/or students) as soon as they can within “regular” school hours. The team also wanted to share some resources to support student and family social-emotional wellness during this time. See resources listed below.
Pupil Services Team and Their Contact Information
|Building/Staff||Role||Phone (Voice or Text)|
Abrams Elementary School
|Patrice Fick||School Counseloremail@example.com||(920) 234-8022|
Oconto Falls Elementary School
|Angela Parkansky||School Counselorfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-8018|
|Jean Eastman||School Counseloremail@example.com||(920) 234-8021|
|Haley Bray||School Psychologistfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-5892|
Washington Middle School
|Derek Johnson||School Psychologistemail@example.com||(920) 328-5418|
Oconto Falls High School
|School Counselorfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-8023|
|School Counseloremail@example.com||(920) 234-8017|
|Ruth Barnett||School Psychologistfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-6127|
|Lynette Donart||School Nurse – Abrams, OFES, WMSemail@example.com||(920) 373-5131|
|Bobbi Jo Boomsma||School Nurse – OFHSfirstname.lastname@example.org||(920) 234-6946|
Social-Emotional Wellness Resources
Local Crisis Intervention counselors provide mental health services 24 hours a day, every day. They provide telephone counseling and referral to other support services. Crisis counselors can be reached at the following numbers:
Oconto County: 8:00am – 4:00 pm (920) 834-7000
All other hours (920) 846-3444 (ask for crisis worker)
Marinette County: 1-800-273-8255
Shawano County: (920) 238-3253
Brown County: (920) 436-8888
Suicide Prevention Life Line: 1-800-273-8255
Resources for Early Childhood-1st Grade
PBS Kids Resource for Younger Children
Child Mind Institute – Talking to your child about the coronavirus
Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story About Social Distancing
Millie and Suzi – Why we Stay Home Online Book
Resources for All Elem Students
Resources for Adolescent Resources
HSHS St. Clare – Nurses Nook
CDC: Caring for children while school is out
Keeping Kids Active
Cloth Face Coverings for Children
Hand Washing 101
Noah Henry (A rainbow story)
Coronavirus a book for children