20 – COVID-19 Update – July 1 – Back-to-School Planning

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