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Clarkston Community School District

Superintendent's Weekly Report & Survey 10/30/20

Superintendent's Weekly Report & Survey 10/30/20

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

As you will see in my Weekly COVID-19 Report, our concentric rings of data continue to report consistent increases in virus transmission and we're seeing this confirmed in our own school district. The latest numbers mark the fourth successive week of increased progression in the number of cases that we've had in our area.

This is concerning knowing that the virus follows a fairly gradual trend. It does not jump around week to week, from high to low. Our schools are very much connected to our community, and the infection rate in our community immediately and obviously affects our schools in three important ways:

  1. Transmission Risk: Due to our stringent mitigation protocols (mask wearing, handwashing, social distancing and cleaning processes) we have had zero documented cases where the virus was transmitted in school. At this time, Oakland County Health Department epidemiologists support students being in schools with strict protocols since districts are effectively stopping the spread in school. However, the more cases in our community, the greater risk of infected individuals coming to school and potentially transmitting the virus. If our schools become a vehicle for virus transmission, we will not be able to sustain our current modality.
  2. Contact Tracing: Quarantining and separating students and staff from school in large numbers can be very disruptive to the overall school and learning process.We currently have 18 positive cases and 135 individuals in quarantine across the district. With over 7,000 total students and almost 1,000 staff members, we're still at fighting strength for overall day-to-day learning and building operations; however, if the cases continue to climb, our current modalities may not be sustainable.
  3. Local and State Orders: Based on the progression of the virus in our region or state, our district could be advised/directed by local or state officials to adjust our learning modality.

Given this fourth consecutive week of a negative trend, I have concluded that it would not be prudent to test our mitigation protocols with a return to full face-to-face instruction at the secondary level at this time. We will maintain our current learning modalities for the foreseeable future - most likely through at least the end of the first semester with continuous evaluation.

I recognize that the secondary hybrid model is not ideal. It was meant to be a transition between distance learning and full face-to-face instruction. If at some point we need to adjust our modalities, I don't anticipate this happening in an overnight emergency decision. The transition would most likely take place over a period of weeks with advance notice (although I have learned that there are no absolutes when making plans in a pandemic).

I hope that in some small way this brings clarity of our direction, and allows you to plan moving forward. We would also like to give you the opportunity to share your feedback on our learning models, as well as any ideas you may have for the improvement and sustainability of our current model in our latest "Check-Up" survey. The survey closes on Sunday, November 8 and all responses are anonymous.

Parent/Guardian Learning Model Check-Up Survey

As always, thank you for your support and partnership.

Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools


About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.

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