Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
This week as our district returned to temporary distance learning for all students, we have continued to watch the indicators in our concentric rings of data very closely. I wish I could report an improvement in case counts in our local community; however, the negative trend continues. We are now at 110.6 cases per 10,000 residents in our school district boundaries, once again increasing substantially over the previous week's number of cases (70.6 per 10,000) and well over the rates in neighboring communities. To see this, please visit https://www.oakgov.com/covid/casesByZip.html and click the tab "Cases by School District" in the bottom left corner of the screen.
We have been notified of 17 new staff and student cases since last Friday, as reflected on our district's COVID-19 Active Case Dashboard. Three of these were probable school-transmitted cases. Please continue to self-report positive student cases to your child's school so that we can maintain accurate records and contact trace as needed in collaboration with the Oakland County Health Division.
Last week when I recommended a pause in face-to-face instruction, my intention was to return our district to the last place where we were successful. We did well in September in the first tier of our re-entry plan, which included a combination of distance learning for all students and select in-person activities. While this week has not brought any new cases within the groups that have been allowed to continue meeting in-person, we are at a natural break between seasons and it makes sense to cease all in-person winter season athletics and extracurricular activities as of Monday, November 16. Coaches and directors will communicate tentative plans for resuming with their individual groups after the Thanksgiving recess. Fall season athletes now in championship playoffs will be permitted to compete until their season ends, on an optional basis.
Today I am reminded that a pause of any kind, whether wanted or unwanted, anticipated or unanticipated, serves a purpose in our lives. Sometimes a pause stops us in our tracks to remind us to slow down when all we want is to charge forward. Other times, the pause is a much-needed life raft as the sea begins to rise. The momentary break we are allowing ourselves right now is both of those things. I am just as eager as you are to return to normalcy, and yet our reality as we experienced it prior to March 2020 simply does not exist today. We must look at the world around us in the light of day, accept what is, and make prudent decisions based on reliable information and expertise.
The indicators my team analyzes on a regular basis are as follows:
- Clarkston Community Schools probable/positive cases and individuals quarantined: VIEW THE DATA
- Greater Clarkston Area COVID-19 Cases by Zip Code: VIEW THE DATA
- COVID-19 Summary for Oakland County: VIEW THE DATA
- Oakland County Weekly COVID-19 Report: VIEW THE DATA
- State of Michigan COVID-19 Trends: VIEW THE DATA
- National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard (Brown University): VIEW THE DATA
I will continue to base my recommendations on this data, as well as on the guidance of Oakland County Health Division epidemiologists and infectious disease experts. As stated previously, we will remain in distance learning at least through Thanksgiving, and my recommendations for the remainder of the first semester will be presented to the Board of Education at its Monday, November 23 meeting. (All district Board meetings are videotaped and posted on our district's YouTube channel. If you miss a meeting, you can always tune in to watch it later.)
A few reminders
- Second Semester Transfer Period Now Open: Clarkston Community Schools is providing families an opportunity to decide if they would like their student(s) to continue with their current learning model or request a transfer to a different learning model (example: from Clarkston Virtual to elementary face-to-face learning in buildings with temporary distance learning contingency). Transfer requests for the second semester will only be available until November 29, 2020 at 11:59pm. Requests will not be honored after the deadline date. This choice is a commitment for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year and no mid-semester transfers will be granted. Please be very conscious of this decision.
- "Grab and Go" Free Meal Services: Free curbside meal pick-up will be provided for all students at Clarkston Junior High School, Sashabaw Middle School, and Andersonville Elementary School from 11am-12:30pm every Wednesday (a full week's worth of meals will be provided). Please note that due to the Thanksgiving recess, meal distribution that week will take place on Tuesday, November 24 instead of Wednesday, November 25. See the full schedule here.
As always, any questions or concerns you may have can be directed to Fall2020@clarkston.k12.mi.us.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership,
Dr. 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.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.