Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
In my travels between buildings this week, I was asked "what's the plan?" and "where are we at?" The answers to these questions are continuously changing so I will get right to it and walk you through our present situation.
Currently, schools in Oakland County are at risk level E, the highest risk level, which is defined as either more than 150 cases per million or a 20% positivity rate. The virus rates in our community continue to rise exponentially, and what we are experiencing as a district is a reflection of this. We have 35 active positive cases in our school district and hundreds of staff and students in quarantine. We are challenged to maintain our day-to-day building operations and have closed three elementary schools (AE/IE/NSE) due to large numbers of staff out quarantining. It has been my intention to push to stay in school as long as possible, filling the gaps wherever possible with all hands on deck and intermittently closing buildings on a temporary basis as needed.
We now have evidence that probable school transmission (student to student, student to staff, and staff to staff) has occurred in our district over the last week. We were informed of this late yesterday afternoon and were working with the Oakland County Health Department late into the evening last night and this morning. Up until this point, we had been able to say with confidence that our mitigation measures have effectively stopped the virus from spreading at school. I cannot say that today. The Oakland County Health Division is recommending a pause in face-to-face instruction at least through Thanksgiving to promote the health and well-being of all students and staff within Clarkston Community Schools.
As your superintendent, my decisions for our district's direction are centered on the health and well-being of our school community, and providing academic continuity for all learners in Clarkston. In light of the OCHD advisory, we will take an immediate step back until these cases of school transmission have been fully investigated and our protocols have been re-evaluated.
Face-to-face instruction in all buildings is paused and all schools will transition to temporary district-wide distance learning according to the following schedule:
- No student instruction will be provided on Monday, November 9 (including schools already in distance learning at AE/IE/NSE); however all teachers will hold office hours.
- Distance learning for all students November 10-24.
- Thanksgiving holiday for all students November 25-27.
- Barring a remarkable rebound in virus trends, it is possible that we could stay in distance learning through the end of the first semester on January 15. A recommendation for next steps will be made at the November 23 Board of Education meeting.
During distance learning, we will return to the distance learning school schedules we employed in the fall. Your principal and teacher(s) will communicate more information with you about your building's distance learning plans and pick-up procedures for any necessary student materials.
Curbside meal services 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.)
Thank you, once again, for your continued support and partnership.
Superintendent of Schools