December 29, Update and Video Message

Dear Wildcat Nation,

I truly hope over the break you were able to spend time with friends and family and take a few small steps on our community’s journey toward healing.

I wanted to provide you a few important updates in writing to accompany this video message:

On Monday, Jan. 3, our DK- 8, OVA, Bridges, and Crossroads students and staff come back together. The safety of our Wildcats remains our number one priority and we have numerous safety measures in place, which we detail below.

We continue to make progress in the reconstruction of Oxford High School and we are working through the enormous number of logistics involved in our safe and soft reopening plan.We will communicate additional details early next week.

Thanks to the generosity of so many in our community, we now have enough clear backpacks so all high school, middle school, and Bridges students will be provided one upon their return. These secondary students will be required to use clear backpacks (which are big enough to hold a student’s Chromebook) for the time being. Please do not send your student with their regular backpacks to school on Monday or other school materials and expect a clear backpack to come home with your student(s).

Elementary school students will not be required to use clear backpacks and will be able to begin bringing their regular backpacks to school on Monday. However, elementary students must keep their backpacks in their lockers or cubbies all day and will not be allowed to carry their backpacks throughout the day.

In addition, I wanted to make you aware of some additional physical and online safety and emotional well-being measures in place:

  • Every district building will have law enforcement on site. We encourage you to talk with your child about this so they are aware and prepared to see uniformed officers at their school. Let them know they are there to protect them and help keep them safe.
  • A personal security firm hired by the district will have personnel on-site at every school building district-wide.
  • The district uses GoGuardian software that filters incoming web content to any of our district accounts. This software helps protect the online safety of our students, families and staff.
  • Gaggle software has been activated to help manage student online safety on school-provided accounts. This software manages all outgoing content from students and staff, and flags any concerning images, links to websites and shared items from Google Drive for our technology safety and security team. The software allows the district to work with law enforcement to help ensure any potential online issues, threats or emergencies are immediately addressed.
  • Professionally trained trauma specialists will continue to be available at every building for students and staff.
  • Our staff has undergone trauma-response training to be as prepared as possible to help our students. They are using the best practices and data from trauma specialists and crisis response experts who have helped in our planning and training. We recognize that students will have varying knowledge and understanding about what occurred. We have trained professionals working closely with us to help us navigate this as well as safe places for students who need to talk more. As we did before the break, if students raise concerning questions, they will be connected with a professional specialist. If this occurs, the child’s family will be contacted.
  • Every school will have a team of trained therapy dogs in their buildings, and this will continue through the remainder of the school year.
  • We will also have additional staff in every building. Oakland Schools staff will be available to help teachers in classrooms as needed and a district administrator will also be present at each building on Monday morning.
  • On Monday, January 3, there will be professional trauma specialists available for parents and families at the Legacy Center from 7 am to 12 pm.

This has been a challenging time for our community and I want to encourage our Wildcats and their families to utilize the many resources and services for coping with trauma, which can be found on our website.

If you and/or your child is struggling in any way with the return to school, please contact your child’s principal so we can work together to support them. We are here to support you in any way we can and we need your feedback and thoughts as we move forward.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with questions, concerns, and other feedback. We truly appreciate your feedback and are receiving, reading, and taking all of your messages into sincere consideration.

We look forward to seeing our Wildcats on Monday.

Together we are OxfordStrOng,
Superintendent Throne