December 9, Protocols for our Safe Reopening

Dear Wildcat Nation,

We truly appreciate the feedback we’ve heard from our families, staff and students as we continue to prepare for the safe, slow and soft re-openings of our DK-8 and Bridges classrooms for a half-day tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 10. We are looking forward to seeing our amazing students, school employees and families again and we have a plan in place for a safe return to school.

The physical safety and security of our students coming back has been our top priority and our guiding light in terms of planning. We are also committed to providing emotional support and counseling to any staff member, student or family member in Oxford. We want you to know we have implemented multiple strategies and tactics which we wanted to share with you going into tomorrow:

  • 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 starting Friday. Let them know they are there to protect them and help keep them safe.
  • The district has also hired a personal security firm that will have personnel on-site at every building district-wide.
  • Additionally, staff is reviewing all of our safety policies and procedures for any improvements or additions.
  • 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 immediately 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 ensure any potential online emergencies are immediately addressed.
  • Our staff is undergoing trauma-response training to be as prepared as possible to welcome our students back. They are using the best practices and data from trauma specialists and crisis response experts who have helped in our planning and training.
  • We have also heard from many people that therapy dogs have been a helpful tool for staff and students who have experienced similar trauma. Starting Friday, 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 starting Friday.
  • We will continue to have professionally trained trauma specialists available at every building for students and staff.
  • Finally, no backpacks will be allowed in any buildings for the remainder of this week and all of next week. We will communicate more on this topic before the return from holiday break.

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. We will be acknowledging, in an age/grade-appropriate way based on recommendations from trained mental health counselors and crisis response experts, why we have been closed for the last seven days. Our staff has been alerted that if students raise concerning questions, they need to engage the trained professional staff. If this occurs, the child’s family will be called.

As you know, this week each school has created opportunities for students to come back together in informal ways. To heal as a community, it is critical we support one another as one Wildcat Nation following the horrific events of last week. Truly, together we are stronger. Being strong means being resilient and courageous enough to seek help. We cannot encourage our Wildcats and their families enough to utilize the many resources and services for coping with trauma found on our website.

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

Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with questions, concerns, and other feedback.

We look forward to seeing our Wildcats tomorrow.

Together we are OxfordStrOng,
Superintendent Throne