January 17, Expanded OHS Open House Schedule

Dear Wildcat Nation,

This week a new step in our healing journey will be taken. After thousands of hours of work from construction crews, mental health experts, interior and graphic designers, and school administration, Oxford High School is opening its doors once again. To help prepare for this next step, trauma specialist Dr. Henry will be doing an in-person presentation, "Being present as your children return to the high school" for OHS parents in the Commons Area at Oxford Middle School on Wednesday, January 19 at 7 pm.

Previously, we communicated with our high school families that special open houses will be available for them to come to together as a family before the first day back at the high school. We have heard from our school community and have since added a community open house and we have expanded the hours of the planned open houses. Below is the new open house schedule: 

Open houses for Oxford High School students, parents and staff only

Students must bring their student ID or have their phone with them with their PowerSchool student account open as they enter the building. Only the north entrance of OHS will be open for access to the open houses.

  • 11th & 12th graders on Thursday, January 20, from 5 pm – 9 pm
  • 9th & 10th graders on Friday, January 21, from 5 pm – 9 pm
  • 9th – 12th graders Saturday, January 22, from 10 am ­– 4 pm

If parents have more than one OHS student, they may bring all of their OHS students together for the time slot that works best for their schedule. Also, students and parents may bring a therapist or someone else who has been working with their child through the healing process to the open houses. We realize the importance of this connection and support.

Open house for our community

  • Sunday, January 23, from 2 pm – 4 pm

The purpose of inviting OHS students and parents to these open houses is to view the physical space before students begin classes at OHS on Monday, January 24. As Dr. Jim Henry has been sharing with our community, the physical safety and needs of our students are a primary focus in order for the social and emotional healing to continue. We ask that as you attend, you remember the solemnity of the open houses and respect each other’s privacy. Law enforcement and personnel from our hired private security firm will be present at all of the open house events.

As our school community re-enters our high school for the first time since November 30, you will notice the calming new paint colors and wall graphics, new tile around the classroom entries, drywalled ceilings, and new carpet. With all that is new in the halls and the fact that the lockers will not be in use at this time, it was recommended by trauma experts that loving sentiments be added to the lockers. Our middle school students have created hearts with handwritten, heartfelt messages of love and encouragement and our elementary students have hand-crafted snowflakes to show their love and support to hang on all of the OHS lockers. It has also been suggested by mental health experts to add small white lights in as many classrooms as possible as they are proven to have a calming and therapeutic effect. 

We cannot thank our beautiful community enough for their constant efforts to band together in support of our Wildcats. A small group of Oxford parents will be helping us hang the thousands of handmade gifts from our younger Cats on the lockers to help expedite the process with such tight timelines to get the building complete for our students' return. Additionally, the Oxford Strong community organization has collected and assembled a thoughtful gift bag for every single one of our Oxford High School students that will be distributed by our staff during the week of January 24. We are humbled by the constant outpouring and offers to help as we continue to navigate our return from the unthinkable. 

For the past seven weeks, we have lived by the mantra “Together we are Oxford Strong.” We have watched as our community and beyond have come together to love one another and provide each other with strength and support. Truly, the kind words, actions, and generous gifts are a constant reminder of all that is good and right in our world. We have heard from those watching from outside of our community how unique Oxford is and how the love and support we shower one another with is inspiring. Let this encourage you and strengthen you as we take this next step in our healing process.

Together we are Oxford StrOng,

Tim Throne