A message from Superintendent Hau
Newcastle Schools Families,
Our efforts to slow the impact of positive COVID-19 cases by moving some sites to distance learning has not been successful. Based on the continued number of cases within our school community, we are transitioning all school sites to distance learning. Beginning tomorrow all four sites will be moving to learning from home, and our return to school for face-to-face instruction will be Monday, October 5. This includes the Early Childhood Center which had a previous return to school date of September 29.
As I reported last week, we have had numerous positive COVID-19 cases since Monday, September 14. We continue to receive reports of positive individuals, including students and staff. We currently have 27 positive individuals in the district and 392 individuals in quarantine. Of those positives, 6 are at the Early Childhood Center; 3 are at the elementary school, 5 are at the middle school; and 13 are at the high school. The City of Newcastle is reporting 41 active cases today, which is the highest number of active cases reported since the crisis began.
Parents will receive information from their school sites about how students can access lessons from home. We will serve meals through our pick up line for all sites at the elementary school from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We are evaluating the availability of Kid Zone and we will send an update as soon as we know we can safely reopen the program.
I know these decisions put stress on families. We would rather be in school for face-to-face instruction, and we were able to have five successful weeks of students being in classrooms with their teachers. I am confident that we will provide the same responsiveness and care while your students are learning from home. Our teachers and staff have proven that we are committed to your children and we will do whatever it takes to make sure they continue to learn.
There are still many questions about our isolation and quarantine protocols. I sent a letter to families in August explaining how we conduct isolation and quarantine investigations. We have an obligation to report positive individuals to our county health department and the Oklahoma State Department of Health has the authority to recommend isolation and quarantine. The language per statute is as follows
OSDH Authority over Quarantine and Isolation The Oklahoma State Department of Health (“OSDH”), through the State Commissioner of Health, is charged with the duty to control and prevent the spread of communicable disease under 63 O.S. § 1-106. This includes exercising the authority granted under 63 O.S. § 1-504 to impose quarantine or isolation upon any individual suspected or confirmed to pose a risk of transmitting a communicable disease that is harmful to the public. The OSDH will determine the terms and conditions of the quarantine or isolation, including, but not limited to, the length of the quarantine or isolation period, with consideration made to the incubation and infectious periods of the communicable disease. If OSDH recommends or advises a quarantine or isolation period for any individual, and has reasonable belief that the individual is for any reason not complying with the recommendation, OSDH can issue a quarantine or isolation order upon the individual. This includes any noncompliance due to a conflicting recommendation from a non-OSDH physician. Any violation of the terms and conditions of an order for quarantine or isolation is a violation of law. An individual who violates an order may be subject to detainment by law enforcement for the period of quarantine or isolation and/or criminal penalties including the conviction of a misdemeanor and/or a fine.
We continue to follow McClain County and Oklahoma State Department of Health protocols. Ignoring public health officials’ recommendations puts our entire community at risk. Decisions are made based on the variables of each positive case. Comparing our situation to other districts ignores the complexities of dealing with a public health crisis.
Your support and prayers are helping us stay in the fight. Our teachers and staff are feeling the stress of responding to the virus on a daily basis. We hope all of those impacted are well soon and we will continue to communicate as often as we can.
Please let me know if you have questions about our decision-making process. You may email me at [email protected]
Stay safe and be well,
NMS Virtual Schedule
7:25-8:30 Flex - Teachers Plan and Prepare for Day Students check into grade level hubs
8:30-8:55 1st Hour
9:00-9:25 2nd Hour
9:30-9:55 3rd Hour
10:00-10:25 4th Hour
10:30-10:55 5th Hour
11:00-11:25 6th Hour
11:30-11:55 7th Hour
12:00-3:40 Flex: Office Hours (90 minutes), Lunch, Plan, Meetings, Intervention Time, Parent Contacts,
Students will start their day by logging into the grade level google classroom hubs prior to 8:30. They will be able to view announcements and kick off the virtual day.
Students will follow the schedule for each hour. Lessons are 25 minutes long with a 5 minute break between each class. In the afternoon, students will complete independent practice assignments and have access to teachers during office hours to ask questions. Office hours for each teacher will be posted in that teacher’s google classroom. Please email the teacher directly if you are not able to access the teacher during office hours. Lessons will be available in the google classroom all day for students unable to log-on at the specific times.