COVID-19: RSD leader issues challenge to families; working hard on plan for seniors

Redmond Schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh on Wednesday challenged his district’s families to “keep a level head and be part of the solution” as they deal with a six-week mandated school closure and uncertainty of the future.

“It has been said often these last couple of weeks that we are living in unprecedented times and we must take unprecedented measures to cope and get past the effects of the COVID-19 virus,” he said in a letter. “The implications are far reaching and many questions remain unanswered. Political, social and economic consequences are inevitable.”

Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday closed Oregon schools to April 28th to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

McIntosh acknowledged that likely could change as well – whether the closure is lengthened or even cut short.

“Time will tell and we stand ready to support our students and team members as we respond to this global event,” said McIntosh, who is set to retire at year’s end.

He said the district is working with the Oregon Department of Education to develop a plan for students and families at home. He expected to finalize that plan by April 1st.

McIntosh also had a message for the district’s more than 500 seniors on pace to graduate in a few months.

“Our district leadership is rapidly working on a plan to address earned credits and other implications of this closure on our student population,” he said. “These are on the top of our list of issues to resolve in a very short period of time. It is my desire to provide a path for our High School students and especially seniors to finish this year with the necessary credits and transcripts that will allow them to move forward with post-secondary plans.”

The superintendent’s full letter is below.

Good Afternoon Redmond School District Community,

I write this letter in response to the governor’s executive order that our schools will be closed now through April 28, with students returning on the 29th. Like many other announcements that have come out lately, that one is also likely to change. It could be a shorter time frame, or it could be extended even further. Time will tell and we stand ready to support our students and team members as we respond to this global event.

It has been said often these last couple of weeks that we are living in unprecedented times and we must take unprecedented measures to cope and get past the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The implications are far reaching and many questions remain unanswered. Political, social and economic consequences are inevitable.

Today I would like to challenge and encourage us to keep a level head and be a part of the solution and not feed the fear and anxiety that is taking our country and community by storm. It is not simple, but to the extent possible, we encourage our community to follow the CDC’s guidance around social distancing and limit travel and exposure.

In the business of education, there are many unsettling dilemmas that we are dealing with specific to Redmond, yet common all over our state and the nation. Although we know that business as usual will change, we have an amazing team that will help create the best possible solutions to support our students and families in the coming months.

Our district is currently working with the Oregon Department of Education to develop a plan for continuity of learning to support our students and families at home. Our intention is to finalize and communicate this plan on or before April 1.

The district will be publishing valuable engagement resources and activities for parents to partner with their children to support learning at home. Some of these resources include learning with devices and technology, while others do not; similar to the student experience during a typical school day. We recognize that these activities do not replace classroom instruction. These are intended to be opportunities and resources and are not mandatory.

We will continue to provide nutrition assistance to students through our food distribution program which provides a prepackaged breakfast and lunch to children ages 18 and under during weekdays throughout this entire closure, including the duration of Spring Break. You can learn about our weekday meal distribution on our district website.

We also know that there are over 500 senior students in the Redmond School District that need to graduate and move on to life after high school. Our district leadership is rapidly working on a plan to address earned credits and other implications of this closure on our student population. These are on the top of our list of issues to resolve in a very short period of time. It is my desire to provide a path for our High School students and especially seniors to finish this year with the necessary credits and transcripts that will allow them to move forward with post-secondary plans.

I will end with a plea for patience. I also want to sow seeds of hope. We are a resilient and accommodating community that has capacity to pull together and serve the needs of each other. I thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided in the recent days and I thank you in advance for the continuation of this partnership.

With Gratitude for Your Support,

Mike McIntosh

Superintendent

 

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