June 8, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

The Oskaloosa Community School District wants you to know that decisions at both the district and building levels are made with the health and safety of our staff and learners as a priority. These are challenging times for all of us, and this message is intended to help you understand how we are preparing many different scenarios for next fall, but our focus on health and safety will be the top priorities for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

The Iowa Department of Education has provided guidance regarding the Return to Learn plans that will be required for every school district across the state to submit. We are working with several community partners (William Penn University, Indian Hills Community College, Mahaska County YMCA, Oskaloosa Preschool Partners, Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Mahaska County Public Health, Mahaska County Emergency Management, and the Oskaloosa Police Department) to begin planning for the start of school scheduled on August 24, 2020.

First, we want you to know that we will be back this fall, but the school day could look much different for our students. Because of not knowing what the future holds regarding the continuing impact of COVID-19 on our lives, we are planning for several different scenarios, including face-to-face, hybrid, and required online learning. We are preparing to provide face-to-face instruction for our learners. In addition, we are also preparing for a hybrid model, which would include some learners at home and some in the school buildings. We are also planning for an environment where all learners would participate in required online learning.  

The Return to Learn planning includes working through a variety of different areas including, infrastructure, health/safety, activities/athletics, academics, social-emotional-behavioral-health, equity, and data.  Each of these areas of focus has a committee working to address face-to-face, online, and a hybrid model of learning.

There are many unknowns about how the public health landscape will look in a few months, and the Oskaloosa teachers and administrators are hard at work to plan for those unknowns. The Iowa Department of Education is currently conducting a survey regarding technology and connectivity. The link to the survey is here:  Iowa Tech Survey.  Please participate in the survey to help us identify the needs in our school district. If you would like to participate in the survey, but are unable to do so through the survey link, please contact (641)-673-8345 and we will help you complete the survey.  

The Oskaloosa Community School District remains committed to providing a high quality, safe environment for all of our learners.  We will share our return-to-learn plan with the public in August following approval from the Iowa Department of Education.  We are already looking forward to seeing students again once it is safe to do so.  We appreciate your continued support of the Oskaloosa Community School District!

Paula J. Wright
Oskaloosa Community School District