Update from Superintendent Shelley Arrott for March 25
Ponca City Now - March 25, 2020 11:31 pm
March 25, 2020 10:00 PM
PCPS Families, Staff, and Community,
Today, we learned that Oklahoma students will not return to the classroom for the remainder of the current school year, following a vote by the State Board of Education. Instead, districts, including Ponca City Public Schools, will implement continuous learning plans that will allow students to complete the school year at home. State education and health officials believe this move will help our state fight the spread of COVID-19.
The state board’s vote also means that all extracurricular activities and special events will be canceled or postponed as well. These decisions were not made lightly, and making these difficult decisions is simply the right thing to do for our students, our staff, and our community’s health and safety.
I would like to convey the following information to you:
- PCPS staff are working tirelessly to develop a schedule of daily activities with some options for online resources for all grade levels and for all courses. All PCPS 8th through 12th grade students have a school Chromebook and will have online options for delivery. Prekindergarten through 7 th grade students will have online options as well, but they will also have activities that do not require a device, such as a laptop or ipad. We realize face-to-face instruction is the best approach to learning, but there is NOTHING more important than the health and safety of our students, staff, families, communities, and nation. Teachers will be communicating with students and or parents at least once a week to provide support and to make your child’s learning experience as meaningful as possible. Our teachers are going to be very busy remotely planning the next few days, but we will provide detailed information to our patrons regarding instruction on Thursday, April 2nd .
- Our state leaders made it clear today we are to limit all contact with staff and patrons through April 5. Principals will make scheduled arrangements for curbside collection of essential items, such as gear or instruments, beginning April 6. I know this is a great inconvenience for many, including our teachers, but we must do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after the likelihood of Spring Break travel. It could be a matter of life or death for our most vulnerable.
- If interested, below are some local Internet Service Provider Current Promotions, but keep in mind our schedule of instruction includes some activities which do not require a computer or internet:
- AT&T will continue to offer Internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program. Eligibility has been expanded to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and head start.
- Additionally, AT&T offers new Access for AT&T customers two months of free service.
- Offer two months of free service for any new AT&T Access customers who order by 4/30/20.
- More information can be found on the AT&T website: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html
- A 15 Mbps Internet plan for $10 per month is available for the next 60 days to help low income families and those most impacted from coronavirus challenges, such as seniors and college students. No documentation is required to sign-up for this plan.
- Beginning March 13, 2020, Sparklight made unlimited data available on all Internet services for 30 days and committed to waiving late fees and deferring payments for 60 days for customers experiencing financial strain as a result of the coronavirus.
- It is more important than ever for you to stay connected. Download the PCPS App and continue to monitor our press releases. You can find all of them at www.pcps.us under the COVID-19 Link on our homepage. I will be sending out press releases frequently.
For students, it likely will be sad and disappointing to receive confirmation that school as they know it will not resume this year. Please give them a safe place to express their feelings and to vent about the changes in their life. As you know, we are finding ways to communicate with them now.
For our seniors and their parents, we know it is an especially difficult time. We will do everything possible to ensure their efforts are recognized and celebrated in special and unique ways. This is an unfair situation, but please reassure them that it does not diminish their achievements. In fact, it will become one more example of how they demonstrated their strength as a Wildcat.
Our staff is experiencing a sense of deep loss and hurt as well. We all love your children like our own. Our staff is ready to work tirelessly to provide the most meaningful remote learning experience for your children. #wildcatway #pcpsstrong
Best, Shelley Arrott
Superintendent, Ponca City Public Schools