Weekly COVID Update for Ponca City Public Schools

Beverly Cantrell - January 17, 2022 12:22 pm

Ponca City Public Schools-
PCPS Families,
After a tumultuous week last week with Omicron, we have many students and staff members returning to school tomorrow, January 18, 2022. Unfortunately, we are beginning to receive a great deal of information from additional students and staff who have tested positive over the weekend, or who are symptomatic. We continue to analyze our data continually but unfortunately due to multiple variables, trying to predict our status early is difficult with any certainty. I would advise you to stay “COVID aware,” meaning stay connected to our Ponca City Public Schools Facebook page, download our free PCPS App wherever you download your apps and stay connected to our website. We will hope for the best, but I think it is wise for families to be prepared for the worst, which would mean transitioning to Distance Learning. I regret we cannot provide a solid plan, but these are definitely unpredictable times.
As you know, county cases are extremely high. With so many positive cases, the Omicron variant is expected to peak as early as late this week, which means this week will likely be a struggle for us. We will get notice to you as quickly as possible if we have to transition a site or sites to Distance Learning.
When decisions are made to move to Distance Learning, they are “last resort” decisions because we know it certainly displaces families. Having students for in-person learning is our primary goal and we will do all that we can over the next few days to make it happen. However, we must have enough staff to cover classes and supervise appropriately. We continually assess our staffing absences and determine who is testing or symptomatic. If we move a site to Distance Learning, we will try to notify families by noon on any given day, but no one knows when symptoms may present.
If we do move a site to Distance Learning, we will provide free meals to everyone and internet hot spots if needed, and we will keep the public informed of details. Communication is vital during this time so if you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s site. If we move a site or sites to Distance Learning, staff not affected by COVID will be in the building.
Stay connected to our PCPS Contact Tracing Totals and Site Percentages Out spreadsheets. There are links posted on our homepage at www.pcps.us, and we update these totals each SCHOOL Day at 4:00 PM. Keep in mind, the numbers reflected on our spreadsheets indicate the number of CONFIRMED isolations and close contact quarantines; they do NOT reflect those out waiting on testing results, or if staff members are out due to daycares being closed. Decisions regarding transitioning to Distance Learning are based on our own PCPS data.
On a positive note, I am enormously proud of our teachers, support staff, administration, and families for weathering this storm with grace with the transition to Distance Learning of three sites last week. Our support staff from the (3) sites on Distance Learning covered at all other sites to keep us from moving another site to Distance Learning. We know that everything has not been perfect, but we will continue to grow, learn, and support our families as we get through this wave. Based on advice from medical experts, I believe this variant will move out quickly and we will begin to stabilize. Thank you for supporting our staff and being patient and kind during these transitions.
We are all experiencing tough times; thank you for helping us hold that line for our students! #holdthatline #thistooshallpast
Sincerely,
Shelley Arrott
PCPS Superintendent
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