Due to staffing limitations and circumstances beyond control, the Oshkosh Area School District announced on Monday, August 31 that two of its schools - Oshkosh North High School and Merrill Middle School - will be transitioning to Virtual Learning (Model 4) effective immediately. This difficult decision was made based on information that the District received Monday afternoon and after numerous attempts to problem-solve amid limited resources. Additional information has been shared with impacted students and families. Again, only Oshkosh North High School and Merrill Middle School are impacted.
Update as of 09.01.20 at 1 p.m.:
At this time we are able to provide the following additional information. The decision to transition Merrill Middle School and Oshkosh North High School to virtual learning was made due to staffing limitations caused by COVID-19 exposure and circumstances beyond our control.
To be clear:
- The staffing issue was the result of receiving information about confirmed COVID-19 positive cases and the need to quarantine several critical staff members who are essential to open school in a face-to-face hybrid environment.
- There are several key positions that must be staffed in order to safely open schools in a face-to-face environment and to enable the schools to follow all established safety protocols amid COVID-19. This was not possible at Oshkosh North High School and Merrill Middle School as of the afternoon of August 31, 2020.
- This level of detail is being released today rather than yesterday to allow multiple health departments time to officially notify individuals who are required to quarantine.
- The transition back to Hybrid Learning is expected to take place once the required quarantine periods are complete, unique to each impacted school. Additional information will be provided to each school community as quickly as possible.
NEXT STEPS: This is expected to be a temporary situation impacting Oshkosh North and Merrill Middle School. The District will provide an update to impacted families as quickly as possible. An announcement will be made about when face-to-face Hybrid Learning will resume once the District has been notified of the number of quarantined days required for the critical staff members.
This year has been described as subject to change and there will be times when the District is notified of a situation (such as this one) and must quickly and unexpectedly respond by transitioning into a different learning model. Unfortunately, that is the nature of our new normal amid COVID-19. Fortunately, we have planned for these scenarios and are ready to quickly make the transition as/if needed giving our families as much notice as possible.
We want our families and our community to know that no matter the distance we are here for our children. We continue to ask for patience and understanding as we navigate unique situations - with circumstances that are often confidential and out of our control. We remain committed to doing what is best for our students - keeping them safe and providing them with an exceptional educational experience.
The District also understands that Oshkosh North and Merrill Middle school students and staff were eager to start the year in-person. While this is difficult news to share, please know that the staffing challenges the District is navigating are not the result of staff being unwilling to work, or not caring about our children and their education. Additionally, please know that the District is taking this action to ensure student and staff safety and to provide students with access to meaningful instruction.