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Superintendent's Message 3-25-2020

March 25, 2020
Savage families:
This morning, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) recommended to the State Board of Education (SBE) in a live-streamed board meeting that students not return to the classroom for the remainder of the current school year, as our state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19.  This recommendation along with a number of other waivers was approved and goes into effect immediately.
Over the past two weeks, district administrators have been meeting to discuss how we will respond to this unprecedented situation. This week we began distributing breakfast and lunch meal packages to families throughout our community at two different sites: Bennett Elementary and The First United Methodist Church.  To date we have served approximately 530 children and our numbers grow daily.  We will monitor this process very closely and make changes as necessary to meet the needs of our community.  Our principals and teachers are already planning and putting into action other activities to stay connected with students and remind them they have not been forgotten.  
Since we now know we will not be returning to school this year, we will begin implementation of our plans for distance learning for students beginning April 6 and continuing through the remainder of the year.  Our district administrators and teachers will be collaborating over the next week and a half to finalize academic plans to ensure your child will continue to have opportunities to learn and to grow academically, especially with parental support.  We are being told we will receive more guidance from the OSDE later this week on a distance learning framework which may include online and other types of instructional materials.  
We share this information with you so that you can begin to prepare accordingly for your family. This recommendation by the OSDE is being made in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety.  At this time, that has to be the priority for us all.  This also means all extracurricular activities and special events will be canceled as well.
This is a huge challenge for our school district and all of the families we serve.  There are numerous school traditions, events, and end-of-the-year activities we will be forced to cancel as we move through the rest of the school year.    Although there are many questions I do not have an answer for at this time, I want to assure you that we will be making all of our decisions with our students and families in mind.
For our seniors and their parents, we know this is an especially difficult time.  These students are important to us and we will do everything in our power to make certain the hard work and accomplishments these young people have achieved does not go unrecognized.  We have begun discussing ideas for a “virtual graduation” event and are open to ideas and suggestions from our seniors and their families.  Together, we can make this a celebration to remember.
Please continue to utilize our district website and individual site Facebook pages for resources and other helpful information.  You will find links to Questions and Answers pertaining to COVID-19 and recommendations from the CDC about protecting the health of your family.  We encourage you to follow their advice by:  (1) washing your hands regularly (2) staying at home when at all possible, and (3) practicing social distancing of at least six feet from others.
The community of Broken Bow has a strong spirit and together we can accomplish anything. Our young people are resilient and have the ability to handle all challenges they face and get past them.   As educators, we will be beside our students and families, so together we may maneuver through this most difficult time.
Carla Ellisor, Superintendent
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”                                                     

    -Robert H Schuller