OSWEGO — As the fall continues and winter flu season approaches, Oswego City School District officials are reminding parents and guardians to have alternate plans in place for if the district goes to all-virtual learning.

OCSD Superintendent Dr. Mathis Calvin III told the community in a Friday, Oct. 16 letter that the district may need to make changes to the in-person program if current circumstances worsen regarding COVID-19 exposures, staffing shortages and students placed in quarantine.

Since schools reopened last month, the district has experienced positive COVID-19 cases that the community has been informed of, Dr. Calvin wrote. In addition to those exposures, the district is seeing a high number of staff and students out either with a COVID-19-related symptoms or who have been placed into quarantine by the health department.

“Should we experience even higher levels of exposure or an increase in staffing or student absences, please know that the district will have no choice but to reconsider our ‘in-person’ programming,” said Dr. Calvin. “If any of the concerns above continue to worsen, we will be unable to maintain the appropriate staffing levels needed to operate our programs safely and effectively.”

Should a return to full-time online instruction occur, the district would employ its emergency model of virtual instruction for all students as explained in its Reopening Plan on Page 14 under “Preparing for a Future Shutdown.” A full version of this plan can be located on the district website at Oswego.org/Covid.

“Please know the district is committed to doing everything possible to prevent enacting this emergency model,” said Dr. Calvin.

An emergency shutdown would be communicated to parents, guardians and staff by phone, email or text via the district’s mass communication system and the through local media.

“We will do everything possible to provide as much prior notice to our community,” Dr. Calvin said, noting parents and guardians should prepare a backup plan in case of a change to virtual. He also encouraged them to secure a childcare plan in case students need to be sent home from school early due to a pandemic-related emergency or illness.

Officials are asking all to keep an eye out for common COVID-19 signs and symptoms, including fever equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, loss of taste or smell, fatigue/feeling tired, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, headache, nasal congestion and runny nose.

In addition, the district is requesting everyone does their part to help with the health and safety of the community by wearing a face covering when coming to school; washing hands frequently with hot, soapy water for 20 seconds or more; social distancing by staying six feet apart from others; cleaning frequently touched objects; not touching eyes, nose or mouth; covering coughs and sneezes; and staying home if sick or showing any aforementioned symptoms.

Further health and safety updates will be communicated whenever possible, Dr. Calvin said.

Should the community have any questions or concerns, they can reach out at any time to their school principal or the OCSD COVID-19 hotline at 315-341-2050.

Dr. Calvin’s full letter, which was sent to parents and guardians Friday, is available on the district website homepage, Oswego.org.

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