March 25, 2020
Dear Howe Public Schools family:
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 Howe, 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.
We are sharing this information with you now so you can prepare accordingly for your family. We understand this change is in the best interest of everyone’s health, which is our greatest priority as a district. The state board’s vote also means that all extracurricular activities and special events will be canceled or postponed as well. Making these difficult decisions, we believe, is simply the right thing to do for our students, our staff and our community.
We do have good news: Howe is developing a plan to ensure your child will continue to have opportunities to learn and to grow academically, especially with parental support. Because we are unable to safely gather together, these lessons and activities will primarily be delivered and communicated in a method that best suits your family. To help us better plan on how to best serve your child(ren), please complete this survey at www.bit.ly/howecontinuouslearning. This survey was shared on Sunday, and we have heard from over 190 Howe families already. If you have not yet completed the survey, please do so at your earliest convenience.
As you can imagine, this is a significant transition for our students and our teachers. Howe Public Schools’ teachers and administration will spend the next week planning for this effort and will share details with your family as soon as they are available. As many of you already know, Howe Public Schools has access to numerous online learning programs, a 1 to 1 Chromebook program for students in 1st-12th grades, and online platforms to provide both synchronous and asynchronous learning. 1st-12th grade parents: If you’d like to request your students’ Chromebook for loan through the remainder of the school year, please complete this form: https://bit.ly/howedevicerequest.
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. 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 Howe Lion. #LionStrong
We have posted numerous resources on our website, including information about free breakfasts and lunches for students under the age of 18, which will continue. You can find these details and more by visiting www.howeschools.org. Please be vigilant when practicing the recommendations from the CDC about protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. We ask you to please follow their advice by: (1) washing your hands regularly; (2) staying at home, if you can; and (3) practicing social distancing of at least six feet from others.
This is an unprecedented situation, and it has required an unprecedented response. We can still take care of Howe’s students, though. This is a community that sticks together in challenging times, and we know this experience will be no different. As soon as we identify our next steps, we will share them with you.
Please stay safe. As always, we appreciate your support of Howe Public Schools.
Scott L. Parks, Superintendent
Howe Public Schools