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Unprecedented Oxford School Year Comes to a Close May 8

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The 2019-2020 school year was one that students, parents and faculty won’t soon forget.

Distance learning became a household word and parents became teacher assistants, while teachers had to do a complete 360 on how they taught their students.

For most students in the Oxford School District, the school year will come to an end on May 8.

It is the intention of the district to promote all students through eight grade unless he or she is significantly behind, in which promotion would not be in the best interest of the child due to hindering his or her education in subsequent years.

Students who did not meet promotion standards, or those students failing a course, will continue to receive instruction online starting May 11 through May 21. Parents of those students will be notified by May 8 if their child is expected to continue with instruction.

“Those students will be allowed to keep their device until they are finished with online learning,” said Assistant Superintendent Bradley Roberson.

From the OSD.

Students who have met the promotion standards in kindergarten through fourth grade and those who are passing all courses in fifth through 12th grade will begin to turn in their laptops and iPads the following week, except graduating seniors who need to turn in their devices and chargers May 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the drive-thru bus lane at Oxford Elementary School.

Other high school students will return their devices from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 12; Oxford Middle School students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 13; Oxford Intermediate and Della Davidson students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 14; and Oxford Elementary and Bramlett students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 15. All devices should be dropped off in the drive-thru bus lane at OES.

The Academic Kickstart Camp will be held in July for students whose parents and teachers feel need additional support in order to give them the best chance for a successful start to the 2020-2021 year.

If a parent feels his or her child needs additional support, please contact the building level principal to take part in the camp.

Adapting Quickly

Teachers and school officials had to learn how to successfully use distance learning quickly, jumping into the fire with no previous data or historic lessons learned.

Roberson said OSD teachers not only managed to keep students learning, but they also did it well.

On average, students across all grades submitted seven to eight lessons a week per student. There were more than 36,000 student/teacher interactions during April.

Most parents, more than 79 percent, said they were also happy with the online learning process.

Parents were given an opportunity to provide feedback on the online learning system by completing a 10-question survey. There were 863 responses to the survey.

Thirty-five percent said they were extremely satisfied with the online learning system while 44 percent said they were satisfied. Just 7 percent said they were dissatisfied and 2 percent said they were very dissatisfied. Eleven percent answered they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Distance learning has opened new doors for all school districts, including the OSD, said Superintendent Brian Harvey – from allowing students to work during snow days or extended sickness, summer retention programs and future school closures like during the COVID-19 pandemic or for whatever rules the Mississippi Department of Education and Gov. Tate Reeves may mandate for the fall.

“National experts feel there could be a resurgence (of COVID-19) in the fall,” Harvey said Monday during the OSD Board of Trustee meeting. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t enter school in the fall with some type of social distancing guidelines, but we don’t know what that will look like yet.”

Harvey said school will continue to look “very different.”

“Two or three months ago, we weren’t considering four-by-four block classes at the high school, but now it may be a necessity,” he said. “We may have to require certain students to come to school on some days and others on other days. We simply don’t know. We have to plan for things without a lot of details. Even if school starts back up in August, we all hope that it will be what it was before spring break. Chances of that are slim. If we aren’t dealing with the virus itself, we could be dealing with the fear of the virus and not all parents will send their kids back. It’s important we are prepared for whatever happens.”

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