OXFORD – The Oxford School District has six committees determining key strategies to reopening schools, Superintendent Dr. Jason McKinnon told the Board of Education at a special meeting on Tuesday, July 22.

Dr. McKinnon said the six committees, which finished their work on July 17, were able to identify major action areas. He added Oxford’s plans will be presented in the coming week to allow parents and guardians to ask questions. The six committees are made up of teachers and staff members.

Dr. McKinnon presented a rough plan for reopening schools during a Facebook Live discussion in early July. Oxford’s written plans, submitted to the state on Friday, July 24, included proposals for how the district will implement the three reopening phases as required by the state. Dr. McKinnon said the state does not have to approve the plan, only see that it has been submitted.

The three-phase plan includes: Phase I, a full return to the classroom with in-person lessons and access to distance learning; Phase II, a hybrid comprising partial return/partial in-person with plans for 50 percent of students on campus; Phase III is full distance learning.

Dr. McKinnon also floated the idea of splitting students into A and B days to stagger the amount of people in school buildings. He said there will be no locker use this school year and reported school officials are looking at the bell schedule and areas for students to eat lunch that includes the cafeteria and the alternate gym at the high school.

Further details of the reopening plans will be discussed at the next Board of Education meeting.

Dr. McKinnon said there are plans to have students attend conferences from home and the possibility of installing microphones to ceilings. He added officials are looking into ideas that may allow teachers to live-stream lessons.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Miller noted school officials are trying to discover ways for teachers to broadcast their lessons and the possibility of adding cameras to each classroom.

“We won’t have a camera on teachers all day long, so we can’t capture every single thing,” said Dr. McKinnon.

He told board members the curriculum committee has researched pacing and entry points for lessons for each grade. He added professional development suggests students should start where they’re supposed to start, but with an introduction unit. Officials will doing assessments of students to see where they stand.

He said if Oxford starts a regular school year, all students will return to the traditional grading model, noting school officials will adjust for every scenario. The district currently is working on a document that identifies the key steps and specific plans for reopening as identified by the six committees. Oxford’s school start date is September 8 in order to allow teachers more time to prepare.

The board approved the school start date of September 8 along with half days on September 18, October 23 and November 12.

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