School district plans ‘soft reopening’

By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford Community School announced Sunday a schedule for gradually returning DK-8 students back to school late this week.
Supt. Tim Throne said there is broad agreement among families, staff, trained grief counselors, mental health experts, security consultants, faith leaders and law enforcement that “it is vital to the well-being and mental health of our students and staff to come back to a learning environment as soon as possible.”
Reopenings will include the presence of law enforcement and trained clinicians and counselors. “Our plan is to move slowly and gradually,” Throne said, “balancing social and emotional needs with some low-stress academics. Some children rely on academics as a tool to create familiarity and normalcy.”
The district also received advice from school communities who have been through similar tragedies in other states.

Oxford High School
Throne said “it will be quite some time” before the high school building is ready. The plan for high school students is still evolving and the district will communicate it once it is solidified.
All athletic games and competitions have been canceled this week. Coaches are arranging places for practices around the community and at neighboring districts to start as early as tomorrow, Dec. 9.

Schedule for DK-8 schools, Bridges High School, and Crossroads Day School:
Thursday, Dec. 9: All staff will return for a full day of trauma response training and planning.
Friday, Dec. 10: DK-8 students will return for a half-day. All buildings will follow their usual early release schedules. Staff will stay the entire day to convene and debrief together during the afternoon.
Monday, Dec. 13: Students will return for a full day and follow our previously planned school calendar.

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