Message from the Superintendent

Pacific West Schools Closed Until April 13, 2020

Dear Parents, Students and DoDEA Employees,

I apologize for the delayed response this week as we coordinated with our team of partners. As you know, the COVID-19 virus is very prevalent in our host nation communities and now the world around us. As the situations was assessed four weeks ago, closing our schools was the prudent thing to do when considering the health of our students and staff as well as our entire community. Commanders share our belief that the safety and well-being of our students and employees are of paramount concern.

After careful and thorough coordination with our USFK Command and health officials to determine when we could have students safely return to schools, a decision was made to move forward in a manner that is focused on what is best for the health of our students, staff and community, and for the continuity of learning.

All DoDEA Schools in the Pacific West District (Osan, Humphreys, and Daegu) anticipate a reopening date for students on Monday, April 13th, 2020.

This decision was made thoughtfully and deliberately, after conducting an analysis of the mitigation measures developed with the USFK medical community and others to create a safe zone in schools. Those mitigation measures include:

  • Hand sanitizer stations in each classroom
  • Availability of services and supplies to facilitate frequent cleaning and sanitation of all surfaces used by students and employees
  • A plan to appropriately apply social distancing measures to create space when appropriate and to limit any large gatherings beyond our classroom operations
  • Availability of screening, as necessary, for students before they enter school and buses
  • Cleaning of the buses after each bus route
  • Cleaning of all of hallways, common areas, and the outside of lockers on a daily basis to a level of sanitation prescribed by the CDC
  • Procedures in place for handling any student or employee who displays symptoms of the virus while at school or has been confirmed to have the virus.

Now that the criteria at USAG Humphreys, Osan Air Base and USAG Daegu have been met, our school principals, in conjunction with command and medical officials, are working hard to communicate specific information regarding the return and to welcome students back to school on Monday, April 13th.

Here is what you can expect:

  • Our classroom teachers, specialists, and support staff will prepare to welcome students back. You can count on the maximum effort of staff each day to return to the routine of teaching and learning that creates the stability and sense of normalcy that our students need.
  • There are no cases of COVID-19 among our students or employees; however, our school nurses, with assistance of the entire staff, will monitor student and visitor wellness and identify anyone who is ill and advise parents accordingly.
  • The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility and one that we take seriously. As an entire community, we need to take every precaution to stay healthy and to reduce risk of transmission of any illness to others.
  • We will work to reduce the various levels of fear and anxiety caused by this situation with students.
  • Each of our schools, along with the commands, will continue to share the most up-to-date information available to us.

We are hopeful that we will not need to close a school again due to COVID-19, but we are prepared for any situation. Of course, any decision related to closure would be made in coordination with command partners and medical personnel. Even as we return, we are focused on doing our part on mitigation and containment strategies to prevent the spread of disease.

As always, we appreciate your patience in this unusual time. Your assistance in working with our teachers to create the routines and support needed at home to continue learning are commendable in every regard.

I hope you will both share your support, thoughts and concerns with us as we move forward. Progress will be reviewed weekly and we will provide regular updates to you. Look for more information on our website and social media pages, as well as the command pages, for additional details about the return to school on Monday, April 13th.

Sincerely,
Dr. Jeff Arrington
District Superintendent
Pacific West DoDEA