Letter from Principal Towe

March 21, 2020

Dear Colts,

I sincerely hope that this message finds you all well and taking every precaution to care for yourself, your family, and those you hold dear.  Over the past days, potentially like you, the Thurston High School staff has gone through a range of emotions.  We’ve all faced questions and situations that seem both confusing and challenging as we’ve made compromises and sacrifices in our lives. Historically, during times like these, schools have been proud to support families at the school– providing an element of stability in classrooms, continuing to educate children who have the hope and promise of the community.  Over the past days your family may have felt a distance from Thurston High School as we all focus on caring for our families, but our community can feel strengthened by the ongoing commitment from the Thurston staff to students, parents, and the Springfield community.  

There are many questions and concerns about what’s next in Springfield Public Schools, Thurston High School, and how your child will access education.  Please know that the THS staff have remained in touch; we are carefully listening to guidance from the Oregon Department of Education and District Leadership, and are working to answer many of these questions in the days to come. We will be communicating as frequently as necessary for the duration of this extended school break. 

Continuing education updates:

As of today, SPS schools will remain closed through April 28th in response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak unless extended or the closure is lifted by order of Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Families can expect updates on supplemental education from Springfield Schools, by March 30. This will allow for SPS staff to put together strategies to equitably serve all students as we move forward.

New SPS resources:

In an effort to capture your questions, concerns, and needs, SPS has set up a new email account: askSPS@springfield.k12.or.us.  

A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) can also be found on the Springfield District Website at www.springfield.k12.or.us/coronavirus. This list will continue to be updated as additional questions come in and as we have answers.

Food service:

Springfield Public Schools will continue to serve meals to all children to 18 years old. Beginning March 23 through the remainder of the extended closure, SPS will be serving hot to-go lunches as well as breakfast meals for the next morning.

Meal distribution locations have also changed. Families can pick up to-go breakfast and lunches between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at any of the following locations:

Centennial: 1315 Aspen St, Springfield, OR 97477

Ridgeview: 526 N 66th St, Springfield, OR 97478

Two Rivers – Dos Rios: 1084 G St, Springfield, OR 97477

Guy Lee: 755 Harlow Road Springfield, OR 97477

Yolanda: 2350 Yolanda Ave, Springfield, OR 97477

Agnes Stewart: 900 S 32nd St, Springfield, OR 97478

Walterville: 40589 McKenzie Hwy, Springfield, OR 97478

Maple: 2109 J St, Springfield, OR 97477

* Note: Families can pick up meals at any of the schools listed.

Other food sources:

Food for Lane County has a number of locations where sack lunches and other food is available. For a list of food pantry locations and information about other meal sites visit https://foodforlanecounty.org/or call (541)- 343-2822 to find the location, days and hours of the emergency food pantry in your area.

Additional health and mental health resources:

Lane County Public Information – 541.682.1380

HOOTS –  Helping Out Our Teens by CAHOOTS –  crisis intervention, counseling, mediation, information and referral, transportation to social services, first aid, and basic-level emergency medical care. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 541-246-2332

Lane County Behavioral Health – 541-682-7253 (also available in Spanish)

Looking Glass Youth and Family Crisis Line: 541-689-3111

White Bird Clinic Crisis Line 541-687-4000

Mental Health Crisis Response 888-989-9990

SPS Counselor Support:

Additionally, a student support line has also been set up for families wishing to speak with a SPS school counselor. Springfield Student support line: 541-726-3209.

Unemployment services:

The Oregon Employment Department has provided a summary of general guidance to employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus which can be found at.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx.

A note to Thurston Seniors:

I am so sorry for this disruption to your senior year.  It is meant to be the culmination of years of hard work with the support of a tremendous team.  Events will be cancelled and postponed- they will be different than they were before.   This is not what you expected; however, I am encouraged by the work being done to ensure you are taken care of, for example, The College Board announced shortened and online AP tests, Lane Community College is adopting an “approach of “maximum flexibility,” and the Oregon Department of Education has assembled a Task Force that will make sure seniors’ education and futures are being considered first.  We are thinking of you.

AP and LCC (dual enrolled):

We’re monitoring the AP website for the most up to date information:

https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update?SFMC_cid=EM288604-&rid=156500285

We know LCC is adopting an approach of “maximum flexibility,” meaning that, as long as teachers can still achieve all course student-learning outcomes, modified instruction and assessments are allowed for spring 2020.

https://www.lanecc.edu/covid19

I know there are many more quesitons; this is a challenging time for our community. We are faced with circumstances none of us have seen before. Springfield Public Schools and Thurston High School are committed to continued support of all students and families throughout this extended closure.

Please know, we miss students on the THS campus, your families, and our staff. Please utilize the community resources available and reach out when you have question or concerns.  

Thank you for your ongoing caring, support, and understanding.

Sincerely,

Chad R. Towe

Principal, Thurston High School

 

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