COVID-19

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March, 27, 2020

State Board Approves Move to Continuous Learning

Great Plains Students, Families, Clients and Staff-

It is hard to believe that less than two weeks ago we were all looking forward to typical Spring Break fun and returning to campus for Career Tech Student Organization (CTSO) competitions, awards programs, graduations and more. Since that time, COVID-19 has totally changed things. We can promise you what won’t change, is our commitment to providing you with the best learning and working under the circumstances.

On Wednesday we learned students will not return to the classroom for the remainder of the current school year, following a vote by the State Board of Education. Instead school districts statewide, including Great Plains Technology Center, will implement continuous learning plans allowing students to complete the school year at home through distance learning. State education and health officials believe this move will help our state fight the spread of COVID-19.

We are sharing this information with you now so you can prepare accordingly. We understand this change is in the best interest of everyone’s health, which is our greatest priority as a district. The state board’s vote also means all extracurricular activities and special events will be canceled or postponed as well. Making these difficult decisions, we believe, is simply the right thing to do for our students, clients, staff, and our community.

We do have good news: Great Plains Tech is developing a plan to ensure our students continue to have learning opportunities. We are working now to develop curriculum and activities that will be relevant and helpful. We will share details as soon as they are available. We want to thank our instructors and instructional leaders in advance for the hard work they are investing in this effort.

The State Board of Education waived the six-hour-a-day class time requirement for high school students and has given schools flexibility in determining the last day of school. Great Plains Technology Center’s last day of school for high school students has been moved up to May 8. The last day of instruction for adults will be May 8, 2020.  In some instances, adult students will be unable to fulfill program requirements, due to restrictions associated with COVID-19.  Instructors will work with each student individually to know how to work toward program requirements and completion. We are working closely with our partner schools to find learning solutions for the final weeks of school. We are also looking for solutions for students and staff who may not have access to a computer and/or Wi-Fi. We know you have more questions than answers right now, so we are going to continue to update you as we identify solutions to the challenges our new reality presents.

It is disappointing for all of us to find out that school as we know it will not resume this year. It is especially hard for our seniors. We will do everything possible to ensure our students’ efforts are recognized and celebrated in special and unique ways. A change in how we celebrate does not diminish anyone’s achievements.

We have posted several CDC resources on our website at greatplains.edu. The site also includes recommendations from the CDC about protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. We ask you to please follow their advice by: (1) washing your hands regularly; (2) staying at home, if you can; and (3) practicing social distancing of at least six feet from others.

Unfortunately, Great Plains Tech will remain closed for the duration of the school year. If you need to enter one of our buildings on the Lawton or Frederick campuses for any reason, please coordinate with your instructor or supervisor.

As soon as we identify our next steps, we will share them with you. Please direct any questions you may have if you are a Lawton student to 580-355-6371 or if you are a Frederick student call 580-335-5525. If we are not able to answer, please leave a message and we will respond as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to work through these challenging times together. Our students, staff, clients and community are definitely worth it!

Take care and stay safe!

Clarence Fortney
Superintendent

March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Update for Students and Families

Great Plains Technology Center is committed to passing along the latest information that may impact you during the Tech Center’s closure. We appreciate your patience as we deal with the constantly changing dynamics regarding COVID-19.

Here is what we know right now:

  • Instructors will not be giving students any new assignments at this time.
  • There will be no penalty for student absences during the closure.
  • Missed days of instruction during the closure will likely not have to be made up by secondary students, according to State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. The State Board of Education will take formal action in their March 25 board meeting.
  • All student activities and events are cancelled for now. BPA Nationals in Washington, D.C. are cancelled, along with the Leadership Class trip to the State Capitol. All other state CTSO competitions have been changed to virtual contests. We will send a separate message soon about the virtual contests.
  • The Veteran’s Administration (VA) will continue the payment of educational benefits through the current planned campus closure. If GI Bill students have questions regarding their specific circumstance, they should contact the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551.
  • Students who receive federal financial aid will receive their April disbursement as scheduled.

For more information, please visit our website at greatplains.edu. We will continue to post updates on the website, social media and through School Messenger.

March 17, 2020

Great Plains Tech COVID 19 School Closure Update

After serious consideration and at the direction of Governor Kevin Stitt, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted this afternoon to close public schools statewide for two additional weeks after Spring Break, with a return date of Monday, April 6. Great Plains Technology Center is included in the closure.

These decisions are not made lightly. We know that the extended closure will present challenges and hardship. However, we must make decisions that protect the safety of all of our constituents and communities. The public health crisis we are facing is unprecedented and constantly changing. We are committed to keeping you updated and informed as plans for the closure evolve, and appreciate your patience during this challenging time.

You may have some unanswered questions today. We are working now to finalize plans for the extended closure. Great Plains Technology Center will continue to update you as new information becomes available. We will share updates via School Messenger, email, and posts on our website and social media. We are seeking ongoing guidance from local, state and national health officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Governor’s office and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. We are also working closely with other school districts in the area.

Thanks for your understanding and support as we work through these constantly changing times.

Sincerely,
Clarence Fortney
Superintendent

March 14, 2020