First safety webinar held following Board’s approval for the return to school

Further safety webinars to be held every Monday led by Holly Baxter


Photo Courtesy of Oak Park Unified School District

First Safety Webinar flyer was sent out by OPUSD Coordinator for Safety and Equity, Holly Baxter.

Emily Francis and Daisy Calderon

Updated: Nov. 9, 2020

As OPUSD prepares to return to campus with a hybrid learning model in January, the district has recently begun creating weekly webinars sessions for parents. The webinars are intended to help engage with families and spread information as well as “provide more in-depth information on the safety protocols [the district has] developed,” Coordinator for Safety and Equity Holly Baxter wrote to the Talon. 

The first webinar was held on Monday via Zoom from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. At the meeting, Baxter, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Adam Rauch and Director of Bond Program, Sustainability, Maintenance and Operations Brendan Callahan discussed safety measures the district had begun implementing, such as hand washing stations, separated lunch tables and patio-like umbrellas outside mobile fifth grade classrooms. 

Being the first webinar held, Baxter, Rauch and Callahan focused on providing parents with a broad view of what hybrid learning will entail. However, future meetings will focus on specific schools and aspects to the hybrid learning plan. For example, next week’s meeting will be centered around ventilation, Baxter wrote. 

According to Baxter, the idea for the webinars began because of distance learning and how staff has gotten accustomed to communicating through conferencing platforms, such as Zoom or Google Meet. 

While providing information to families or parents that attend, the webinars also have a Q&A portion where parents can ask questions throughout the presentation. On Monday, well over 20 questions were asked, each read by Director of Extended Care Sara Ahl and answered by Baxter, Rauch and Callahan. 

Baxter hopes that these webinars will provide families with some sense of comfort during uncertain times. 

“We hope that families gain confidence that OPUSD is putting the well-being of our students at the forefront of our planning,” Baxter wrote to the Talon. “We believe that all students can benefit from being on-campus with each other and with their teachers and it is our hope that we see as many students as possible when we begin hybrid learning.” 

The recording of this webinar can be found here.

Nov. 6, 2020

The first webinar regarding safety for the return to school in a hybrid model was held on Monday, Nov. 2. The purpose of the webinar was to give information on the safety measures and protocols that are being implemented to ensure students safety and well being during COVID-19 and if they return to school in a hybrid model. 

The meeting was led by Coordinator for Safety and Equity Holly Baxter, who was joined by Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Adam Rauch and Director of Bond Program, Sustainability, Maintenance and Operations Brendan Callahan. 

Baxter, Rauch and Callahan discussed the safety measures that have already been implemented at the Oak Park Unified District schools, as well as those  that will be implemented soon. Additional hands-free sanitizers and washing stations have been placed on various OPUSD campuses, as well as signage enforcing 6 feet of distance between individuals.

“Next week we’ll be focusing on ventilation,” Baxter said. “Our district nurse will be joining us for another, and then we will also be having the administration and the principals from each [school] coming for webinars specific to each level elementary, middle and high school,” Baxter said.

Webinars concerning safety and the return to school will take place every Monday from 2-3 p.m.

“We look forward to hearing your feedback and your comments and your questions, it really does help us to clarify our specific protocols and procedures and think of things that maybe you know, we need to clarify a little bit better for you as well,” Baxter said.