Update on Spring 2021 Reopening

Update on Spring 2021 Reopening
Posted on 04/06/2021
BCSD sign

Updated 4/6/2021:

Welcome back!

I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful spring break and holiday weekend!

As the final marking period of the school year quickly approaches, I would like to acknowledge how far we have come and outline the remainder of our academic year.

At the beginning of this school year, we were faced with many seemingly insurmountable challenges. Through determination, hard work and a strong partnership with our families, we were able to safely return to school in cohorts, educate and engage our students and provide extracurricular/athletic activities. All of this was done in the middle of a world-wide pandemic, while juggling the challenges each of us faced in our personal lives. There are no words to adequately express how impressed I am by the perseverance of our students, families, staff and district. 

As educators, we are acutely aware that in-person learning is the “Gold Standard.” Increasing in-person learning, even with 10 weeks left in our current school year, is the right thing to do for our students. Conquering this one final hurdle would not only end our school year on the strongest note possible, but also sets us up for success in the fall.

As you know, the CDC recently updated their pandemic safety protocols. While it can be enticing to create plans based on speculation that the NYS Department of Health (our governing agency) will adopt the CDC’s three-foot distancing protocols, we have opted to create a plan that aligns with current executive orders. Intentionally violating an executive order places our district’s legal and insurance coverage in jeopardy.

The only way to increase in-person student learning under the current NYSDOH protocols is to install barriers on every desk and cafeteria table. As you may recall, we were unable to obtain barriers at the beginning of the school year. While it was possible to get the barriers later in the school year, it would have been unwise to increase in-person density during the extraordinary positivity rate increases from November to February. We are now at a point where we can safely increase in-person learning by installing barriers. Therefore, we plan to install barriers and the furniture needed to accomplish this goal in the coming weeks. To help cover this cost, we are working with our county, state and federal governments.

If everything goes as planned, on Monday, April 19, all in-person students, pre-K through 12, will be able to return to school four days a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will continue to be used for student learning, extra assistance for fully remote students and support/professional development for staff. We will monitor safety protocols for a minimum of two weeks before making additional changes.

Four-day schedule:

  • Our teachers will continue to provide asynchronous and synchronous learning for remote and in-person students through options such as screen sharing, cameras and pre-recorded instructional videos.
  • All students will continue to follow their schedules and their teachers’ expectations. Full-remote students must have their cameras turned on when attending synchronous learning classes.
  • To ensure that we are prepared for the fall, we will use portions of Wednesdays for consistent, professional staff development.

To ensure continued safety for all, it is critical that we rededicate our commitment to the current safety protocols.

  • Everyone must continue to gain approval to enter campus through our daily health screening.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, everyone must properly wear an approved mask, except when eating or during prescheduled mask breaks. Mask wearing is a safety issue, and refusal to wear a mask will result in exclusion from our campus.

Thank you to those who completed the Return to School survey in March. If you did not complete this survey to select whether your child will return to in-person learning for four days a week or remain home for fully remote learning, please contact your child’s school office by Friday, April 9. If you completed the survey but need to make changes, please contact your child’s school office by Friday, April 9.

Again, thank you for your patience, support and partnership. I am excited to bring more of our students back to campus. Overcoming this final obstacle, not only ends our current school year on the strongest note possible, but also sets us up for success in the fall.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal.

Sean C. Bruno
Superintendent of Schools

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