I appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through preparations for the upcoming school year. We especially appreciate your quick response to the recent surveys. Please know this is an important part of informing our planning. We have a reopening committee working on our plan for the fall that will be released after our July 7th board meeting. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few key questions and answers from our planning to date:
Q1: When will the school year start?
A1: We will begin school on August 5th. We are going to add several planned Blended Learning days early in the school year to work through new procedures and expectations. Students in grades 7-12 will be issued a take-home Chromebook computer for daily use, students in grades K-6 will have a Chromebook to bring home when necessary.
Q2: What health procedures are being put in place to ensure student safety?
A2: In accordance with guidance from the IDOE and in consultation with local health authorities, all BCS students, parents and employees are asked to self-screen each day prior to coming to school. If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, clear guidelines are being developed to inform parents, students and faculty on proper procedures. Attendance policies will be changed to reflect these new guidelines.
Q3: What cleaning and sanitization procedures are being put in place?
A3: Increased cleaning and sanitizing will occur in all schools/ facilities. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom and other locations throughout the school. Disinfectant misters will be used after school hours daily in all classrooms. Student procedures will be changed to allow targeted cleaning during the school day.
Q4: What will be the school policy on wearing masks? -
A4: Mask use is strongly recommended but not required during the academic day. Each student will be given one cloth mask at the start of the year, however they may wear their own masks or face shields as long as they are appropriate. School rules will be modified this year to encourage and allow mask use at the student’s discretion.
Q5: What changes will be made to Transportation to ensure student safety?
A5: We encourage parents to transport their students to and from school this year if at all possible to reduce the number of students on busses. Students will be assigned seats on the bus. Students from the same family will sit in the same seat. In order to assign seating, students will be limited to one pick up and drop off point to begin the year. Start and end times of the school days will be staggered to reduce large gatherings at the beginning and end of the school day. Busses will be cleaned and sanitized after each route. All busses will deliver to all schools, eliminating shuttle transfers. Mask use will be strongly recommended on the school busses.
Q6: Will students still have recess?
A6: Student recess is an integral part of the K-6 experience, and will be a part of the fall return. Student recesses may be staggered to reduce the total number of students on the playground. Playground equipment will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
Q7: What steps are being implemented to improve social distancing during the school day?
A7: Social distancing in the classroom, large group spaces, hallways, and recess is a critical component of a safe school environment. Precautions will be taken in each of these specific areas to ensure proper spacing is maintained by students and staff. Finally, until further notice visitors will not be allowed in the building. This will include lunchtime visitors, classroom volunteers, and parents in the hallways before and after school. There will also be limited access for non-school personnel. (ie...outside mentor groups, behavioral specialists and outside counseling services.)
Grades K-6 Students’ personal items will not be shared and there will no longer be shared cubbies or storage spaces for students. Upon the arrival of students to the school in the morning, students will report directly to their classroom. Breakfast will be served in the classroom. At the end of day (dismissal) precautions for social distancing will be in place. Due to the logistics of each elementary school building, dismissal plans will be building specific. While breakfast will be eaten in the classroom due to arrival procedures, lunch procedures will be building specific but all will include procedures for proper social distancing.
Grades 7-12 School provided backpacks will be distributed to each student to accommodate their personal items, textbooks, and chromebooks. We will have limited locker access therefore the backpacks provided by the school will be the only backpack the student may carry in the building. Upon the arrival of students to the school in the morning students will report to their classroom. Breakfast stations will be available at each entrance for a “grab and go” style and they will eat in the classroom. While breakfast will be eaten in the classroom due to arrival procedures, lunch procedures will be implemented using proper social distancing.
Q8: Will there be a virtual attendance option for families who feel like they would like to keep their students at home?
A8: Yes. More information on this option will be released throughout the summer.
As the summer continues, we will release a complete plan in July. We also anticipate revisions as guidance changes. We appreciate in advance your understanding and support. If you have additional questions after reading this letter, please use this link to submit a question. Please look for updates through email, the school website and social media.
Sincerely, Chad Yencer