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2020-21 Reopening Plan now available

Filed in District, District News by on July 31, 2020

A message to BC families from Superintendent Jody Monroe:

Dear BC family:

Together, we are preparing to begin a new school year that will be unlike any other. These unprecedented circumstances require us to reinforce a commitment to health and safety, redesign teaching and learning, and think strategically about how we support a safe and successful school year for students, staff and families.

Today, we submitted the Bethlehem Central School District 2020-21 Reopening Plan to New York State. Though no decision has been made by Governor Cuomo regarding the reopening of schools in the fall, we are moving closer to the scheduled start of the school year and we need to be prepared and keep our stakeholders informed of what the new school year could look like.

This plan is simply a place to start. It reflects several months of working with school leaders, faculty and staff, public health experts, and listening to the ideas and feedback of our families to ensure there is a comprehensive re-entry path that supports the district’s mission. It is designed with the kind of flexibility we need right now. It is that flexibility that will allow us to adjust quickly as public health decisions and recommendations regarding COVID-19 continue to evolve. The plan will be updated continuously on the website, where it will be accessible and posted to the district homepage and all school websites.

You can also download and print the proposed plan here. If you do, please keep in mind that this version is in draft form only and the most up-to-date information, changes and updates will be found on the website

In the 2020-21 school year, all students will be expected to participate in rigorous learning every day. Public health data and guidance from New York State will determine how many of these days can include in-school instruction, a mix of in-school instruction and remote learning, or mandatory remote learning for everyone from home.

While there are still many unknowns, we do know that a healthy environment for learning and working will be our top priority. We must work together to mitigate risks to our students, teachers and staff. This means that with a return to our buildings everyone will be required to wear face coverings, adhere to frequent handwashing routines, practice social distancing, and follow all health and safety protocols. Required daily temperature checks and health screenings will be done at home before the start of the day and there will be monitoring and isolation of any students or staff presenting with symptoms during the day.

As a District, we will prioritize in-person learning with social distancing for students in grades K-6 and for other students who benefit most from face-to-face instruction including our English as a New Language (ENL) students and some of our special education students who are in our Skills and Intensive Skills classes. We expect these students will be in our buildings five days a week should infection rates remain low in the Capital Region. Due to reduced capacity in order to maintain safe social distancing, students in grades 7-12 will participate in a hybrid model where there will be a rotating schedule of in-person and online learning.

We recognize that there may be families who, for many reasons, may not feel comfortable with face-to-face learning so digital learning for all or part of the school year also will be available as an option. We learned a lot this past spring about what works – and what doesn’t – in a digital setting, and these lessons have helped us to strengthen our online learning model.

Please join me for one of three online K-12 Parent Reopening Q & A Sessions that will take place next week. 

K-12 Parent Reopening Q & A Sessions via Zoom

  • Monday, August 3 at 6 p.m.  
  • Tuesday, August 4 at 3:30 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, August 5 at 9:30 a.m. 

The Zoom meeting links will be emailed directly to parents ahead of the meetings.

Please feel free to email any questions or comments in advance of these meetings to districtoffice@bethlehemschools.org.

We know that the upcoming school year will be a challenging one for all of us. By working together, we can continue to deliver on our mission to prepare all students to reach their potential.

Sincerely,

Jody Monroe

Superintendent