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An important update from Superintendent Jody Monroe

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on January 31, 2021

Dear BC family,

Somehow we have reached the mid-year point in the school year. It has certainly been a challenge and continues to be. I am incredibly grateful for the support and flexibility of families, and the hard work and resilience of both students and staff. It has truly been remarkable.

I have two important updates for you and your family that both aimed at strengthening our efforts to keep infection rates low enough to keep our schools open and our students and staff as safe as possible.

Student COVID testing to begin in February

The first is about our voluntary onsite rapid COVID testing. The goal of this type of surveillance testing is to identify infection in asymptomatic individuals to help us identify outbreaks and make informed decisions about when there may be a need to close schools.

There has been overwhelming support for this testing from both families and staff. Our staff testing has begun and as of Monday, January 25, we have tested 108 faculty and staff at the district’s seven schools. There was one positive test result. We will be continuing staff testing, bringing the testing program to other staff, including transportation and our maintenance staff.

Our school nurses have been working closely with building principals to schedule testing of students. The goal of these plans is to minimize disruptions to the school day and to ensure COVID health and safety protocols are followed.

Students at the high school will be tested first. Parents will be notified in advance if their students are selected for testing. Testing will not begin any earlier than Monday, February 8. We will keep parents updated about the rapid COVID testing as it gets underway.

Required COVID screening for all BCSD students every day

As second semester gets underway, we expect to see many students return to in-person instruction. As students moved to remote learning around the holidays, students who were not in school were not required to submit the daily COVID screening.

As of Monday, Feb. 1, families will be required to submit the Student COVID Screening every day, even when their child is learning from home. 

This will provide us with better virus tracking information, that coupled with the onsite testing, can reduce transmission of the virus at school and the need to quarantine large numbers of students and staff. Please fill out the questionnaire carefully and if you have any questions about symptoms your child may be exhibiting or anything else that results in a “red thumbs down,” please don’t hesitate to contact your school nurse.

You will notice there is one new question at the top of the daily screening questionnaire:

Q: Student will be attending school today:

  • In-Person
  • Remote

Another question on the screening has been updated regarding COVID-19 testing. It now reads:

In the past 10 days, has your child been tested for COVID-19 outside of school?

  • Yes
  • No

This revised question is in preparation for student COVID testing that will begin in February.

Parent Q & A sessions

Earlier this week, I hosted two Q & A sessions for families and two for staff. The recordings of these meetings will be posted early next week. Some of the submitted questions and answers can be viewed here

We have begun to see what we believe is a leveling off or reduction in the number of COVID-cases from the higher number that was being reported in the district during and after the holiday season. Like you, we are hopeful that this trend seen locally and nationally will continue.

As always, I thank you for your cooperation and for your steadfast support of the Bethlehem Central schools.


Jody Monroe