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BCHS to transition to remote learning

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on October 25, 2020

UPDATE, Oct. 29, 2020:

An important message from Superintendent Jody Monroe:

Dear BC family:

Remote learning will be extended for Bethlehem Central High School students one week, through Friday, November 6. Students in grades 9-12 moved to all-remote learning on Monday, Oct. 26 following a spike in COVID-19 cases at the high school.

All other schools in the district remain open for in-person instruction.

While there have been no additional COVID cases reported in the district since last Sunday, we want to ensure that our precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus at the high school are not undone by a premature return to in-person instruction. Additionally, with so many individuals, both teachers and students, having to remain in quarantine through much of next week, we are concerned about the continuity of instruction with a return to school next week. Many students would be returning to school only to be in classes that are being taught remotely by teachers still at home.

With the uptick in cases last week, we are aware that several families have sought out testing. If you receive a positive COVID test result, please contact your child’s school nurse and the Albany County Department of Health at 518-447-4580 with that information. Timely reporting of these results and the contact tracing that follows is critical to maintaining a safe school environment

As we approach the weekend and Halloween, it is especially important for all of us to remember that personal responsibility is the best tool we have for keeping our students safe and keeping our schools open. Please enjoy the weekend and the holiday, and do so responsibly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jmonroe@bethlehemschools.org or BCHS Principal Dave Doemel at ddoemel@bethlehemschools.org.

Sincerely,

Jody Monroe

Superintendent


 

An important message from Superintendent Jody Monroe – Sunday, Oct. 25

Dear BC family:

On Monday, Oct. 26, Bethlehem Central High School will switch to all-virtual instruction for at least one week for all students in grades 9-12 as a result of an uptick in COVID cases and widespread quarantine.

The district was notified earlier today by the Albany County Department of Health that two additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the high school, bringing the total number of confirmed cases this week alone at BCHS to five. There has been a total of seven cases confirmed in the district, all at the high school.

These new cases involve individuals who were on campus, at the high school, during the week of Oct. 19. Students and teachers in several classes are being quarantined by the Health Department as a result of today’s new positive cases. Both cases have been linked to a positive case that was confirmed on Friday, Oct. 23.

All close contacts to the cases confirmed today are being identified and monitored by the Albany County Department of Health. The Health Department will reach out directly to members of the school community who were in close contact with the individuals to advise on the need to quarantine and/or to facilitate testing of those potentially exposed.

Instruction at the high school will be all virtual Monday through Friday, Oct. 26-30.  A return to in-person instruction at the high school will be evaluated in consultation with school administrators and with the guidance of the Health Department at the end of the week. Information regarding the need to extend virtual learning at the high school beyond Friday will be shared with families as soon as possible.

All other schools will remain open for in-person instruction. There have been no cases of COVID-19 confirmed in any other BCSD schools.

On Friday, the district learned that 65 students and 8 teachers would have to quarantine as a result of possible exposure to COVID at the high school. Today, we are looking at a significant increase in the number of individuals at the high school, both students and teachers, who will need to be quarantined. Teachers who are not quarantining will be teaching from their classrooms at the high school while students will be logging in from home.

Students should continue to fill out COVID screening

While the high school is in all-virtual instruction, parents of students should still be filling out the daily COVID tracker. Our health office staff will continue to monitor this data while students learn from home.

Virtual schedule to follow regular school day

The all-virtual schedule beginning Monday, Oct. 26 will follow the regular class 2020-21 class schedule. Monday will be an “A” day for students.

School meals for high school students in virtual learning

Breakfast and lunch meal bags will be available for contactless pickup from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Monday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30. There is no sign up necessary and all meal bags are free for all enrolled students. Pick up location is at the Bethlehem High School cafeteria parking lot, off of Van Dyke Road. If you cannot make it to the meal pick up, please contact Allissa Eiser, Food Service Director at aeiser@bethlehemschools.org or 518-439-8885

Student technology needs

Students who may need assistance with technology devices or with internet access during the temporary closure should contact the Technology Department by emailing helpdesk@bethlehemschools.org.

COVID precautions and guidelines for families

All individuals should be aware that the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Please remember that the best plan for addressing the COVID-19 virus is to remain informed and follow the simple steps to help contain the spread of the virus:

  • Keep a 6-foot distance between you and others when out in the community — even if you don’t feel sick or have any symptoms
  • Wear a snug-fitting surgical or cloth face mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Call your health care provider in advance of a visit
  • Limit visitors to your home

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

    People with the following symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your health care provider for evaluation and testing.

    COVID testing information

    If you have concerns about exposure, please contact your health care provider and seek testing. A list of testing sites in Albany County with information about turnaround time and the ability to test pediatric patients can be found on the ACDOH website. Testing at the New York State testing site at the University at Albany uptown campus is free and accepts pediatric patients. Appointments can be made by calling the NYS COVID-19 Hotline at 888-364-3065. Please be aware that if you are experiencing symptoms and test negative via rapid test (same day results), you are recommended to seek confirmation with a laboratory-based molecular test for SARS-CoV-2 immediately and test for other respiratory pathogens.

    I understand that reverting to an all-virtual learning environment at the high school is not an ideal situation for anyone. However, the health and safety of students and staff is what is most important. We will continue to work collaboratively with our partners at the Albany County Department of Health to monitor this situation in the days and weeks ahead.

    Thank you for your continued support of the Bethlehem Central School District during this unprecedented time.

    Sincerely,

    Jody Monroe

    Superintendent of Schools