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Update Mar. 17: Schools ordered closed through March 31

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on March 17, 2020

A message to families from Superintendent Jody Monroe:

Schools ordered closed through March 31

Dear BC families:

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring all schools to be closed until March 31 to reduce the spread of the COVID-19/Coronavirus. The Bethlehem Central School District will remain closed through Tuesday, March 31 and schools will re-open on Wednesday, April 1 unless we are directed to remain closed for a longer period of time. Any updates to this schedule will be shared promptly with families.

We recognize the hardships these changes will place on our families. Please know that the district is committed to providing you with continued support during the closure. 

We continue to monitor all guidance from federal, state and local authorities as we navigate this rapidly evolving public health issue. There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19/Coronavirus in our school district. 

Closing BC buildings and grounds

Our goal as a community is to limit the spread of the illness to the best of our ability while still maintaining critical district operations and basic services for families. To accomplish this, we are closing all school buildings, with the exception of the high school, on Friday, March 20 at 3 p.m. At that time, all buildings will have been cleaned and disinfected. These buildings will be off-limits to all persons (including all staff) beginning on Friday for a period of at least 10 days. 

All staff are being notified about their status as essential or non-essential in determining work-from-home arrangements as well as responsibilities and availability.

There will be no visitors allowed at high school, where the building will be staffed only to provide essential services for families and for staff. The high school will be cleaned and disinfected while remaining open for these members of our staff who have been deemed essential to our operations.

Please note that all school playgrounds and playing fields districtwide will be closed until further notice. Limiting access to our buildings and grounds during the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak is an important way for the district to honor the intent of the state of emergency that has been declared in Albany County and statewide.

Medications and essential items

If your student needs to retrieve essential items such as medication or in some cases, a musical instrument or athletic equipment, you must arrange to pick up these items with your building’s main office by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 19. For medication pickup, please contact your school nurse. For other essential items, please contact your building principal. They will try their best to accommodate requests, but can not guarantee these items will be accessible as areas of our buildings are being cleaned, disinfected and closed off as that process is completed. Students or families will not be allowed to enter the buildings.

Technology assistance available by appointment

Today and yesterday, families K-12 should have begun receiving information from their school principals and/or teachers on how to stay connected and with grade-appropriate materials that can be used for parent-guided or self-guided learning when students are out of school. 

There is technology help available for students in grades 6-12 who have district-owned devices at home. To request assistance please email helpdesk@bethlehemschools.org or call 518-478-0296. Please be sure to describe your tech issue in detail and please include a phone number where you can be contacted. 

Food for children available Monday-Friday

Free “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch for children will continue to be available for pick-up every morning, Monday-Friday, at Bethlehem Central High School while schools are closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus.

Those picking up meals should come to the Van Dyke Road entrance on the side of the school, near the cafeteria (not the main entrance). To keep traffic disruption to a minimum, please note the following pick-up schedule:

Monday thru Friday:

  • 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Last names beginning A-M
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Last names beginning N-Z

Please do not leave your vehicle. Our staff will bring meals out to you.

Meals are free to all students whether a student receives free meals during the normal school year or not. All children ages 18 and younger can get meals. The meals will be available Mondays through Fridays while schools are closed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Each meal will include both breakfast and lunch for that day. We will do our best to accommodate special diets and allergies.

If you participate in the District’s weekend backpack program, we will have backpacks available for pick up on Fridays.

If you have any questions or need food support but cannot make it to the pickup location, please email Allissa Eiser, Food Service Director at aeiser@bethlehemschools.org.

No in-person student registration

While we try to limit visitors to the high school, please note the following:

Kindergarten & new student registration will be done remotely until further notice. There will be no in-person student registration. Please email District Registrar Melissa Haas at mhaas@bethlehemschools.org if you have any questions about registering a child for school. Please share this information with families who may not receive these emails.

Board of Education meeting online

The March 18 Board of Education meeting will not be open to the public in the usual way. However, members of the public will be able to watch and listen to the meeting by using this link: https://hangouts.google.com/call/RJfVh0iaPfBp1d7WPcyQAEEE 

If you plan to join the meeting:

  • Please mute your phone/computer to reduce background noise.
  • Note: There will be no questions/comments from livestream participants during the meeting.

The March 18 Board agenda can be viewed here. If you would like to submit comments ahead of time for the record, you can email them to bcsdk12@gmail.com and they will be entered into the record.

I realize this is a lot of information to take in and that changes are being made on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. The district is truly appreciative of the community support we have received. We will continue to stay connected to you and your family to the best of our abilities in the days and weeks ahead.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jmonroe@bethlehemschools.org.

Sincerely,

Jody Monroe

Superintendent