BWRSD Community Update 8/21/2020
Message from Jonathan Brice, Superintendent of Schools
Dear BWRSD students, parents/guardians, staff and community,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the start of another school year in the Bristol Warren Regional School District. This year promises to be different than any other, as we develop plans to contend with the multiple scenarios that may emerge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we prepare to reopen, either in person, in a hybrid mode, or through distance learning, it is critical that we are flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances to keep students and staff safe.
Health and safety guidelines will require that all students and staff wear masks each day while at school. The mask requirement has been directed by the Governor and will be maintained in all areas of the school, classrooms, hallways, and buses. Principals are working to develop schedules that will incorporate masks breaks each day where students will be able to remove their masks, while maintaining social distancing, and getting some fresh air. In preparation for the school year and possible in person or hybrid learning students and staff should practice wearing their masks for extended periods of time. Guidance on acceptable masks is included in this update.
Student schedules will be distributed by each school on August 28th. These schedules include information about distance learning teachers for elementary and middle school students. Teachers will continue to refine their instructional practices to ensure that students in person or via distance learning are provided with the best possible learning opportunities. Distance learning will be different than what we experienced in the Spring and will continue to evolve as teachers utilize various strategies to support students.
Finally, the goals of BWRSD remain the same, to become a Top 5 in 5 year academically performing school district in Rhode Island. Our plans for the 2020-2021 school year include increased opportunities for staff to work together and plan by content area and grade level. BWRSD has also worked with students, community members, and staff to strengthen English Language Arts curriculum by incorporating diverse authors, building a high school course that focuses on Diversity and Social Justice, and developing an inclusive social emotional learning framework for our students. These efforts are in the early stages and our work will continue in these areas to realize the goals of our students, community, and staff.
Please continue to work with us, ask questions and seek clarity, and remain flexible as we enter the 2020-2021 school year.
Jonathan T. Brice, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Today's update has information on the following topics:
Updated BWRSD 2020-2021 School Calendar (Pending SC Approval)
Notification of Class Placement and Your Child’s Teacher(s)
Kickemuit Middle School Orientation
Mt. Hope High School Orientation
Health and Safety
Back to School Planning Information for Families
Back to School Checklist
Parent Portal Account Access
1. Updated BWRSD 2020-2021 School Calendar (Pending SC Approval)
As you are no doubt aware, on August 12, 2020, Governor Raimondo announced a revision to the previously issued statewide school calendar. BWRSD, working with union leadership, has created the following school calendar:
Please note that the proposed school calendar will be discussed at the next school committee meeting, which will be held on August 31, 2020. Once finalized by the school committee, a 2020-2021 school calendar will be distributed to all students, parents/guardians, staff and community members.
2. Notification of Class Placement and Your Child’s Teacher(s)
Families will be notified of their child’s teacher(s) by August 28, 2020.
3. Kindergarten Orientation
We look forward to meeting our new Kindergarten families during the upcoming Virtual orientation meetings listed below. Families will receive an electronic link to these Zoom meetings:
Rockwell - August 31 from 6-7:30pm
Hugh Cole - September 1 from 6-7:30pm
Colt Andrews - September 2 from 6-7:30pm
Guiteras - September 3 from 6-7:30pm
4. Kickemuit Middle School Orientation
5. Mt. Hope High School Orientation
Virtual Freshmen & New Students Welcome Presentation on August 27th at 6:00 PM! During the presentation MHHS staff will introduce ourselves, provide information about our amazing high school and wrap up with a Question & Answer (Q & A). If you have specific questions you would like to ask, you will be able to submit them via a Google Form prior to the presentation.
In addition to the presentation, we will be hosting Small Group Tours of Mt. Hope on September 1st from 10:30 am - 3:00 pm and 4:00 - 6:00 pm.
6. Health and Safety
Our staff has worked diligently throughout the summer to stay on top of the latest health guidance and put the appropriate measures in place to promote the health and safety of our students and staff. This includes new restrictions on mask wearing; managing social distancing; airflow; PPE, cleaning and disinfecting; plexiglass partitions; and the use of water bottles.
1. Acceptable Face Masks
New research finds that cloth face masks with 2-3 layers or disposable surgical masks provide the greatest protection against COVID-19. Masks that have an exhalation valve or vent, bandanas, and gaiter masks do not provide adequate protection and will not be allowed in BWRSD schools. Please be sure to label the mask with your child’s name.
Only the following types of masks will be acceptable to promote the health and safety of BWRSD students and staff:
Reusable cloth masks with 2-3 layers
Disposable surgical masks
Masks must fit correctly, the elastics should not be twisted to adjust the size, as this creates a gap on the side.
Cloth masks must be washed at the end of each day.
Disposable masks must be thrown out at the end of each day.
2. Social Distancing
Several procedures will be put in place to promote social distancing, including the use of multiple entrances and exits, and signage and floor markings to guide the flow of traffic in common areas and hallways. All classrooms will be set up with desks/tables spaced six (6) feet apart. Class size has been reduced to support this set up.
3. Air Flow
All HVAC units have been thoroughly cleaned and filters replaced. Windows will remain open during the day. Fans may be used in classrooms, in front of windows, to pull in fresh air, however, fans must not be directed at people. We are expecting that classes will be held outside as much as possible. Principals will set up a schedule for outdoor learning spaces, including event tents with WiFi access that will be placed at each school.
4. PPE, Cleaning and Disinfecting
Staff and students are expected to come to school each day with their own mask. Teachers will be provided with a face shield to wear over their mask, if they choose. Each classroom will be equipped with gloves, some disposable masks in case a student or staff member’s mask becomes loose or damaged, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing spray, and paper towels. Nurses, custodians, and teacher assistants working with our most vulnerable students will be provided additional PPE based on their role. Custodians are prepared for the ongoing cleaning of common areas and outdoor recess equipment. Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized each evening.
5. Plexiglass Partitions
State and local health and fire safety officials recently raised questions about the use of plexiglass partitions within schools. There are concerns with the ability to keep plexiglass thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and that the majority of products being sold do not have adequate fire safety ratings. We will continue to monitor the guidance about these proposed safety tools.
6. Water Bottles
We are recommending that students bring water bottles with a straw feature that can be slipped under a mask and allow people to take a sip without having to remove their mask. Hydration stations will be open and sanitized each night, however, bubblers will not be open. Please be sure water bottles are labeled with your child’s name.
7. Back to School Planning
Students who are returning to school in person or partial in person will receive their Chromebooks the week of Sept 14th. Students who are doing distance learning will receive their Chromebooks on Sept 9th, 10th, and 11th. Schools will notify you of the exact dates and times.
2. Back to School Checklists
We recommend families consider the following checklists and lunch ideas in preparing for back to school.
To encourage independence and reduce the need for someone else touching your child's snack/lunchbox items, please see this picture or the link below for some suggestions of items that may be easier for them to open by themselves and items they may need to practice opening before they come to the classroom.
3. Parent Portal Account Access
To help be prepared for the start of the school year, please be sure that you are able to access each of your child's accounts in Aspen. This will be where the daily COVID-19 self-attestation form for students will be located. If you need help with accessing Aspen, please email email@example.com.
Visit our website link above to view more information about the following: 1. BWRSD Reopening Plan 2. BWRSD Distance Learning Plan 3. Parent Resources for Google & Seesaw Classrooms 4. COVID-19 Information 5. BWRSD Community Updates