BWRSD Community Update 7/10/2020

Message from Jonathan Brice, Superintendent of Schools

Dear BWRSD parents and guardians,

I hope you and your children are enjoying the summer and staying healthy and well.

BWRSD, like many districts, is deeply involved in planning for the submission of a School Reopening plan to the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) for three contingencies for school opening on August 31, 2020. These plans are due by July 17, 2020. Our plans have two priorities; ensuring the safe return to school of our students and staff, and providing a high educational experience for students for in person learning, as well as any distance learning that may be required during the school year.

The plan is based on three models of learning that will be initiated based on the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and RIDE guidelines: 1.) full in person learning model, 2.) a hybrid model of in person and distance learning, and 3.) a full distance learning model. We anticipate beginning the year with full in person learning, with modifications throughout the year as required by RIDOH to ensure the safety and well being of students and staff.

Multiple stakeholders have helped to shape our School Reopening plan, including: 1.) 700 respondents to the family survey, 2.) 70+ staff members who responded to staff survey, 3.) 55 staff members who serve on our school reopening team and participate in our twice per week reopening discussions, 4.) parents who attended our virtual school parent group discussions, and 5.) representatives from the RI Superintendents Association and East Bay Superintendents group who meet on a weekly basis with our point of contact from RIDE. The feedback derived from these interactions has helped to make our plan safer, easier to implement, and one that will support the academic and social emotional success of our students.

In the upcoming weeks, as we finalize our School Reopening plan, we will continue to work through the details of several issues:

  • Developing an efficient protocol for parents to complete a brief COVID-19 screening form verifying that their child is symptom free, prior to leaving for the bus stop, walking to school, or transporting their child to school. This at-home screening verification process is required within the RIDOH guidelines and will be closely monitored by our school nurses.

  • At this time, based on the preliminary data and the need for additional health and safety protocols, we anticipate that it will be necessary to adjust school start times to the following:

    • Mt. Hope High School of 7:45 a.m.,

    • Kickemuit Middle School of 8:30 a.m.,

    • All elementary schools at 9:15 a.m.

  • We will continue to work with First Student to evaluate bus routes, capacity issues, and cleaning protocols to confirm the school arrival and dismissal times as soon as possible. The most significant change is in having our high school students be the first to start. This was based on the number of students participating in after-school employment, internships, and college courses.
  • Due to RIDOH limitations on the number of students allowed on a school bus at one time, and to ensure we can appropriately space student seating (from 50+ plus students to no more than 24-28 students), we will be requesting that families request school bus transportation only if it is absolutely essential. This will allow us to reduce numbers sufficiently and eliminate the need for additional bus runs and delays in our ability to get students to school in a reasonable amount of time.

  • The RIDOH guidelines also limit the number of students we are able to have in one space at any given time. We are finalizing arrangements for K-8 students to have lunch in their classrooms and identifying multiple locations within the high school that can be used for students to be sufficiently distanced while eating. We are likely to use the cafeteria for 50 students, the gym for 50 students, the library for 30 students, the auditorium for 50 students, and several other smaller rooms to accommodate approximately 250 students per each of the four lunch shifts. Staff is also exploring several outdoor eating areas, weather permitting.

  • Conducting an audit of classroom spaces and adjustments that will be necessary to ensure appropriate distancing between desks.

  • Evaluating the need for additional staff to support the changes in transportation protocols, lunch supervision, and the ongoing sanitization of bathrooms, hallways, common areas, as well classrooms.

Please know we will remain committed to a School Reopening plan that prioritizes the safety of students and staff, while also maintaining a focus on high quality learning experiences. Our complete plan will be posted on the district website and shared via email once RIDE reviews our plan and BWRSD receives their feedback. We will then schedule additional meeting dates with parent groups in each school to address questions and concerns. The plan will likely continue to evolve as guidance and current conditions change. We appreciate your patience and support as we work together through these challenges.

Sincerely Yours,

Jonathan Brice, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Warren Regional School District


Today’s update also has information about the BWRSD 2020-2021 School Year Calendar.

BWRSD 2020-2021 School Year Calendar

The RI Department of Education, in collaboration with Governor Raimondo, issued a statewide calendar for all RI schools for the 2020-21 school year. The first day of school will be August 31st and the last day will be June 18th. The calendar provides a consistent vacation schedule for schools around the state, as well as eight professional development days for teachers, during which time students will engage in distance learning at home. In addition, students will no longer have to make up snow days or school closure days, they will engage in distance learning at home on those days, as well. The BWRSD 2020-2021 School Year Calendar was amended due to adopting the RI Statewide Calendar and approved by the School Committee on 6/29/20.

BWRSD Distance Learning Plan/COVID 19 Info

Visit our website link above to view more information about the following: 1. BWRSD Distance Learning Plan 2. Parent Resources for Google & Seesaw Classrooms 3. COVID-19 Information 4. BWRSD Community Updates