BWRSD Community Update 2/19/21

Message from Jonathan Brice, Superintendent of Schools

Big picture

Contents of this Update:


  1. Binax Testing in Schools & Consent Form Reminder

  2. Mask Update

  3. PACE program at MHHS

  4. SurveyWorks Family Survey

  5. Attendance During Distance Learning Days at the Elementary Level

  6. Free Meal Program for Students Continues

  7. BWRSD FY22 Preliminary Budget Update & Upcoming Virtual Meetings

1. Binax Testing in Schools & Consent Form Reminder

The Bristol Warren Regional School District (BWRSD) takes the health and safety of our students and their families very seriously. As such, in addition to screening protocols, and mask and social distancing requirements, we are adding a voluntary K-12 COVID-19 testing program for students and staff. This program uses BinaxNOW tests provided by the federal government.


Testing will only be completed with parent/guardian (for students) or staff consent. A COVID-19 Testing Consent Form is located in Aspen under the “Tasks'' widget area (similar to the “Covid Daily Student/Staff Screening”). See video tutorial below.


Video Tutorial: How to Complete the BiNaxNow Consent form in Aspen


This Consent Form only needs to be completed once for parents/guardians and staff to agree to periodic testing for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. This testing is required for all student athletes and coaches. It is optional, but strongly encouraged for all other students and staff to help us keep our schools as healthy and safe as possible. (Consent forms available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese on our district website Health & Safety Page)


What is the test?

The BinaxNOW COVID-19 test involves using a swab placed inside the tip of the nose to collect a specimen for testing. For students under the age of 12, a trained COVID-19 test facilitator will conduct the swab test. Students ages 12 and older will be assisted through the process by a trained test facilitator. Students athletes and coaches will be tested weekly, beginning next week. All other students and staff will be tested once every 1-2 weeks beginning the first two weeks in February.


Staff or parents/guardians will only be notified by the school nurse if there is a positive test result. Results will then be reported to the RIDOH. Students who test positive will be immediately taken to an isolation room and parents/guardians will be notified to pick up the student within the hour. Parents/guardians should contact their primary care physician, and schedule a test at K-12 portal.ri.gov. Staff who test positive will immediately be sent home and should also contact their primary care physician and schedule a test at K-12 portal.ri.gov.


The BinaxNOW test is only for individuals who are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms). Staff or students who are exhibiting any of symptoms COVID-19 should remain home, contact their primary care physician and schedule a test here:

https://covid.ri.gov/testing/testing-k-12-students-and-staff.


Disclaimer:

While we realize precautions will be taken for the safety of students, please understand that neither the test facilitator nor the BWRSD, nor any of its committee members, officers, or employees are liable for any accident or injuries that may occur to your child or yourself (if you are a student age 18 or older), as a result of agreeing to the test.

2. Mask Update

The health and safety of all employees and students is crucial to our school environment. The Bristol Warren Regional School District (BWRSD) issued a mask directive at the beginning of this school year for full compliance with guidance and direction regarding the use of masks from the Rhode Island Department of Education, Rhode Island Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other state and federal governmental entities (“Government Safety Guidelines”) to safeguard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. Anyone on school grounds, in school facilities, and on school busses is required to wear a face mask, consistent with Government Safety Guidelines. (BWRSD Superintendent’s Directive: Health and Safety Mask Requirement)


Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) released information saying that tight-fitting masks or double masking with cloth and surgical masks increases protection. Read more about this here.


CDC Website with more information - Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation

3. PACE Program at MHHS

The district is pleased to announce the launch of a new Personalized Academic and Career Education (PACE) program at MHHS. This program was developed to meet the needs of students who were previously at the East Bay Career Academy. The PACE Program will provide targeted academic and career readiness programming so students can graduate with an academic diploma and a career certification. Students began receiving instruction through the PACE program on February 9th.

4. SurveyWorks Family Survey

SurveyWorks is a statewide school culture and climate survey that collects critical feedback from students, families, and educators. SurveyWorks touches upon a range of important topics, including school safety, the quality of professional learning for teachers, respect between students and teachers, and how inclusive and welcoming school environments are for parents and families. In 2021, a new “Cultural Awareness & Action” section allows space for students, staff, and families to respond to a series of questions about discussing and confronting issues of race, ethnicity, and culture. To participate in the survey, click here and select the appropriate school. Responses are completely anonymous and confidential with surveys available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

5. Attendance During Distance Learning Days at the Elementary Level

“Virtually Present” is a code utilized for our students enrolled in distance learning classrooms who are logged in with a live teacher for lessons for the duration of school day hours. It is also used to track attendance for all students on school wide distance learning and virtual learning days.


Students who have been quarantined will be coded as an Excused Absence. Their participation in teacher check ins and completion of assignments will be important for their learning and for grading purposes. Students will not be penalized in any way for these absences.

6. Free Meal Program for Students Continues

All students enrolled in Bristol Warren Schools will continue to receive free meals through June 2021 regardless of eligibility status. However, it is important that families continue to submit updated applications if there are any changes in income or household size. The lunch application can be found here on our website. Distance Learning Grab & Go breakfast and lunch meals are offered daily for pick up at Mt. Hope High School and Kickemuit Middle School from 9:30am-10:30am. Please see these attachments for information on additional resources


7. BWRSD FY22 Preliminary Budget Update & Upcoming Virtual Meetings

Upcoming Virtual Meetings regarding the BWRSD FY22 Budget

  • Budget & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting - February 22nd, 6:00pm; Click here for agenda and meeting link for the Budget & Facilities Meeting

  • School Committee Virtual Business Meeting - Monday, February 22nd, 7:00pm; Click here for agenda and meeting link for the Business Meeting

  • Joint Finance Committee Virtual Meeting - Thursday, March 11 at 7:00 pm

  • Joint Finance Committee Virtual Meeting - Thursday, March 25 at 7:00pm

BWRSD Back To School

Please visit our Back to School 2020-21 web page for important updates and links to our reopening plan and resources.