BWRSD Community Update 11/16/20

Message from Jonathan Brice, Superintendent of Schools

Thank you to our students, families, and community for your support during these challenging times. Your adherence to guidance, completion of daily attestations, and flexibility as we work to keep all students and staff safe while learning still occurs is greatly appreciated.


Throughout the summer, COVID-19 reopening guidance from the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) and the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) has continually evolved. Last week we received new guidance that recommends that mask breaks be eliminated. We are still reviewing this new guidance, will speak with our district health professionals, and make a determination by this week if we will incorporate this new guidance into our daily plans.


As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to increase, it is critical that all students have a completed attestation form each day. Please make sure that the form is completed daily. Our school staff continues to check this information and we remain committed to working with our families on this important matter.


As you know, over the last several weeks, we have had to quickly shift several of our schools to distance learning for a few days. We have made these decisions based on information received from the RIDOH about confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 and the need to complete contact tracing. We have used a graduated approach, from the quarantining of individual students, entire classes, and sport teams, to entire schools engaging in distance learning as we await the results of contact tracing. We appreciate your flexibility during this time, and we will try to alert you as quickly as possible if schools will transition to distance learning, or if there will be a change to your child’s schedule.


Based on our experiences so far, the majority of student or staff confirmed cases of COVID-19 did not originate in school, however, the RIDOH guidance requires the quarantine or isolation of close contacts, hence the need to have a number of students or staff stay out of school for several weeks at a time and the likelihood of distance learning. We are asking you to prepare for the following, in case your child needs to learn from home for several days:


  1. Have a plan in place if your child needs to learn from home.

  2. Ensure that your child brings home their device and school materials each day.

  3. Take the opportunity to make sure that you have internet access.


All of these steps are preparatory in nature. Our experience over the last two weeks indicates that the need for students or staff to quarantine and for contact tracing to be completed can occur at any time. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in having to move to distance learning out of an abundance of caution. As we said at the start of all of this, the safety and well being of students and staff is our number one priority.


Sincerely,


Jonathan Brice, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Warren Regional School District

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Contents of this Update:


  1. Student Transitions for 2nd Quarter/2nd Trimester

  2. RI Broadcaster Association Text Alert Messaging

  3. A Message from the District’s Psychologists and Social Workers

  4. Recognizing our Extraordinary Educators

  5. Take It Outside! BWRSD $55,000 Grant Award

  6. BWRSD Parents As Teachers Program Awarded Blue Ribbon Designation

1. Student Transitions for 2nd Quarter/2nd Trimester

Thank you to all the parents that completed the survey about student transition for the 2nd quarter/2nd trimester. Students and families that made a change in status at KMS and MHHS have been contacted by school administration and will begin their new mode of learning on November 16. We are still finalizing details for elementary students and will provide information this week.

2. RI Broadcasters Association Text Alert Messaging

In the event that schools will be closed for distance learning we will send out notifications through email and post it on the R.I. Broadcasters Association Website which lists school closures on local TV networks. Parents, teachers, staff and students can pre-register for TEXT ALERT MESSAGING from this site at the following link: http://my.textcaster.com/ServePopup.aspx?id=1638.

3. A Message from the District's Psychologists and Social Workers

As the nation and Rhode Island see an uptick in positive cases of COVID-19, we understand that the strain on families and children sometimes becomes a little difficult to cope with. Understanding these challenges, the Social Workers and Psychologists of the Bristol Warren School District would like to remind community members that they are available to provide resources and support. Whether it involves the day-to-day challenges of virtual learning or information in regards to community resources, please do not hesitate to reach out.


4. Recognizing our Extraordinary Educators

During these challenging times it is more important than ever to recognize the extraordinary work of our educators. This high school parent brings to light the dedication of our staff:


I've just attended the MHHS Virtual Back to School Night and I wanted to share with you how impressed I am with all of my son's teachers. I already knew, in a general way, that teachers are working extra hard this year, but hearing and seeing my son's teachers present tonight really made me understand their dedication. I am grateful to see how they've embraced technology, like document cameras and Padlet and Smartmusic, to help make distance learning a meaningful experience for students. I'm grateful that the teachers took time to walk us parents through their Google Classrooms! Such a simple thing, but it helps us figure out how we can help our students here at home. Most of all, I want to share with you that, in every class presentation tonight, the teacher's heart was unmistakable. They are clearly doing their best for their students, our kids, and it was moving to see and hear. I know they don't always hear words of support and encouragement from the community so please share my gratitude with your teachers and staff, if you like. And thank you for arranging this Virtual Back to School Night!

5. Take It Outside! BWRSD $55,000 Grant Award

The Bristol Warren Regional School District is pleased to announce they have been awarded a $55,000 Take It Outside grant from the RI Commerce Corporation to optimize outdoor learning spaces at each of our schools. Many thanks to Carly Reich, School Committee member and Co-Chair of our Health and Wellness Committee, as well as Shannon Rozea, Director and Landscape Architect of Thrive Outside for their vision and assistance with the grant. Schools will receive new picnic tables, adirondack chairs, benches, and wi-fi access. The middle school will also receive a log sitting area designed and built by community members.


The $55,000 will augment BWRSD’s planning around outdoor learning and work towards the long term goal of creating permanent and semi-permanent outdoor learning spaces at each school that can be used after the pandemic is over. This vision is based on the numerous benefits of outdoor learning: outdoor learning enhances critical thinking and group problem solving abilities, develops a sense of place and civic pride, increases student engagement and attendance, and supports students’ physical and social emotional development. More importantly, it's fun and provides a welcome change from the pace of learning indoors. We look forward to using these spaces as long as the weather permits and the opportunity for schools to take it outside!

6. BWRSD Parents As Teachers Program Awarded Blue Ribbon Designation

The Bristol Warren Parents As Teachers (PAT) program, which has provided support for families with children from prenatal through Kindergarten entry within the school district for 27 years, was recognized this month as an exemplary affiliate delivering the highest quality services to children and families. The PAT program is an internationally recognized program which offers a variety of services to support parents as their child’s first teacher and promote school readiness. At this time, most services are being delivered virtually which helps make it convenient and safe for parents to participate. We are currently expanding our program and accepting new families. For more information, please contact Emily Spence at emily.spence@bwrsd.org.

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.