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Welcome Back!

August 25, 2021

 

Dear BCSD Community,

I hope this letter finds all of our BCSD families well and that you have found many opportunities to recharge this summer through experiences of joy with family and friends. It is hard to believe that we are already preparing for a full return to school next week. Our leaders, teachers, staff members and I cannot wait to greet all students, K-12, fully in-person next Wednesday, September 1. 

While I know we hoped this year’s letter would begin with Covid in our rearview mirrors, that is, unfortunately, not yet the case. We are making decisions for our reopening that support all of the necessary precautions and protections so that we can mitigate the spread and risk of the Delta variant. I am confident that with thoughtful attention to appropriate health and safety protocols we will be well positioned to create the most inspiring and challenging school opening for our students. As the year proceeds, we will continue to reexamine our protocols.

Last week, at our Board of Education meeting, I shared our plans for the reopening of our schools. Our principals have been sharing the same information with each of our school communities. Here is the link to the presentation I gave to the Board of Education and our community last week. In this presentation you will find important information including the following:

  • All programs will be offered fully in-person, including during the school day and after school.
  • We will require masks of all students and staff while indoors. We will work with families, as we did last year, to accommodate any identified medical needs of individual students. 
  • We will no longer be requiring a screener and attestation for students or staff. Instead, a weekly Sunday night message will be sent to our community with pertinent and timely information and with health and safety reminders.
  • To the best of our ability, we will create student learning spaces 3 feet apart to maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • We will continue to teach and promote appropriate hygiene, including hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • We will continue to message the importance of staying home when sick and connecting with one’s medical providers whenever anyone experiences Covid-like symptoms.
  • We will continue contact tracing with the Westchester County Department of Health.
  • We will participate in a program of testing students and staff (consent required) with the Westchester County Department of Health.
  • We will continue to disinfect high-touch surfaces and maintain the systems of routine cleaning and disinfection of all of our facilities.

The most important message is that we are fully opening all of our schools next week. This includes before and after school programs, athletics, performing arts and all of the experiences that we know make for an incredible school year. I am confident that if we adhere to the above guidelines as we fully open our schools, we will have very few quarantines. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more information about visitors to our classrooms, plans for Back to School Night programs, field trips and the many ways we welcome our parent community to celebrate our schools with us as partners.

All school leaders and communities are awaiting direction from our state’s new governor,  Governor Hochul. We anticipate very specific language on both masks and vaccinations in addition to other information related to the operation of schools. We will continue to advocate for all who can to get vaccinated which, along with masks indoors at this opening juncture, will provide the best defense against the spread of the virus and will significantly reduce the need to quarantine.

For those who would like to learn more about our opening plans, here are links to two Community Town Halls we have scheduled for this Thursday, August 26:

 9:30 AM Community Town Hall

7:00 PM Community Town Hall 

We will also hold a Town Hall for BCSD staff at 3:00 PM, August 26. Details for how to access this Town Hall will be sent to BCSD staff.

While we all hoped that we would be in a very different place at this time, I want to remind us all that we are in a very different place than we were this time last year. By standing together as one community there were so many points of pride in our district last year, even as we combatted a pandemic. I choose to be an eternal optimist. I cannot wait to welcome our nearly 4,000 BCSD students back to school on September 1. I know that, in partnership with all of you, we can model for others all that we can accomplish as one community that shares the same hopes, aspirations and dreams for all of our students. This year has the potential to be our best one yet!

 

BCSD Strong! BCSD Stronger Together!

 

Best,

Dr. Joel Adelberg

Superintendent of Schools