COVID-19

 

August 20, 2021

Dear Byron Center Community and Families:

It is hard to believe that the 2021-2022 school year is upon us. What a great week of summer weather before starting school. The activity at the schools has really picked up these last few weeks, and it has been great to see staff, students, and families excited about the new school year.

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to navigate the challenges created by COVID-19.  We continue to work through the final details as we prepare for the start of the school year. Our ultimate goal is to keep each student safe and to continue to keep students in school.

As you know, the public health conditions regarding COVID-19 in Kent County have changed rapidly.  The positivity rates, new daily cases, and hospitalizations are all showing substantial increases.  We have continued our partnership with the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) as we make decisions for the upcoming year. 

The KCHD released an updated health order that impacts the planning for the start of school. It does require the masking of all staff and students in our PreK through 6th grade while indoors. The order is linked below for more details. BCPS had full intention of providing parent choice, but the district must comply with KCHD orders.

Along with this order, BCPS worked with the KCHD to determine best practices for mitigation measures for all our schools. The following are the mitigation measures we will be implementing to start our school year: 

CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS

  • BCPS will follow all MDHHS and KCHD mandated health orders. Below are the current health orders:
  • Public posting of COVID-19 case count by schools on the BC Dashboard (Updated each Tuesday and Friday)
  • Isolation of COVID-19 cases (KCHD will be contacting all individuals at this time)
  • Quarantine of outbreak and household close contacts  (KCHD will be contacting all individuals at this time) 
  • Contact tracing (BCPS will be assisting the KCHD with this process for school-related cases)
  • Notification of close contacts (BCPS will notify parents and KCHD of close contacts) 
  • KCHD will determine the length of quarantines for students 
  • Face coverings are mandated on school transportation. Specific details can be found here 
  • PreK-6th grade students and staff must consistently and properly wear a facial covering while inside any enclosed BCPS building. Please see the KCHD order here 

Daily Screener

  • A daily screener is recommended to staff, students, and volunteers.  This screener will be communicated and will also be posted on our district website

FACE COVERINGS

  • PreK-6th Grades
    •  Students and staff must consistently and properly wear a facial covering while inside any enclosed BCPS building
  • 7th-12th Grades
    • Students and staff are strongly recommended to consistently and properly wear a facial covering while inside any enclosed BCPS building

CLEANING AND SANITIZATION OF SCHOOLS

  • BCPS will continue to use cleaning and sanitization protocols as outlined by the MDHHS and KCHD
  • Readily available PPE, hand sanitizer, and daily room cleaning
  • All buildings are equipped with enhanced clean air ventilation
  • Regular handwashing available and scheduled for students
  • Touch points in schools  will be cleaned frequently
  • Buses will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis

FURTHER MITIGATION FACTORS

  • When possible, physical distancing of 3 feet will take place in common eating areas and in the classroom
  • When possible, cohorting of students will take place in the school setting
  • Buildings will utilize seating assignments in order to assist with contact tracing as needed
  • Students quarantined or staying home due to COVID-19 related symptoms may be allowed to participate synchronously or asynchronously

VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS

  • For the purpose of supporting educational initiatives, student support organizations  may be utilized during the instructional day at the discretion of the building principal
  • At this time BCPS will  pause on volunteers in the buildings (BCPS will revisit this once school has been in session and can determine a safe time for return)

CONTACT TRACING

  • Schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department within 24 hours
  • When there is a positive case or close contact within a classroom or school, parents/guardians will be notified and referred to the KCHD
  • When contact tracing, the KCHD stipulates that if  both students associated with a positive case (the positive student and the close contact) and they are wearing a face covering, it reduces the risk of your child being quarantined at school

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

  • Public health agencies strongly encourage individuals to become vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is a health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Vaccines are available for all people ages 12 and older. Please contact the KCHD or your health care provider to learn more.
  • We will not require students or staff to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment or attendance.

BUILDING SPECIFIC

  • Please contact your student’s principal  with questions about building specific items

I realize that this communication may cause frustration as we were hopeful that Covid-19 would not be as impactful this school year.  We know that many are weary and that these decisions impact us all differently. However, we are once again faced with a challenge, and we need to work together to keep everyone safe and our school and extracurricular activities going.  Thank you for your willingness to make sacrifices to ensure the safety of our students. Thank you for being BC Strong.

Sincerely,
Kevin Macina, Ph.D.
Superintendent

BCPS Nutrition Services offers free To-Go Meals for your remote learner. Meals must be pre-ordered by Friday at this link. Pick up your meals on Monday at Byron Center High School. The To-Go Meals are Free for all children under 18 and consist of 5 breakfast & 5 lunches. 

Please email nutritionservices@bcpsk12.net if you have questions regarding this process.

 

Kent County Health Department Tool Kit