BTSD COVID-19 Updates

BTSD COVID-19
Corona virusAdministration and School Buildings are Closed until 4/30/20 or until further notice as per Governor Wolf.

Important Messages from the Superintendent

March 31, 2020


Dear Elementary Staff, Students, Parents/Guardians, and Community,

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you that Governor Wolf has extended his order to close all K-12 Pennsylvania schools “until further notice” amid concerns regarding the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The District’s closure will now extend at least until the statewide closure expires. Also, as the stay-at-home order continues for Bucks County, all Bristol Township School District facilities, including district buildings and athletic fields remain closed until further notice.


Continuity of education is the continuation of teaching and learning in the event of a prolonged school closure. Our District remains committed to helping each student realize success.  An Online Learning plan will become effective on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at the secondary level and then sometime thereafter at the elementary level. It will remain in effect for the duration of the period of mandated school closure. The third marking period is now closed, and we will pick up on the fourth marking period starting Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Teachers (K-12) will finalize all third marking period grades by the end of the day Wednesday, April 8th. Grades will be live in the parent portal for parents by Friday, April 17, 2020.


At this time, BTSD’s Continuity of Education plan is one of enrichment and review at the elementary level. We will be distributing packets to our elementary students which contain both Math and ELA content on Thursday, April 2, 2020, at Brookwood Elementary, Keystone Elementary, and Truman High School. The Math and ELA skills contained in these packets are based on content the students studied throughout the year, up until the school closure in March. The packets can also be accessed online at our district website and your local elementary school’s website beginning Thursday, April 2, 2020. 


At the elementary level, we will begin rolling out devices starting with our 5th grade at Brookwood, Keystone, and Mill Creek. As Chromebooks are distributed to a grade, we will move to the next. As each grade is completed, we will begin online instruction and move away from the packets.


We hope that all parents can help their children develop an at-home schedule for learning where they can have parental support if needed, as well as a learning space that is free from distraction. The District’s goal is to help our students learn, and we will not penalize students because they cannot, for any reason, make the shift into this new format for learning. We realize we are asking parents to take on new roles and engage with their children differently--and we are grateful for their dedication. We recognize that each family has a different set of circumstances and do not want to overwhelm or cause any additional anxiety or stress. 


Please note that the District will hold its Spring Break, in accordance with the approved 2019-2020 School Calendar, which calls for vacation days on Friday, April 10, and Monday, April 13. There will be no remote learning instruction or assignments for students on these dates.


We fully understand that there will be several questions that remain. We are awaiting guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on graduation and registration that should be coming soon. We are working on answering these questions as quickly as possible as we work through establishing new expectations through this challenging situation. 

 

We sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding. 


Sincerely,


Melanie Gehrens, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Township School District



March 31, 2020


Dear Secondary Staff, Students, Parents/Guardians, and Community,


I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you that Governor Wolf has extended his order to close all

K-12 Pennsylvania schools “until further notice” amid concerns regarding the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The District’s closure will now extend at least until the statewide closure expires. Also, as the stay-at-home order continues for Bucks County, all Bristol Township School

District facilities, including district buildings and athletic fields remain closed until further notice.


Continuity of education is the continuation of teaching and learning in the event of a prolonged school closure. Our District remains committed to helping each student realize success.  Our Online Learning plan will become effective on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 and will remain in effect for the duration of the period of mandated school closure. The third marking period is now closed, and we will pick up on the fourth marking starting Tuesday, April 14, 2020.


The administration decided to close out the third marking period. Administrators across the district met online many times to finalize these discussions and have set the date for the end of the third marking period for Friday, March 13, 2020. Only items assigned on or prior to Friday, March 13, 2020, will be included in the third marking period grade. If your student has any work that was missing from that time period, the student should communicate with the teacher their intent and submit the work for consideration for the third marking period. Teachers (K-12) will finalize all third marking period grades by the end of the day Wednesday, April 8th. Grades will be live in the parent portal for parents by Friday, April 17, 2020. 


We want to encourage all parents to become familiar with the learning expectations and opportunities for their children. We hope that all parents can help their children develop an at-home schedule for learning where they can have parental support if needed, as well as a learning space that is free from distraction. We realize we are asking parents to take on new roles and engage with their children differently--and we are grateful for so many strong partnerships. 


If teachers see that any student is not participating in the learning experiences, the schools will reach out to the student and family to see how we can provide support. If families are having trouble of any sort, they should reach out to their principals who are monitoring phones and email and providing support to classroom teachers.


We started with our secondary students and we continue to deploy devices to those at the secondary schools.  Every student at FDR, Armstrong, and Truman needing a device should have one by Friday, April 3.  You will receive notice regarding the time to pick up the device if you completed a request form. We will begin the fourth marking period on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, when we begin our first week of online learning. We strongly encourage your student(s) to be actively engaged. We recognize that each family has a different set of circumstances and do not want to overwhelm or cause additional anxiety or stress. We are partners in this online learning adventure, and we want to assure you that we are going to take cautious steps in this process. 


At this time, and at the request of many of our parents for clarity around activities, we need to inform you that all activities scheduled for the remainder of the school year have been canceled. Information regarding graduation will be sent at a later date. Each principal will communicate with you directly on schedules, expectations, and planned activities. 


Please note that the District will hold its Spring Break, in accordance with the approved 2019-2020 School Calendar, which calls for vacation days on Friday, April 10, and Monday, April 13. There will be no remote learning instruction or assignments for students on these dates.


We fully understand that there will be several questions that remain. We are awaiting guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on graduation and registration that should be coming soon. We are working on answering these questions as quickly as possible as we work through establishing new expectations through this challenging situation. 

 

We sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding. 


Sincerely,


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Melanie Gehrens, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Township School District




March 27, 2020


Dear Bristol Township School District Parents, Staff, and Community: 


As the school closure continues, our first step in supporting your child’s learning is to provide equity and access to devices and the Internet. In this regard, we have started to loan devices and hotspots (home access to the Internet) to students at the secondary level. We will be moving to the elementary schools alphabetically - Brookwood, Keystone, and Mill Creek. We are asking that you only ask for a device if you do not have one device per two children in your household. We have ordered additional Chromebooks and expect them within 2-3 weeks. 

 

Until we return to the classroom, students and teachers will be working virtually from home. Next week our teachers will be preparing for this transition to a virtual format. As they do this the teachers will contact their students or their students’ families. 


At the elementary schools, we will be distributing practice packets by grade level. You will be notified when to pick these up. It is OK for your child to skip any problems they do not understand and to complete only those problems they can do on their own. We encourage you to contact your child’s teacher by email if your child is having difficulty with the content. 


At the secondary schools, the subject area teachers will contact the students and will provide content practice and review materials. 

 

It is our goal to have everyone working online in the near future. At this time, we will be working in stages to complete this task. This is an unprecedented time and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this process as a community.


If you have any questions please contact your child’s teacher or principal, next week.


Please stay healthy and well.


Sincerely,





Melanie Gehrens, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Township School District





March 25, 2020


Dear Bristol Township School District Families, Staff, and Community,


As per Governor Wolf’s announcement on March 23, 2020, schools in Pennsylvania will be closed until Thursday, April 9, 2020.  Students will return to school on April 9, 2020. We will continue to keep you updated as things evolve.

Please know that we will continue with our school calendar as planned with students attending on April 9th, Spring Break begins on April 10th and concludes on April 13th with students returning on April 14. However, this closure may be extended as indicated in the Governor’s message as events warrant.

As we move through week two of the mandated closure and have heard Monday, we will be off another week with students permitted to return April 9, I want to acknowledge the many, many people who were difference-makers this past week. Perhaps you were served a free meal by one of our staff, connected with a teacher or administrator, or sent a note of kindness for those in our community who are doing good things. Or maybe you helped to clean and sanitize our buildings to make them safe for everyone. Maybe you saw a post on social media that gave you an engagement idea and social-distancing activities, or saw a video, post, or note from staff to say, "we miss you". Perhaps you've been diligent about social distancing and engaging in healthy hygiene practices. Whatever you’ve done, on behalf of all the staff in our school community, thank you.

 

As each day goes by, as more tests come back positive, as community spread is upon us, and as the situation continues to change at a rapid pace, I think it’s safe to operate on the assumption that our schools MAY possibly have another delay after this one. Please continue to follow CDC’s guidelines as we all navigate this situation on a day-to-day basis. District communications and COVID updates can be found on the district website under News.

 

Technology Deployment

In helping our community with access to technology, we have started the process of deploying Chromebooks and hotspots to those that have expressed a need. We are starting at the secondary schools and moving to the elementary next. At this time, we ask that you only request a device if you do not have one device per two children or one device per home. If you missed the first survey, there will be another next week.

 

Technology Support 

Our technology department will continue to support the needs of our students and staff during this time.  We will continue to provide support based on appointments.  Click here to schedule an appointment should any technical issues arise. 

 

Continuity of Education

At this moment, we continue to explore the possibility of a formal continuity learning plan opportunity for our students and are using the guidance we received Monday from the state to assist with our planning. We are working through our concerns around equity and access and providing our best faith effort in meeting the needs of all our students in the community. For now, the district has made Learning Resources available on our website for review and practice activities. 

 

Every Bristol Township school building has been deep cleaned and we are now ionizing each. At this time, we are using the Harry S Truman High School and Franklin D. Roosevelt cafeterias on a limited basis for food distribution, and the district office for technology exchange and essential business operations. No other access has been permitted.  

 

Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this unprecedented and rapidly evolving public health crisis. As soon as I have any updates, I will share them with you. 

 

Stay safe and well.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

Melanie Gehrens, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bristol Township School District

 





3/20/20

March 20, 2020


Dear Bristol Township Families,


While there has been no news out of Harrisburg about extending the current school closure, at Bristol Township School District we are making plans for how to best meet the academic needs of our students.  


The move to virtual learning is dependent upon receiving timely notice that the school shutdown is being extended, also to hear from PDE that they will count virtual learning days as student school days and that virtual instruction will meet the requirements of Federal Laws regarding a Free Appropriate Public Education, which is not currently the case. The district is beginning to explore the possibility of moving to virtual instruction if all conditions are met.


In this regard, we are sending out a brief survey to parents to determine Chromebook and Internet needs. 


We understand that this is a difficult time for families, and you are worried about your child missing instruction. Please know that during this two-week closure, no Bucks County school district is offering any kind of formal virtual learning due to Federal and State regulations governing Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students and permission regarding the use of Flexible Instructional Days (FID).


Be assured that we will keep you updated as information from Governor Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education are released. Please continue to check your email, the parent portal and our website for updated information. 


If you need assistance with resetting or accessing the parent portal, please send an email to icampus.portal@bristoltwpsd.org.


We wish you and your family good health. 


Sincerely,



Melanie Gehrens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


3/17/20

March 17, 2020

Dear Bristol Township School District Families,

Our first concern is the health and safety of our students, staff and community. Please stay safe and well by following the guidelines from our health department.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the district will be administering a food assistance program for all students. Detailed instructions on this program may be found on the district website at BTSD Food Service.

Please remember that the most important thing you can do with your child is to engage in important conversations about what is happening and how to process it. Please click here for resources for social emotional development and things you can do to make this time at home productive and comfortable for everyone. 

Bristol Township School District is sharing educational resources from current curricula, as   well as additional sites for parents and students to utilize during the COVID-19 school closure. 

The resources listed on our website are currently used by your child in school. At this time,  no assignments will be graded and they are not mandatory. The available resources are not meant to replace instructional time and work completed will not count as school assignments.   We will update information as necessary. Click here or look under “Parents” on the district homepage.

Free Internet is available. Comcast is providing their $9.99 internet access at home for low-income families for FREE for the next two months to help students who may be out of school. Information can be found here.  

As a reminder, all Bristol Township District campuses and buildings are closed and secured. We will continue to provide resources, information, and district communication about COVID-19 on our website.

The coming weeks will continue to challenge us as a community and as a nation. We have said it many times, but we are deeply grateful for the support of our families and the entire Bristol Township School District community. Please continue to care for one another and reach out to those who are vulnerable.

We wish you and your family good health. 

Sincerely,


Melanie Gehrens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of School


3/13/20

 

March 13, 2020 

Dear Bristol Township School District Parents/ Guardians, Staff, and Community: 

At 11:45 a.m., the Bucks County Commissioners ordered a Declaration of Disaster Emergency and the activation of the county's Emergency Management Center for support and to respond and coordinate efforts with local municipalities and other partners. 

In close coordination with the superintendents of all Bucks County public school Districts, the Executive Director of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, the Director of the Bucks County Health Department, the Director of Bucks County Emergency Management Services, and the Bucks County Commissioners, Bristol Township School District will be closing effective 10:00 PM March 13, 2020, through Sunday, March 29, 2020. This period of closure could be extended further, based on any number of rapidly changing variables. Should this occur, you will be notified by the District. 

It is possible that executive orders from either the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States federal government will further expand upon or define this period of closure. At this time, this decision has not yet been officially mandated by either state or federal government authorities. This decision has, however, been fully discussed locally with all public-school leaders and the appropriate county government officials. 

This closure no doubt raises many more questions than answers. The district will work in full cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities to compile information and resources that speak to the closure and its impact on the community. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available. 

This decision was not made quickly or without significant reflection and discussion. In fact, the county's school leaders have spent countless hours working in-district and across the county to evaluate the ever changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic. We worked to establish best practices following CDC guidelines, in partnership with the Bucks County Health Department and Emergency Management Services leaders, to limit social interactions in an effort to proactively protect against community transmission. We were hopeful that these measures would enable our district to remain open using social distancing, modifications to schedules, visitors, and other activities. 

With the Commonwealth of PA executive order yesterday that essentially shutdown neighboring Montgomery County, the impact on local school district's daily operations has been substantial. A number of our staff live in Montgomery County, resulting in obvious difficulties for them to come to work. In fact, on a call with the superintendents and county officials, the superintendents unanimously supported a countywide closure for all Bucks County public schools. 

Therefore, Bristol Township School District will cease providing all services to all children/students effective March 13, 2020, at 10:00 PM. This includes all special education and related services. All meetings, activities, athletics, and related school events are postponed and subject to reschedule or cancelation. No community use of the school facilities will be permitted during this time. No transportation will be provided. No before or after school childcare will be offered. Everything, in short, is cancelled or postponed. 

School personnel and students are prohibited from entering school facilities; however, a limited number of essential staff may be able to perform essential functions such as running payroll, cleaning facilities, maintaining communication systems, and providing security as needed. This is to be determined. 

Families and students needing to pick up items from the school will be notified as to how to do this at a later date and time. All Bristol Township School District employees and contractors will be contacted shortly via email with additional information. 

It is uncertain at this time, absent clear direction from the Commonwealth, about the status of these days and whether they will need to be made up in the future. As we learn more, I will continue to update you. 

Thank you and stay safe! 

Respectfully, 

Melanie Gehrens, Ed. D. 

Superintendent of Schools 


3/12/20

March 12, 2020

 

Dear Bristol Township School District Parents/ Guardians, Staff, and Community:

I write to you today as both the Superintendent of Schools and a grandparent of three school-age children. Obviously, the presence of COVID-19 across the globe has reached Bucks County. This has raised many questions and concerns for our students, staff, and families in Bristol Township.  In addition, recent decisions made by colleges and universities, major sporting associations, and the President of the United States have heightened concerns.

 I think it is important for our community to know that the superintendents in Bucks County have been talking daily as a countywide team with Dr. Damsker, Director of Bucks County Department of Health. I have been fortunate to be on the phone with him no less than eight times over the last week. I share this to praise our countywide team that has been fully available to school leaders as this pandemic has evolved.

We continue to actively engage in planning and discussion around the impact of Coronavirus, both in and around our community. To further protect students, staff and community stakeholders, and to encourage social distancing, the District is taking the following additional steps: (These directives will be reexamined regularly taking into consideration the most updated information and recommendations.)

INDOOR Evening and Weekend Events Canceled from March 12, 2020 through April 13, 2020 

Evening and weekend usage of Bristol Township’s indoor facilities is suspended through Spring Break, which ends on April 13, 2020. This includes usage by Home & School Associations as well as outside community groups and organizations. Some exceptions may be made for groups comprised entirely of Bristol Township students and staff.

OUTDOOR Evening and Weekend Events 

Evening and weekend usage of Bristol Township’s OUTDOOR facilities will be held as scheduled.

Before School and After School Childcare

The Before and After School Childcare Program will operate on its normal schedule.

Extended School Day Activities 

Non-athletic events in our schools (clubs, tutoring, activities) that conclude by 5:30 p.m. will be held as scheduled.

Athletics/Competitions 

We are following PIAA decisions pertaining to athletics. This plan has the potential to change, and we will continue to monitor advisements and communications from the PIAA. 

Travel and Trips 

We are consulting with local and state health officials and school leadership to review safety protocols and feasibility for field trips, conferences, and district approved travel. Information (including cancelling and rescheduling) for trips and travel will be communicated directly to affected students, families, and staff. Travel within the district, from school to school, will continue at this time. We acknowledge the impact of this measure as we take into consideration the safety, health, and well-being of students, employees, and families.

At this moment, there are no plans to cancel schools for an extended period of time. 

 As this is an extremely fluid situation, we anticipate directives may need to shift, and we will continue to communicate our efforts to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 throughout the District and county. 

Respectfully,


Melanie Gehrens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools












 

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