Superintendent’s Update on Reopening the Bedford Schools ~ September 11, 2020

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As has been my practice since early July, I am writing to you on a Friday, while this has become a normal occurrence, the fact that it is happening today on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on our country is not lost on any of us. Nineteen years ago we watched in horror as our nation was attacked. The impact of these attacks was felt around the world but had an additional impact on us here in the Boston area since the planes used for these attacks departed from our very own Logan International Airport. I hope that you will join me in observing a moment of silence and reflection on this somber day.

Next week we will welcome students into our schools. We are all excited to see the students and to get down to the business of supporting our students in their academic endeavors and with their social and emotional needs. This is an important step towards their future and we are excited to be a part of it.

Bus Information
I am happy to report that those families who rely on the bus will be receiving information soon about bus stops, seat assignments, and bus protocols. We will be able to provide transportation for all of our families who initially requested it and those who were on the waiting list. For more information and to reach out to us please use the BPS Transportation Page of our website.

Mask Policy
On Tuesday night the Bedford School Committee approved a face coverings policy (EBCFA). The policy states in part that:

A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, on  school  grounds  and  on  school  transportation,  even  when  social  distancing   is   observed. Guidelines for what constitutes an approved mask will be the purview of the Bedford Board of Health which is enforcing the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance. The guidance currently states that a two-ply cloth mask/face covering shall be secured with ties or ear loops. A gaiter does not meet that definition. Mask Up MA Website

If the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health changes we will alert you.

DESE Guidance
For the second week in a row, there was no new guidance from DESE. If you would like to see the most up to date information from the department it can be found on their website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/.

Traffic information
In preparation for additional vehicular traffic at each school we are working closely with the Bedford Police Department, Department of Public Works, and other town departments and committees to make sure that we are prepared for the potential of traffic at each school building before and during arrival and dismissal times. We will be sending out additional school-specific information very soon.

Technology information
Our technology department is working diligently to ensure that we are able to give each student a 1:1 device despite the world-wide demand for Chromebooks, laptops, and iPads. They are also working to develop systems to assist parents and students with technology-related challenges. The department will be sending out additional information to assist with any glitches that may arise.

Food Service Information
The Food Service Department is offering to all families a one-time option of a food bag containing five lunches at no cost. Due to early release Thursday and Friday and the need to offer food to fully remote learners, we will accommodate any Bedford family with school-age children. Please order your food bag by contacting Food Service Director Ken Whittier at Ken_Whittier@bedfordps.org. Please place your order by 2 pm on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

When placing the order please include a name, the number of school-aged children a bag is ordered for, and the name of the school for pick up. Households with multiple school-aged children please include the school you’d like to pick up at (all of the meals can be picked up at the school of your choice).

Bags will be available at the loading dock of the school you choose on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, between 1 and 2 pm. The meal bag will contain five meals and is free of charge.

Reopening Plan
Our Bedford Public Schools School Reopening plan is on our web page at Reopening Plans Information. This is the document that was a detailed expansion of the plan approved by the school committee on August 5, 2020 and again on August 31, 2020. The expanded plan is eighty pages long and contains many details. Additional details can be found at each school’s website. This includes recordings of the information webinars that each building has held. We have also added the slides (Bedford Public Schools Fall Reopening Plan 2020-2021 SC Presentation) we presented to the School Committee on August, 31, 2020 which has additional school specific information.

Massachusetts and Bedford COVID-19 Information
We continue to use Governor Baker’s enhanced community data map which tracks COVID-19 cases and gives a colored rating from clear through red. This information is also being utilized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to alert school communities about the risk in their particular city or town. That information can be found at MA.GOV Covid Dashboard as part of the COVID Dashboard information. Here in Bedford we are fortunate to receive weekly COVID-19 updates from Town Manager Sarah Stanton. The updates are on the Bedford Home News and Announcements page at Bedford Home News and Announcements.

Start of the School Year/Next Steps
We will be hosting our final professional development days on Monday, September 14, 2020 and Tuesday, September 15, 2020 as we prepare to welcome students for their first all remote school day on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

On Thursday, September 17, 2020 Cohort A will have their first day of in-person instruction, and Cohort B will have their first day of in-person instruction on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Please keep in mind that both of these days are half days. We will be using the afternoons of those days to troubleshoot and to plan for our first full days of school on Monday, September 21, 2020 (Cohort A) and Tuesday, September 22, 2020 (Cohort B).

To review a list of when classes start and end for each school, please view the BPS Class Start and End Document.

Thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools. Wishing you continued health.


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