Highlights from the Bristol Warren reopening plan … masks for everyone

Posted 8/6/20

The Bristol Warren Regional School District released its full reopening plan, following a review and feedback from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Following are a few excerpts from the …

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Highlights from the Bristol Warren reopening plan … masks for everyone

Posted

The Bristol Warren Regional School District released its full reopening plan, following a review and feedback from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Following are a few excerpts from the 62-page plan.

All masks, all the time

The plan now makes it clear that all students are expected to wear masks or face coverings at nearly all times throughout their school day. In its original plan, the district stated that K to 5 students — and teachers — could remove their masks once they were socially distant within their “stable groups.” That has now been amended, and everyone must keep their masks on throughout the day anywhere on school grounds. Aside from medical or health reasons, the only exceptions would be when students are outside and at least six feet apart at all times.

Frequent sanitizing

Hand sanitizing and washing will be as common as bells ringing …

  • For the minority of students who ride a bus (space will be limited), everyone will sanitize their hands as they get on the bus — both morning and afternoon.
  • Everyone will sanitize their hands as they enter the building.
  • Before eating any snack or lunch, everyone will sanitize their own desk with a wipe or spray that is provided by the district. Everyone will then sanitize or wash their hands before eating. After the snack or lunch, they will re-sanitize their desk with a wipe or spray, and re-sanitize or wash their hands before returning to schoolwork.
  • Everyone who enters a cafeteria will sanitize their hands before eating.
  • Students will sanitize or wash their hands before recess, and again after recess.

New hires

To support the new procedures, the district plans numerous new hires …

  • New lunch aides will bring hot “Grab and Go” meals from the cafeteria to the various places people are eating (classrooms, gyms, libraries, etc.). These same aides may double as transportation/bus aides, to ride on buses and ensure students comply with procedures.
  • Five new custodians will help with the increased cleaning demands (estimated cost: $415,000 annually, plus an additional $160,000 for custodial overtime).
  • They also expect to hire more Teacher Assistants, Nurse Technicians and Teaching and Learning Fellows.

If things shift to distance learning …

If the district is forced to once again close the buildings and shift to a full distance-learning platform, it will …

  • Require all classes to use both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (not live) formats.
  • Mandate that all students have a minimum of two live sessions every day.
  • Strongly recommend that live sessions be broken into short segments, of 5 to 15 minutes, to maximize student engagement.

Social Emotional supports

Recognizing the anxiety and stress of the Covid-19 era, the district is working to increase its Social Emotional and mental health supports through the district. Every building will have its own “social emotional team,” led by a school psychologist and social worker. There will also be additional training for staff on recognition and intervention strategies.

Chromebooks for everyone

The district already has a Chromebook (laptop) for every student in Grades 3 to 12, plus laptops for all staff. This fall it is expanding the program to everyone in Pre-K to Grade 2 as well, at a cost of $402,000.

Money for internet connections

To assist staff who may be required to run their classrooms from home, as well as families who either can’t afford internet service or have bad connections, the district is dedicating $20,000 to upgrade internet access in those households. It also plans to add internet access on buses, for staff who will be communicating information about student health and attendance.

A healthy surplus

The district saved $2.5 million by closing the schools last spring (mostly on buses and lunches), plus it received another $485,476 in federal stimulus funding.

See the complete 62-page reopening plan here.

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