Back to Better Reopening Guide
As we prepare to begin classes for the 2020-2021 school year, many aspects of daily life during our nation’s ongoing coronavirus pandemic are still uncertain. But this uncertainty does not mean that our children’s education comes to a complete stop while we wait for the situation to pass. Instead, it means that we must all work together to improve how we teach, learn, compete, and collaborate, both in person and online, all while following mandated health and safety practices.
This renewed focus on continual improvement — especially now that we have all learned from our experiences during the coronavirus-impacted end of the previous school year — is why we say we’re not just getting “back to normal” this year. Instead, we’re getting back to better.
With that goal in mind, our District has prepared this back-to-school guide to help you and your family understand and follow the new policies and procedures that have been designed to keep our students and staff safe throughout the upcoming school year. This plan was developed with input from parents, teachers, students, administrators, school board members, and public health experts. It was voted on and approved by our school board on August 19, 2020, and will officially be in effect immediately thereafter.
This plan’s number one priority is to ensure the continued safety of all students, teachers, and staff as we pursue another year of academic excellence. However, due to the possibility of operational uncertainties during the ongoing pandemic, this plan may be changed or adapted throughout the school year as circumstances evolve. Please make sure to keep up-to-date on all official District communications by visiting https://www.bwschools.net, following our emails, and checking for Skylert updates.
I know we are all very aware that this has the potential to be a very unusual school year, and that even the best-designed plans may be forced to change due to circumstances that are unfortunately beyond our control. However, I have tremendous faith in the adaptability, creativity, and resilience of our parents, students, and staff. No matter what new developments occur during this school year, I know that we will face them, adapt to them, and overcome them together.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe, and for striving to do your very best each day.
- Attestation Form
- What Students, Families, and Staff Can Expect
- Back to Better Overview
- Orientation Schedule
- Our Hybrid Learning Model
- Our Remote Learning Model
- Intervention, Extension, and Enrichment Opportunities
- Adapting Our Learning Plan if Situations Change
- Digital Learning with the New Canvas Learning Management System
- Sports and Extracurricular Activities
- Symptom and Exposure Screening
- Face Coverings
- School Environment: Improving Safety in Our Daily Routines
- What Happens if a Coronavirus Case Occurs?
- Food Services
- Social and Emotional Health
- Safety Pledge
- Keep Up-to-Date with District Communication
- District Contact Information
- Our Planning Committees
The Baldwin-Whitehall School District planning committees have developed a new Strategic & Operations Plan to meet the needs of all students and staff for the 2020-2021 school year.
This plan is designed to be: safe for students and staff sustainable over time flexible and responsive to changing conditions inclusive of ALL
aligned with our mission: the promotion of excellence through a system of traditional values, a quality educational program, and a world of opportunities
The biggest changes to this year’s plan involve creating adaptable strategies for teaching students through a hybrid model that combines both online and in-person education. With feedback from parents at every grade level throughout our District, our teachers and administrators designed an educational plan that allows for maximum flexibility of instructional delivery and improved digital learning experiences for students, teachers, and parents alike. This flexibility will also best suit the schedules and concerns of parents or students who may face challenges due to transportation complications, online accessibility, health concerns, or other issues.
The other major difference you’ll see this year are the new health and safety precautions that our District is taking at every phase of the school day. From staggered pickup and dismissal times to in-class policies on social distancing, cleaning procedures, and personal protective equipment, this school year may look and feel very different compared to previous years, but please know that every change has been made for the express purpose of preserving the health of our entire Baldwin-Whitehall community.
In order to help all students and teachers get familiar with our new hybrid learning environment for 2020-2021, the first few days of this school year will be spent in a special orientation period.
Regardless of which instructional model a parent has chosen for their children, September 8, 9, 10, and 11 will be conducted as full remote days for all students. This time will be used by teachers and the school in various ways with children and families. These days will be filled with orientation programs, transition activities, tutorials on how to use the new Canvas online learning system, reviewing new health and hygiene practices, and distribution of materials and devices.
Principals will be providing parents with specific back to school schedules for September 3-11 in the coming days.
Please note: while much of this time is planned for remote activities, coming to the building during this period may also be necessary for certain actions, such as equipment pickup.
The first day of in-person instruction for students who will be participating in the hybrid learning model will be Monday, September 14th, with Group 1 students coming to school.
It is our belief that by adding this acclimation period for all learners and faculty to work out the procedures and expectations in this new environment, we can set ourselves up for greater success for all students and reduce any chance of setbacks.
Based on parent feedback across all student age groups, the vast majority of BWSD parents have chosen a Hybrid Learning Model for their children. In this model, students will spend two days each week in our physical school facilities and three days each week learning remotely.
Students following our Hybrid Learning Model will be assigned to one of two groups — Group 1 or Group 2. Children in the same family will be scheduled together.
Students with last names beginning with A through L will be in Group 1. Group 1 will report to school buildings on Monday and Tuesday following their normal schedule, and will engage in remote classroom learning for the remainder of the week.
Students with last names beginning with M through Z will be in Group 2. Group 2 will report to school buildings Thursday and Friday following their normal schedule, and will engage in remote classroom learning for the remainder of the week.
During remote learning days, students will be able to follow their normal schedule and access their lessons live but remotely throughout the day, or via recorded lessons which they can access at a later time.
Digital instruction will be based within the Canvas Learning Management System.
Students will be assigned a Chromebook for use at school and home. (Note: Chromebooks have been ordered and we are awaiting delivery.)
Internet access will be necessary to participate during the remote portion of the week.
Accommodations and exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All requests for adjustments should be made through the school office.
We recognize that some families may choose to not have their children physically participate in school within our facilities until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed or until pandemic conditions otherwise improve. We also recognize that we must have an adaptable learning option in place that can accommodate any interruptions to our Hybrid Learning Model due to virus exposure by staff and/or students, or to individual disruptions to a student’s or family’s schedule. Our Remote Learning Model has been designed to meet these distance learning needs.
How It Works
- Students will be assigned a Chromebook for use at home. (Note: Chromebooks have been ordered and we are awaiting delivery.)
- Internet access will be necessary to participate in the remote learning option.
- Students will be assigned to a BWSD homeroom/class with a District faculty member and their peers, just as if they were physically in the school building.
- Students will maintain their learning relationship with a BWSD teacher, and have access to BWSD curriculum and instruction.
- Faculty will continue to deliver their lessons via the Canvas Learning Management System utilizing live and recorded instruction as well as planned activities.
- Children can access those lessons live during the day by following a normal school schedule, or via recorded materials at a later time.
- Materials needed for completion of lessons, projects, etc. will be available just as if children were physically in school.
- Seniors participating in remote learning will earn a Baldwin High School Diploma.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the parents of incoming Kindergarten students must also choose between our Hybrid or Remote Leaning Models. For parents that select the Hybrid Learning Model, children will attend school in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but only for one half (1/2) of the school day.
- All students will be assigned either to the morning or afternoon session.
- Parents selecting the Hybrid Learning Model option will have their children attend school in person.
- Parents selecting the Remote Learning Model option will have their children participate in the learning activities remotely, either synchronously or using recorded instruction and activities.
- Transportation is available to and from school for students in the Hybrid Learning Model.
- When in school, all conditions of the Hybrid Learning Model apply.
- For the Remote Learning Model, students will be able to access the program digitally.
- Kindergarten students will be provided with a Chromebook to use at home, and in school at times when necessary.
- Students will have access to the food service program.
- Children designated for intervention services may participate in services in school during Highlander Days on Wednesday mornings. Otherwise, Wednesday instruction shall be accessed remotely.
Both learning models have been designed to include in-person intervention, extension, and enrichment opportunities for students to work with faculty on specific activities related to their individual learning needs. This will occur on our Highlander Days, which take place on Wednesday morning of each week.
During this time, all faculty will provide in-person opportunities to children designated for these services via an individualized invitation to participate. Highlander Days will occur in-person every Wednesday in your student’s assigned school building, unless otherwise noted in the district calendar. Transportation will be provided by the district, if needed. Each day will include two one-hour intervention/enrichment blocks that will run for the first two hours of the student’s designated school day. Any student not participating in Highlander Day instruction will be required to participate in at-home assignments as provided by their teachers.
Highlander Days will run from 8:30 am - 10:30 am for grades 7-12 and from 9:30 am - 11:30 am for grades K-6.
Nine Week Session
For the first nine weeks of the school year, from September 16th – November 4th, invited students will have the opportunity to attend weekly Highlander Days. Based on data collected during the first nine weeks, a student may continue to qualify for future nine week Highlander Sessions. Parents/guardians will be notified via invitation with regard to their students’ participation in the second session, which will continue for the second nine weeks.
IEP Integration Plan
For students with a current individualized education plan (IEP), Highlander Days will consist of individual and small group instruction focusing on recoupment and retention of skills related to their individualized
IEP goals. This instruction may include direct service time with a special education teacher, related service provider, or regular education teacher depending on the skills being addressed. Each student’s schedule on Wednesday mornings will be individualized based upon these factors.
Additionally, depending on each child’s learning needs as determined by a student’s IEP, some children may be provided the opportunity to attend the Hybrid Learning Model in person all four (4) days each week.Communication and opportunities to connect with teachers on a routine basis is very important when implementing a program that includes remote learning. To assist in meeting that goal, Wednesdays have been designated as time for students to check in virtually with their teachers via a teleconference, receive additional support on assignments, or use for completion of various tasks related to their academic program.
Additional Support and Communication
Communication and opportunities to connect with teachers on a routine basis is very important when implementing a program that includes remote learning. To assist in meeting that goal, Wednesdays have been designated as time for students to check in virtually with their teachers via a teleconference, receive additional support on assignments, or use for completion of various tasks related to their academic program.
Since all students will be accessing their lessons and materials remotely for at least part of the time, tracking student attendance both in-person and remotely is very important.
In addition to live attendance during class, teachers will also be tracking to make sure that students have remotely accessed their materials and assignments within a reasonably expected timeframe, as well as tracking completion of assignments. This data will be crucial to help teachers ensure that their students are actively engaged with their lessons and up-to-date on their assignments.
Daily Check-In for Students: Students will be expected to check-in daily given the window of 8:00 a.m.
to 11:00 p.m. Attendance will be recorded the following day by a student’s assigned teacher and reported
by the Attendance Secretary in each building.
- Elementary (Grades K-5) - Homeroom teacher
- HEC (Grade 6) - Period One teacher
- BHS (Grades 7-8) - Period Two teacher
- BHS (Grades 9-12) - Period Two teacher
Hybrid Attendance: For students selecting the Hybrid Learning Model, attendance should be taken every period during the days they attend in-person. Daily check-in during in-person hybrid should be recorded by the teachers listed above.
Remote Attendance: Daily check-in should be completed within the 8:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m time frame and recorded following the above mentioned directions.
Teacher Management of Attendance and Class Participation:
- Teachers will record their participation/attendance in each class for every student (remote and hybrid) by the end of the school day on Monday of the following week.
- Teachers should plan daily/weekly assignments to track participation/attendance for the previous week and keep a record of attendance for each class.
- Teachers will track students’ access of materials and completion of assignments using the process of recording daily attendance for each student in each of their classes to be reported the following Monday. This is separate from the daily check-in.
Although we are beginning the 2020-2021 school year with parents choosing between a Hybrid or Remote Learning Model for their children, certain conditions may cause BWSD to shift to either a fully remote or fully in-person learning model for all students. The guidance for this shift is based on the coronavirus incidence rate and the percent of positive coronavirus tests in Allegheny County.
The fewer cases we have, the faster we can once again return to a fully in-person learning experience, so it is imperative that everyone in our community does all they can to reduce the rate of transmission.
Transitioning Between Instructional Models
A county’s corresponding threshold may change week-by-week as incidence and percent positivity rates rise and fall. In order to confirm stability of county transmission, when a county’s corresponding threshold changes, school entities should wait to see the results from the next 7-day reporting period before considering a change to their instructional models. To ensure the most effective transition for students, it may be appropriate for a school to wait even longer, up to a full marking period, to transition to an instructional model that increases in-person instruction. It is important to note that a significant and/or widespread outbreak may require moving to a more remote-based model more quickly. The Department of Health will provide proactive consultative assistance to school entities should such an outbreak occur.
Based on feedback from students, teachers, and parents during our initial transition to remote learning as the 2019-2020 school year concluded, we determined that our District required a more robust online learning platform for the 2020-2021 school year. After researching available options and collaborating with several adjacent South Hills school districts, we have relocated all of our digital learning resources to the Canvas platform.
To make the shift to Canvas seamless and successful, BWSD teachers and technology departments spent their summer completing the “Growing with Canvas” course and other administrative onboarding guides, attending Canvas training sessions and related personal development activities, collaborating on course content and design, and troubleshooting any technical questions through information-sharing forums and support resources.
Our teachers can’t wait to show you what Canvas can do during the back-to-school orientation from September 3–11!
What Is Canvas?
Canvas is an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that hosts all necessary digital learning resources and tools in one place, and it supports real-time instruction through Zoom and other video conference programs. Canvas provides a reliable integrated system for teachers to connect with students, deliver instruction, assign independent learning activities, conduct assessments, and easily communicate with students and families. For consistency across all grades and learning methods, Canvas will be used in both the Hybrid and Remote Learning Models. This means Canvas fully replaces Google Classroom.
Students keep track of their assignments by using their Canvas dashboard, which includes a calendar, to-do list, notifications for new assignments and school announcements, plus their gradebook, opportunities for teacher feedback, and a robust help center.
Canvas also offers an app for parents on iOS or Android devices, where parents or guardians can see their children’s courses, basic assignment details, and due dates to help support their children’s learning. Parents can also receive alerts for course announcements, reminders for specific assignments, and even see assignment grades in the parent app. (For clarity: a Canvas parent account does not allow parents or guardians to submit assignments, participate in a course, or take assessments on their child’s behalf.)
Instructions on how to access and set up the Canvas parent app will be shared with families during the orientation period at the beginning of the school year, when students and parents will be introduced to Canvas and see how their teachers will use this tool to support active and engaged learning across all delivery formats.
After a successful first year of implementation during the 2017-2018 school year, we expanded our 1:1 program during the 2018-2019 school year to reach every student in grades 6-12 by providing each student with his or her own Chromebook. Starting with the 2020-2021 school year, all students in grades K-12 will have a Chromebook.
The devices will be used to help students personalize their learning and gain appropriate media skills. Students will interact with this technology actively in practicing skills, creating content and products, and communicating with teachers and parents using specific apps and not passively using their devices to watch programs.
Details regarding distribution of devices will be forthcoming from the individual schools. More information about the District's 1:1 program can be found here.
For children participating in the Hybrid Learning Model option, District transportation will still be provided as requested. Parents will be required to select whether they wish to provide their own transportation for their child or utilize District bussing.
While on the school bus, children will be assigned to sit a maximum of two (2) students per seat, loading the bus from the back to the front. Windows will remain open, weather permitting. Masks will be required at all times while a student is on a school bus, unless a documented medical condition exists. Failure to follow procedures will result in loss of transportation privileges. Specialized transportation as designated in a student’s individualized education plan (IEP) will be provided as determined.
Daily School Schedule and Transportation Windows
Due to the many logistical complications of student pick-up and drop-off in a social distancing world, as well as the need for additional time to shift between in-person and remote learning, we have examined our daily schedule and modified it as follows.
In particular, the procedures used to get children to and from our schools are being revised, especially since buses will need additional time between runs and routes to be cleaned and sanitized. Expanded arrival and dismissal procedures will therefore need to be instituted to avoid creating settings where large groups of students are congregating or overlapping.
For these reasons, BWSD schools will follow this 2020-2021 daily schedule:
Procedures will be established at each school and communicated to parents related to parent pick-up and drop off.
On August 21, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) Board of Directors voted to permit fall sports to begin on Monday, August 24. Since the health and safety of students is paramount to the PIAA, the Board has agreed that the decision to compete in athletics should be made locally, allowing for each school entity to decide whether to proceed and which sports to sponsor.
The PIAA Board also voted that, based on local decisions, the PIAA will monitor school participation in fall sports and may pursue alternate solutions, if needed.
Virtual activities and events will be offered in lieu of field trips. There will be no outside field trips or student travel as related to school activities.
All assemblies, PTA/PTO parties and events will each be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as the school year progresses. Our goal is
to minimize potential community spread of disease by minimizing large gatherings.
7th & 8th Grade Athletics
On August 19, 2020 the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board of Directors voted to approve a revision of the athletic program for Grades 7 and 8 for Fall 2020, which includes Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Soccer, and Girls’ Volleyball, to consist of intra-district opportunities in lieu of cross-district competitive events.
Guidance and Mandates
The Baldwin-Whitehall School District continues to follow the Resocialization of Athletics/Activities Plan (Approved 06/24/2020) based on the continued developments of the PIAA and The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL).
WPIAL and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) have also issued a statement on meeting county guidelines for outdoor gatherings: “The ACHD limit on outdoor gatherings of 50 remains in place and applies to youth and K-12 sports-related activities. The purpose of the measure is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. That is particularly true for groups of youth who can be asymptomatic while having the virus, not realizing that they are spreading it.”
Highlights of the Resocialization of Athletics/Activities Plan
- Spectators are prohibited from attending in-person K-12 sports-related activities.
- Personal health assessments are expected of each participant on the day of any game.
- Physical distancing of 6’ is required at all times when not actively engaged in competition.
- Coaches and staff should be masked at all times unless they meet one of the exceptions in the state’s universal face coverings order.
- Participants may not share uniforms, towels, apparel or equipment, and are expected to bring their own water bottle or rehydration beverages.
- Take a team approach to pre-screening and social distancing.
- Consistently apply requirements across ALL athletic and activities programs.
- Plan must be responsibly adhered to by ALL participants.
Continued Monitoring Areas of the Resocialization of Athletics/Activities Plan
- Mask-Wearing Procedures
- Social Distancing Reminders (Students/Student-Athletes)
- Outlined Procedures for In-District vs. Outlined Procedures for Out-Of-District
You can see the full details of the PIAA Return to Competition Plan online here: http://www.piaa.org/assets/web/documents/Return_to_Competition.pdf.
Additional WPIAL Recommendations on Gatherings
The Health Department, in consultation with the WPIAL, recommends that these further guidelines aimed at limiting groups that would be in close contact with one another for an extended period of time be incorporated by participating schools into their plans. When met, these plans can provide a safe environment for interscholastic athletic events to occur in Allegheny County while simultaneously complying with the Health Department’s gathering restrictions.
- Events must be hosted at a facility where regulation can occur.
- An administrator and/or designee must be present to monitor gatherings and ensure compliance.
- Teams and/or pods must not exceed the gathering size of 50 people in a close proximity to each other (such as an individual sideline, on the competition area during a contest, or in a section of the bleachers).
- While on the sidelines and not engaged in competition, coaches, athletes and staff should have a face covering and keep 6’ of distance between each other.
- Athletes and coaches should comply with their school’s Health and Safety Plans with regard to health screenings prior to practice and competition.
- Events should be limited to the time necessary for appropriate warm-up and competition. Schools should avoid arriving at a facility well in advance of the starting time and should leave as soon as possible after the completion of the competition. There shall be no congregating in groups after the event.
- The total facility capacity may not exceed the state mandate of 250 individuals.
Any additional updates to individual school sport schedules will be made on our website, and will be communicated to the student-athletes and their parents/guardians directly as needed.
Symptom and Exposure Screening
Parents or guardians are expected to conduct a daily health check with their children at home prior to the students leaving the house for school. All District staff will also conduct a self-screening prior to leaving for work. This is the first step in ensuring that no individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are present at a school facility.
Medically fragile and high-risk students will have a symptom screening completed at school as needed in addition to home screening, unless opted out by parent/guardian.
At this time, the PA Dept of Health is NOT recommending mass temperature checks in schools. If that guidance changes, we will update our health screening procedures accordingly.
The following symptom screener will be used for pre-screening by parents/guardians as well as in-school assessment by the health office staff. If 1 or more symptoms from Group A or 2 or more symptoms from Group B are found, students/staff should stay home or be sent home from school.
Students and staff should also stay home if they are actively taking medication to reduce a fever or other coronavirus symptoms.
What Is “Exposure”?
An individual is considered to have been exposed to a person with a confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 case if there was close contact (within 6 feet) for longer than 15 minutes, regardless of the use of PPE, within 2 days of a positive test collection or symptom onset.
CDC Self-Check Questions
Before staff or students leave for school, they should answer these questions:
Is the student / are you exhibiting one (1) or more of the Group A Symptoms?
If the answer is yes, stay home and contact the school nurse.
Is the student / are you exhibiting two (2) or more of the Group B Symptoms?
If the answer is yes, stay home and contact the school nurse.
Is the student / are you taking a fever-reducing medication?
If the answer is yes, stay home and contact the school nurse.
Has the student / have you tested positive for COVID-19, or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms, or been exposed to someone with a confirmed or probable case of COID-19?
If the answer is yes, stay home and contact the school nurse.
On August 17, the District was informed of a significant change in the mandatory face covering order in effect from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Effective immediately, all students shall be required to wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six (6) feet of social distancing can be achieved. Exceptions to this order of when students are permitted to remove face coverings are limited to the following:
- Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart; or
- When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task; or
- At least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.
The full PDE Face Covering FAQ can be accessed by clicking on the following link: https://www.education.pa.gov/Schools/safeschools/emergencyplanning/COVID-19/Waivers/MaskWearing/Pages/default.aspx
What Types of Face Coverings Are Acceptable?
Students will be required to provide their own mask which covers their nose and mouth. Acceptable examples include: cloth face coverings, cloth masks, surgical masks, and plastic face shields. We recommend keeping an extra mask at school. A mask will be provided if a student forgets or loses one.
Currently, CDC recommends cloth masks that:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Are secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Can be laundered / machine dried without damage or change to shape
- Neck Gaiter masks are NOT acceptable at BWSD
- No sharing or trading of masks will be permitted
Wearing a mask is part of the District’s Health and Safety Plan and aligns with District Policy #218. Students who fail to wear masks will be in violation of Policy #218. Persistent or willful violation of Policy #218 may result in a student’s removal from the Hybrid Learning program and automatic enrollment into the Remote Learning program.
Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired in situations where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication are not required to wear a mask during such interactions; however, those individuals should consider using another type of face covering such as a plastic face shield.
Students who are medically fragile and require additional PPE at school will have updated IEP/504/IHPs to identify needed supplies and where they will be stored at school.
No Unapproved Exemptions
Students would be unable to remove a mask without assistance, or who cannot wear a mask or face shield due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition, or disability, may be exempt from wearing face coverings. However, all exemptions to wearing a mask must be approved by the Director of Pupil Services which must include a recent exemption certified by a medical professional.
Click here to read the full face covering order on the Department of Education’s website.
Proper Hand-Washing Hygiene
Regular hand-washing will be encouraged throughout the school day. Students will wash or sanitize their hands before lunch, after returning
from recess, after using restrooms, and any time they interact with high-touch areas or items.
Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom.
Signs will be displayed throughout the buildings to demonstrate proper
Cleaning and Air Quality
Cleaning supplies will be provided for students and/or teachers to regularly clean desks throughout the day as needed.
Commonly touched surfaces and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
All building areas will be cleaned and disinfected as per CDC and/or state health guidelines.
Windows and doors will be open when possible to improve air circulation.
Staff and students will be encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces for instruction and meals when possible.
Cleaning Product Effectiveness
BWSD will use products that are on the N-list and certified by the EPA and OSHA, and which:
- Demonstrate efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19);
- Demonstrate efficacy against a virus that is harder to kill than
- SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19); or
- Demonstrate efficacy against another type of human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
Six feet of separation among students and staff will be maintained throughout the day to the maximum extent feasible. Class sizes will be balanced as much as possible. Classes that are unable to maintain six feet of separation will be assigned an alternate space to the extent possible. Portable partitions will be utilized as needed for small group instructions.
All students will have their own materials. Sharing of materials will not be permitted.
All classrooms will be supplied with bottles of sanitizer and disinfectant. Student desks will be disinfected during class changes, or more frequently as needed.
After student dismissal each day, all classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This includes all student and staff seating, high touch points, floors, and the removal of trash.
Hallways and Shared Spaces
Protocols will be implemented to reduce opportunities for physical contact and crowds.
Hallways will be designated as one-way directions when possible.
In two-way traffic areas, students will walk in single-file lines.
Stairwells may be designated for only upward or downward traffic, or may be designated only for use by specific Grade Level(s).
Water fountains will be turned off. Water bottle filling stations will be installed at various spaces throughout each building. Students will be able to bring their own refillable water bottles to school.
Personal locker use will be permitted on a limited basis to avoid hallway congestion.
All high-touch points and areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
In HEC, MES, and WES, a building-wide bathroom break schedule will be implemented in order to minimize cross-grade or group overlap.
BHS restrooms will be disinfected after each class change. HEC, MES, and WES restrooms will be disinfected as they are used by each individual classroom or group.
All faculty restrooms will be disinfected hourly.
After student dismissal, all restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected.
On Wednesdays, all restrooms will be deep-cleaned.
Transportation personnel will be trained on the proper application of the sanitizer and disinfectant to be used on the transportation vehicles, and on the correct use and care of the equipment used in the disinfection of transportation vehicles.
All Transportation vehicles will have hand sanitizer dispensers installed and will
be equipped with spray bottles of sanitizer and disinfectant for high touch surfaces.
All Transportation vehicle high touch points will be sanitized between runs/routes.
All Transportation vehicles will be Disinfected at the completion of daily run/route.
Recess and Physical Education
Elementary students will be permitted to have recess outdoors.
Physical education classes will be held with precautions in place. Sports or games with physical contact will not be permitted, but students will be permitted to play catch, shoot baskets, and other non-contact activities.
Additionally, teachers will be encouraged to hold classes outdoors when feasible.
Use of locker rooms will not be permitted.
The District considers anyone who is not a student or employee to be a visitor. This includes parents/guardians, vendors, contractors, and other professionals.
There will be no visitors permitted in school buildings unless it is for a purpose that cannot be accomplished via Zoom or another digital tool.
Visitors will be limited to building access for essential reasons only.
Essential visitors will be permitted only on a limited basis by appointment.
Parents/guardians can drop-off materials at the school in the secure entrance area.
In the event of a student’s early dismissal or excused leave, students will be brought to the security vestibule for parent/guardian pick-up.
Meetings will be conducted using telephone and video conferencing when possible. Meetings that cannot
be held virtually will be required to follow all mandated social distancing and PPE guidelines.
Although we are optimistic that no cases of coronavirus will be transmitted within our District this year, we must be prepared in the event that a case occurs.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, that individual must be isolated in order to limit the chance of spreading the disease.
In addition, anyone determined to have been in close contact with an infected individual will be required to quarantine for 14 days. For students following the Hybrid Learning Model, this would mean transitioning to the Remote Learning Model for that 14-day period.
What Is a Case or a Contact?
Who Is a “Close Contact”?
For COVID-19, a Close Contact is defined as: any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before the onset of illness (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to a positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
What Is the Difference Between Isolation and Quarantine?
Isolation separates people who are infected with the virus from others, even in their own home. An individual should isolate if they have COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.
Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. If an individual might have been exposed to COVID-19, they should quarantine by staying at home.
If an individual has Close Contact with a positive case, they are required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of contact.
Procedures and Protocols
DOH or ACHD staff will notify the school entity immediately upon learning that an individual with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 was present at the school or a school event while infectious.
DOH or ACHD staff will assist the schools with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations, and other infection control recommendations. BWSD schools will take every measure to maintain the confidentiality of the affected individuals.
If a case is reported directly to school by a parent/guardian or the Health Department, the school staff will:
notify the school nurse and/or administration
communicate with Allegheny Health Department (if reported by a parent/guardian)
conduct internal contact tracing in conjunction with Health Department liaison
inform community as outlined by DOH guidance
Our intention is to communicate with transparency to the greatest degree allowable by regulations established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
When Can a Student with a Confirmed Case Return to School?
Individuals can be around others and return to school 10 days after symptoms first appeared, as long as the student has gone 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing or symptom-reducing medications, and as long as the student’s COVID-19 symptoms have improved (for example: cough, shortness of breath, etc.).
Return to school could be delayed up to 24 days for severe cases.
Cafeteria spaces will be safely utilized. Social distancing of six feet will be required to the greatest extent possible.
All cafeterias will utilize a touchless point of sale.
All meal payments must be made online using e-funds: https://payments.efundsforschools.com/v3/districts/55326
Food services will be simplified to individualized grab-and-go options. Grab-and-go breakfast will be available for in-class consumption.
The District is also exploring the use of outdoor spaces to allow students to eat lunch outside.
The District will be supporting remote learners with access to meal services. Further details will be communicated prior to the start of the school year.
We know that students, parents, teachers, and staff may have some uneasiness as we transition from a summer of social isolation back into a regular school routine. It may take some time to get used to being back at school under these new conditions, and we will all be readjusting and working through these changes together.
You can also expect that our teachers and support staff will dedicate time at the beginning of the school year to building relationships with students and to creating a true classroom community, even online. These relationships are crucial to developing a meaningful and supportive learning environment for students of all ages, and they will be even more important in situations where online learning is the norm.
If you need additional support, please know that you can rely on our teachers, nurses, counselors, administrators, and other support staff to care for and lend a hand in any way that we can. You may also consider exploring personal health and wellness techniques, including mindfulness practice, journaling, creative outlets, and other proactive ways to manage any stress you may feel during our transition into the new school year.
For more information on social and emotional wellness, please visit our online mindfulness resources provided by the Baldwin High School CHILL Program in partnership with the Allegheny Health Network:
We know that effective communication will be key to making the 2020-2021 school year safe and successful. You can expect regular District communication that is clear, consistent, and transparent. We will strive to communicate any news or changes that occur within the school setting in a timely manner.
Because information tends to change frequently during times of uncertainty, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with current mandates, policies, schedules, and other critical school-related information. We recommend checking the following official District news outlets daily to ensure that no important updates are missed:
- visit our website at https://www.bwschools.net/
- check your email for the latest District news and updates
- ensure that your Skylert profile is accurate and up-to-date
Thank you to everyone who helped make our 2020-2021 Back to Better plan possible, including:
- BWEA and BWSEA leadership for your input, communication, and support
- The Board of School Directors for their support and communication
- All committee members for their work on this plan
- All parents and staff for your patience and support as we work toward Getting Back to Better!
Areas of Focus
- Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting and Ventilation
- Mental Health and SEL
- Monitoring Student and Staff Health
- Social Distancing
- Teaching and Learning