BKW CSD school reopening plan for 2020-21

A comprehensive framework for re-entry amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District, Capital Region, New York State

bulldog with letters BKW“They are because we are!”

NOTE: If for any reason you have difficulty accessing this plan please contact BKW District Clerk Anne Farnam at 518-872-1293.

For information by category in this reopening schools plan please access the specific link on the right column of this web page.


On Monday, July 13, 2020 Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September. Determinations about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues will be made based on the state’s micro-cluster strategy [https://forward.ny.gov/cluster-action-initiative] in consultation with public health partners.

Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues based on metrics from various caution zones Yellow, Orange and Red and overall hospitalization and ICU bed availability in those regions. If certain metrics are reached after reopening, schools in that region may be directed to close and go to an all remote learning model.

Since mid-May several members of the BKW staff have been participating in regional meetings to discuss relevant issues related to reopening schools in September. Additionally, an internal 17-person task force, made up of stakeholders from all segments of the organization, and included community members and parents, has been meeting since early June to review all available and emerging resources form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NYS Department of Health, the NYS Education Department, and the Governor’s Office. The task force has also reviewed reopening plans from several other states to be informed. The group has assessed school building capacity to comply with social distancing, food service, and transportation protocols. Building administrators have met with sub-committees in their respective buildings to consider scheduling and staffing for instructional delivery, regardless of the evolving circumstances that may occur throughout the coming year. And, finally, the district has conducted two surveys of parents to gain understanding of needs as decisions have been made in pursuit of complying with all Department of Health expectations.  

While districts have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the district is also planning for remote/distance learning as well as a for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model. BKW will accept requests from parents who desire to have their children in a remote learning environment. A written request for remote learning may be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools, or to the principal of the child’s building by August 14.

The plan outlined here is for the reopening of schools in the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools:

BKW Elementary School

PRINCIPAL Annette Landry

1738 Helderberg Trail
Berne, NY 12023
Phone: (518) 872-2030
School Webpage

BKW Secondary School

PRINCIPAL Dr. Mark A. Pitterson

1738 Helderberg Trail
Berne, NY 12023
Phone: (518) 872-1482
School Webpage

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our schools.

Dr. Timothy Mundell will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. Dr. Mundell will work closely with the Albany County Department of Health and will be responsible for communicating relevant information related to COVID-19, as well as any additions or amendments to this plan. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Dr. Mundell’s contact information is as follows:

SUPERINTENDENT Dr. Timothy Mundell

1738 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023
Superintendent’s Office: (518) 872-1293