Communication/Family and Community Engagement

To help inform our reopening plan, the district has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations. Additionally, stakeholder meetings and building level sub-group meetings included administrators, teachers and coaches from a variety of areas within the district.  

The district remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the district website at https://www.bkwschools.org/bkw-csd-school-reopening-plan-for-2020-21/and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage banner. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A/AA. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the district website homepage.

As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication channels – including the district website, Blackboard Connect and Facebook (as appropriate) – as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.

The district is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The district will rely on the district website, Blackboard Connect and Facebook (as appropriate) to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and information gathered from community surveys, and recommendations from the reopening task force.  

In support of remote learning, the district will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. If you need a device, contact your school office.  You can make arrangements to pick up a device at either the Elementary or Secondary School office. The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning. Teachers can be contacted through Google Classroom and school email accounts. 

The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. Building Principals, or their designee, will be the primary communicator of the master schedule and individual student schedules. Communications will be conducted by phone conference, via email, or through Google Classroom.

The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of Special Education services for their child. Student advocates and members of the Special Education office will engage and communicate with parents. An initial preferred language and mode of communication will be obtained and documented in a shared document with all staff involved in providing services to each child.  In addition to this initial communication, frequent communication with the parent/ legal guardian will be maintained in order to ensure meaningful engagement is occurring.

In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. The district will provide translation services as deemed necessary on a case by case basis.

The district is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the district will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each student’s age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

Hand hygiene 

  • On the first day of school, students will be trained on proper hand hygiene practices and social distancing.  
  • Buildings will have hand sanitizer in each classroom/office, and will encourage students to use it upon entering and exiting the room. 
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located in all common areas with signs indicating appropriate use.
  • If hands are visibly soiled, students and staff members will be provided with a means to clean their hands with soap and water.
  • Additional receptacles will be located in common areas and restrooms to collect soiled items.
  • PPE and hand sanitizer will be located at each entrance point of the building.
  • Health affirmation app. information will be made available in the weeks prior to the opening of school. The district will release parent training materials on its website, Blackboard Connect and Facebook page (as appropriate).

    Proper face covering procedures 

    • Staff members will undergo training at the beginning of the year on proper use of PPE, recognizing symptoms of COVID-19, and proper hand hygiene techniques.  
    • Students and or their parents/guardians will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining reusable masks for their student(s).
    • Students/staff who have forgotten their mask will be provided with a disposable mask upon entry to the school.  
    • Faculty/staff will be required to wear masks at all times in which a minimum of six feet of social distancing is not possible. The district will provide masks and other PPE to faculty/staff members who do not possess their own.
    • For instruction that requires clear vision of the face or mouth, alternate PPE will be provided.

    Social distancing

    Social distancing- 6 feet of space in all directions between individuals or use of appropriate physical barriers between individuals that do not adversely affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation, or otherwise present a health or safety risk 

    • 6 feet markings in hallways and entrance/ exit routes.
    • Classrooms will be marked to indicate 6 feet of space between desks and work spaces.
    • Separate entrance/egress points will be clearly labeled to prohibit bidirectional flow of traffic at doors.
    • Each building will provide signs indicating appropriate social distancing for the environment and the importance of wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible.
    • Additional restrooms will be allotted for student use to help increase social distancing.  Physical barriers will be used in an effort to increase distancing.  Signs reminding students/staff of proper hand hygiene will be posted in various areas.

    Respiratory hygiene identifying symptoms

    • Parents will be required to complete a daily health affirmation for their student, prior to school.  If parents are unable to do so, verbal assurances will be obtained through phone calls.

    The district will create and deploy signage throughout the district to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:

    • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
    • Hand washing
    • Adherence to social distancing instructions
    • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

    In addition to signage, the district will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as regular announcements in the morning, reminders on the school website, Blackboard Connect and the district Facebook page (as appropriate).

    The district is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our district will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan at: https://www.bkwschools.org/bkw-csd-school-reopening-plan-for-2020-21/health-and-safety/

    In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The district will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

    School Closures

    The district is preparing for situations in which one or more school buildings need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.

    The district may choose to modify operations in one or more schools prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The district will consult its medical director and/or the local health department when making such decisions. 

    School building administrators will communicate with each other regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.