COVID-19/School Updates – 2020-21

bulldog with letters BKWGovernor Cuomo, the State Education Department, and Department of Health released school reopening guidelines on July 13, 2020, and required school districts to submit a reopening plan to the New York State Education Department by July 31. The BKW School Reopening Task Force completed the reopening plan and submitted it to the state ahead of schedule. A link to that plan is below:

PLEASE NOTE: This is an extremely fluid process, and the reopening plan will be updated as new guidance and regulations are released.  COVID-19-related updates are posted below, and additional resources are posted in the right-hand column of this webpage.

BKW COVID notification – March 31, 2021

The administration was notified today that a BKW Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19. Read full article

BKW COVID notification – March 15, 2021

The administration was notified today that a BKW Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19. Read full article

BKW COVID notification – March 4, 2021

The administration was notified today that a BKW Secondary School student has tested positive for COVID-19. Read full article

COVID-19 surveillance testing begins in March
 

BKW will begin surveillance testing for COVID-19 in school beginning the week of March 1. Though not required of schools at this time, this random, weekly testing will help the district determine the overall presence of positive cases on campus and continue to provide a safe learning and working environment. The details of the surveillance testing are as follows: Read full article

BKW COVID notification – Feb. 15, 2021

The administration has been notified that a BKW Secondary School student has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a remote only student and hasn’t been in person all school year. Read full article

BKW COVID notification – Feb. 1, 2021

The administration has been notified that a BKW staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual was last in school on Jan. 27. Read full message

BKW COVID notification – Jan. 28, 2021

The administration has been notified that a BKW Secondary School student has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual was last in school on Jan. 19. A district staff member has also tested positive for COVID-19. That individual last worked on Jan. 26. Read full message

BKW COVID notification – Jan. 25, 2021

The administration has been notified that two members of the BKW Elementary School community have tested positive for COVID-19. The individuals were last in school on Jan. 15 and Jan. 22. Read full  message

BKW COVID notification – Jan. 23, 2021

The administration has been notified that a member of the BKW Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was last in school on Jan. 19, 2021. Read full message

BKW COVID notification – Jan. 18, 2021

Over the weekend, BKW Schools learned of an elementary staff member testing positive for COVID-19. The district has immediately begun working with Department of Health on contact tracing and has assigned one class of students to remote instruction through the coming week, with a return set for Monday, January 25. Administrators will contact parents of the students in the class to advise them of the situation. If you do not receive a call, please resume in person instruction tomorrow. Read full message

BKW COVID notification – Jan. 15, 2021

A BKW Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19 it was reported to the district today. As a result, the classroom of the student will shift to remote instruction. Administrators are in the process of contacting parents of students in the class to pick up their child. The district will work with the Department of Health on contact and further details on quarantining and/or testing. Read full message

BKW prepares for COVID-19 testing of students and staff – Jan. 11, 2021

BKW, and school districts across the state, are preparing staff, students, and parents for districtwide COVID-19 testing should our region be designated a color zone by New York State. As we work together to meet the state’s requirements to keep our schools open, our kids learning, and our community safe we are asking for your continued support, cooperation, and patience. Our nurses and school leaders are working together to establish procedures that will help make the school testing process go smoothly when we need to begin testing. BKW Schools will inform people about possible testing dates and times as decisions are made regionally. Read full story and view testing video

BKW Secondary School shifting to remote only model Jan. 11-15 – Jan. 8,  2021

As a result of a number of teachers and/or staff members being quarantined due to possible exposure to COVID-19, BKW Secondary School students are shifting to a Remote Only Learning schedule until Tuesday, January 19. Read full message

COVID-19 Secondary School notifications – Jan. 8,  2021

The district has been notified that two members of the BKW Secondary School community have tested positive for COVID-19. One person was last in school on Dec. 23, 2020, the other on Jan. 8. Although these are “self-reported” cases and we are awaiting full verification from the Albany County Health Department we believe it is important out of an abundance of caution to make our community aware of the situation. Read full message

Siblings of students with COVID-19 symptoms excluded from in-person class pending test results

Effective immediately, the Albany County Department of Health has advised K-12 school districts to exclude siblings of symptomatic students from attending in-person classes pending COVID-19 test results. Read full message

BKW schools to reopen for in person learning Jan. 4

The purpose of this message is to affirm that our schools will reopen for in-person learning tomorrow, January, 4, 2021. Read full message

COVID-19 notifications – Jan. 3,  2021

The administration has been notified that a member of the BKW Elementary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. The person last worked in the district on Dec. 23, 2020. Read full message

BKW schools resume Jan. 4 – New Year’s message – Dec. 31, 2020

On behalf of the BKW administrative team and Board of Education I hope you are having a happy, peaceful and safe holiday break. Let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year as we say goodbye to a difficult and challenging 2020 and look forward to great things in 2021. Read full message

COVID-19 notifications – Dec. 29, 2020

The district has been notified that a member of the BKW Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was last in school on Dec. 22, 2020. Although this is a “self-reported” case and we are awaiting full verification from the Albany County Health Department we believe it is important out of an abundance of caution to make our community aware of the situation. Read full message

COVID-19 notifications – Dec. 21, 2020

The administration has been notified that two more members of the BKW School District community have tested positive for COVID-19. One person last worked in the district on Dec. 10 and the other on Dec. 16. Read full message

COVID-19 notification – Dec. 15, 2020

The administration has been notified that member of the BKW Elementary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. The person last worked in the district on Friday, Dec. 11. Read full message

Dec. 15, 2020: Superintendent: Thank you for teamwork, info on test consent form

Dear BKW parents/guardians/community,
As we approach the holidays, I wanted to extend my wishes to you for a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, blessed Kwanzaa and best hope for a prosperous and healthy New Year. We have been through quite the ride during 2020. A year ago, we could not have imagined all that would happen. It all seems to have happened in the blink of an eye.
My gratitude for how our community has handled the pandemic is only surpassed by an immense hope and enthusiasm I have for the future. We have worked closely as a school and community to develop a reopening plan and implement it for the health and safety of students and staff alike. Although uncertain at times and ever changing, the course we have run over the past four months has been very effective. Read full message

BKW Secondary School all remote learning Monday/Tuesday, Dec. 7-8

As a result of a number of teachers and/or staff members being quarantined by the Albany County Department of Health due to possible exposure to COVID-19, all BKW Secondary School students will be on a Remote Only Learning schedule Monday, Dec. 7 and Tuesday, Dec. 8. Read full message

Dec. 2, 2020: COVID-19 notification

Dear BKW parent/guardian and staff,
The administration has been notified that a BKW district employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The person last worked in the district on Nov. 24, 2020. We are currently working closely with the Albany County Department of Health to identify this individual’s contacts within the district. Read full message

Dec. 1, 2020: COVID-19 notification

Dear BKW parent/guardian and staff,
The district has been notified that a member of the BKW Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was last in school on Nov. 24, 2020. Although this is a “self-reported” case and we are awaiting full verification from the Albany County Health Department we believe it is important out of an abundance of caution to make our community aware of the situation. Read full message

Nov. 18, 2020: Symptomatic persons must have negative PCR lab test to return to school or work, per County DOH

At the Albany County Executive Press Conference on Monday, Nov. 16, County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen announced a change in protocols for testing of symptomatic individuals. Going forward, in order to return to school, or work, symptomatic individuals must have a negative PCR test. A negative antigen “rapid test” will no longer be acceptable to return. Read full message

Nov. 16, 2020: Message from the superintendent about COVID case

Dear BKW students, families and staff,
The district learned on Sunday, Nov. 15 that a member of the BKW school community has tested positive for COVID-19. The infected person, however, was a Remote Only Learning student and never reported to school in-person, thus never came in contact with other students or staff on school grounds. Read full message

Oct. 13, 2020: Message from the superintendent about COVID-19 positive case reporting

Dear BKW Community,
The Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District is committed to as much transparency and information sharing as possible with regard to COVID-19 in our school community. We are in regular contact with the Albany County Department of Health and, in the event of a positive case, will work closely with them to provide all necessary information to aid in contact tracing efforts. Read full message

Sept. 22, 2020: Message from the superintendent

Dear BKW Community,
Congratulations! We have opened school and managed to find our way with new schedules and digital platforms, and our students have gotten to where they need to be while settling into the new school year. More than 40% of our students are working with some sort of remote platform as part of their learning. It took patience and flexibility for students, parents, and staff to become familiar with the day-to-day applications, while also managing many new health protocols and the typical new school year excitement. I would say, all BKW stakeholders have done a bang-up job! Kudos to all. Read full message

Sept. 20, 2020: Albany County Department of Health COVID-19 guidance for K-12

Sept. 17, 2020:  Fall sports opportunities

BKW/WAC announce fall sports opportunities for students – Update: Swimming now in spring

Sept. 10, 2020: NYSPHSAA: Football, volleyball, cheer seasons postponed til spring

The Western Athletic Conference has decided to move forward with the low risk sports of cross country, golf and tennis at the varsity level for the fall season. The moderate risk sport of soccer will be moved to the Fall Sports Season II, which will begin in March and run through April. The Fall Sport Season II also includes high risk sports such as football, cheerleading and volleyball. MORE INFORMATION

Sept. 9, 2020: Meal pick up for remote learners

Breakfast and lunch will be available for remote learners. Meal pick-up will be available every Wednesday between 2-4 p.m. at BKW secondary school. Families will receive 5 days of breakfast and lunch meals. Please contact the food service director if you are interested in receiving meals. Where to Pick-Up: Enter the school through the main entrance. Drive straight back towards the secondary building. Drive to the left, you will see a garage door to the right, stop here. Please ring the bell at the door. Staff will assist you and bring out your meals.

Sept. 3, 2020: Superintendent’s school reopening message

Dear BKW community,
Six months ago we were focused on the coming spring and all the school activities that go with the last quarter of the school year. In what seemed to be an instant, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus turned the world upside down. In the interest of public health and safety, the Governor ordered schools closed, beginning March 18, and over the following weeks, a society went into lockdown to stop the spread of the virus. Early on, we acknowledged, “we are in this together.” Today, as a result of our collective community sacrifices, support, and hard work, the BKW school community is ready to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to work preparing students for their future. Read full message

Aug. 25, 2020: Cuomo announces all fall sports teams will be able to practice Sept. 21 and ‘low risk’ sports can play

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Aug. 24 that state athletic teams will be able to begin practicing on Sept. 21 and that some will be allowed to play games soon after. Cuomo said at his press briefing that “low-risk” sports that BKW offers including soccer, cross country, swimming and golf would be allowed to begin fall activities later next month and then compete locally. Competition would follow a required number of preseason practices for all but golf, which does not mandate them. More information

Aug. 7, 2020: Gov. Cuomo gives green light to reopening schools in the fall

Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York state schools will be able to reopening to students in September as long as COVID-19 infection numbers stay low. The governor previously said schools can only open in regions that are in phase four and have a coronavirus infection rate of 5% or less on a rolling 14-day average. Every district currently meets that threshold, according to Cuomo.

Aug. 6, 2020: Watch Aug. 4 & 5 BKW recorded virtual reopening school forums anytime on Facebook

BKW parents and guardians also participated in early August in two virtual forums on reopening schools in the fall. Both forums were recorded and may be watched at any time through the links below:

    July 31, 2020: Remote learning requests due Aug. 14

    While school 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, but need to notify the district of this choice. BKW will accept requests from parents who desire to have their children in a remote learning environment. A written request for remote learning should be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools, or to the principal of the child’s building by August 14.

    July 28, 2020: Reopening Plan posted ahead of deadline

    July 17, 2020: Start of fall sports delayed

    NYSPHSAA (the New York State Public High School Athletic Association) has announced that the start date for Fall sports has been pushed back to September 21st and the Fall Regional and State Championships have been cancelled due to COVID 19 pandemic.

    July 24, 2020: Reopening survey now closed

    Dear BKW parents and families,
    For the past eight weeks, the school district’s reopening task force has been meeting regularly for the purpose of considering needs, strategies, and plans for a safe and healthy return to school in September for students, staff, and any community members who must interact with our schools. This week, the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department issued very detailed guidance for districts to follow as each develops its own plan for reopening. I have attached the link to the SED guidance here for your review: NYS Education Department Guidance on School Reopening.

    At the end of May, we surveyed parents for feedback on the remote learning experience taking place from March to June. The data was helpful as we processed many return plans and guidance documents. READ ENTIRE MESSAGE

    July 8, 2020: Cuomo sets July 31 deadline to submit school reopening plans, state decision on reopening coming early August

    Governor Andrew Cuomo, at his press briefing today, gave an official timeline for districts to submit school reopening plans and said he will make a decision by early August on whether or not to reopen schools statewide in September. Cuomo said the state will release finalized reopening guidance for school districts on July 13. School districts will then submit their safety plans for reopening by July 31.  READ MORE

    July 2, 2020: Message from the superintendent

    Dear BKW families and community,
    I hope you are all safe and healthy. It has been a whirlwind the past three months. It is important to pause and express our appreciation to all our students, families, community members, and staff for having the grit and focus to make the shift to remote learning, despite digital challenges, and complete the school year with credible success. This was a heavy lift, with many problems to solve, but with patience and thought we found solutions to serve needs as they arose. I am grateful to be able to serve and support our students and community. Read full message