Superintendent: Thank you for teamwork, info on test consent form

December 15, 2020

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.

I commend everyone out there who is abiding by masking, distancing, and barrier protocols, while also cleaning and disinfecting, as well as submitting daily health attestations. Your discipline, commitment, and partnership have been truly remarkable. Despite the general statewide spike of infection rates in recent weeks, here we continue to prevent the spread of the virus in our schools because of discipline. Capital Region schools, including BKW, are among the safest places to be during the pandemic.

The 24 school districts in the Capital Region committed to reopening in-person instruction for all elementary students, and as a result students have been in attendance and receiving quality instruction and necessary support. This is not the case in all regions of New York State. Thousands of students in NYS have not yet been inside of a classroom this year, and many more are now being transitioned to remote learning as this wave of the virus persists. Thus, again, your efforts have been a part of this region’s success. Thank you!!

In order to continue to keep the virus under control, NYS has initiated a “microcluster” strategy where areas with spikes in infection rates are required to take steps to control the spread of the virus, including testing as a means to do so. Should our region be designated in one of the three zones, (yellow, orange, red) based on infection rates, our school could be required to conduct testing on 20% of our on-site population (30% for red zone), including students, faculty, and staff, and then would submit the results to the NYS Department of Health. The testing process will involve a nasal swab rapid test.

If our results are below the regional rates, we will be exempt from having to continue to test as a means to gain control of the spread. We will need parent consent to test students. I am asking you to give us that consent so we are able to complete the process successfully. Consent forms will be distributed this week. Please return them as quickly as possible. You may also download a consent form below:

Again, thank you for your ongoing partnership during these crazy times. When we make our work about students, their needs, their talents, and their futures we can make such great progress. We are committed to that course as we enter 2021.

Dr. Timothy Mundell
Superintendent of Schools