Will hybrid in-person learning remain in place through the end of the school year?
No, BPSD will transition from hybrid in-person instruction two days per week to in-person instruction four days per week with asynchronous learning on Fridays. Students will remain in the hybrid in-person instructional model until their school transitions to the four days per week model.
What are the options for families who remain uncomfortable sending their children to school but still want them to receive a high-quality education?
Families who are uncomfortable sending their students to school under the current conditions will continue to have the option of participating in full remote instruction.
Will this plan be maintained for the remainder of the year?
Our intention is to remain in the full-time in-person (four days per week) and remote instructional models for the rest of the school year. However, if this pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is that we cannot always predict exactly what the future may hold, so we will have to continue to stay as flexible as possible in all of our decision-making.
Why is the school district staggering its restart of four days per week in-person instruction?
As of Jan. 7, 2021, Governor Wolf, responding to the latest available data which suggests that children under the age of 10 are the least vulnerable population, has given Pennsylvania schools, especially those at the elementary level, the go-ahead to repopulate their buildings even under the substantial designation. By staggering the reopening of its schools, Bethel Park will have extra controls in place to quickly help mitigate any potential spread.
Can my child change educational modalities at any time? As an example, could we follow the virtual curriculum for the third nine-week marking period and then return to school?
Yes, parents will be allowed to transition their students from the online model of schooling into the traditional model throughout the year. For continuity of education reasons, the District asks that parents choose an option and that students remain in that option for a period of 9-weeks. This will allow transfers to occur at a natural break in student studies. However, based on extenuating circumstances you may request a change. Please contact your building principal to discuss options.
How do we maintain social distancing?
According to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “schools should determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement each of these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.”
What happens if my child is sick? Will they be given the opportunity to log in from home?
We want all of our students to be successful. Students who are feeling even slightly under-the-weather should absolutely STAY HOME from school and learn remotely. We ask that if parents anticipate that the absence from traditional learning will be prolonged, that the student is registered into the online model. This will allow our teachers to plan for instruction.
Why are students in grades, 3-4 starting on February 18 rather than earlier in the week?
Students in grades 3-4 will start on Thursday, Feb. 18, to give building staff time to properly prepare their buildings for student repopulation. Also, with the professional development day scheduled for Monday, Feb. 15, for educational parity reasons, we felt it made the most sense to even out the hybrid days and start back on Feb. 18.
What criteria will the District use to determine its schools’ operational status?
BPSD will continue to follow the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Health Department as well as the guidance it receives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Will my child have mask breaks?
Mask breaks will continue to be limited based on the number of students and the ability to provide appropriate distancing when the mask is removed.
What if a student forgets or misplaces their mask?
As we have done since the start of the school year, masks will be provided for any student who is without that necessary protection.
Will modifications be made to the cafeterias?
Yes, where needed, some buildings will have plexiglass dividers between the children. Once the child finishes eating they will be required to put their mask back on. Students will be seated as far away from each other as possible during lunchtime.
How will social distancing be accomplished within the classrooms themselves?
Many extraneous items will be removed from the classrooms to facilitate the spacing requirements that will allow as much social distancing as feasible. Group activities will be facilitated through the computers and students will remain socially distanced when feasible even during collaborative work.
Will students eat in the cafeterias or will students eat within their classrooms?
The District will be using cafeterias and may also utilize some combination of classrooms, cafeterias, and other open spaces depending on the space available within the various buildings to provide distance between students.
What are the district’s transportation plans?
The District encourages families to transport their own children to school whenever possible and it discourages carpooling. However, when your do take the school bus, they are required to wear their masks throughout, including at the bus stop. Also, please encourage them to social distance as much as possible and wash their hands immediately upon exiting the bus.
How many kids will be on the bus and per seat?
According to the latest guidance from the CDC, school-aged children are the least vulnerable population to the spread of the Coronavirus. Provided the children remain properly masked, BPSD can fit a normal number of students on the buses and per seat.
How does the District plan on keeping the school buses cleaned?
As the School District has done throughout the pandemic, the buses are disinfected after each run and again at the end of each day. Additionally, school buses are treated every 30 days with different cleaning agents.
I believe my child should be back in school immediately, regardless of their school’s reopening timeline. How do I sign up my child for that program?
Students who have been identified based on need and whose parents have been contacted by the School District may have the opportunity to return to in-person instruction four days per week with asynchronous learning scheduled for each Friday.
Could the program change?
Yes, depending on active infection rates, any of our buildings could be forced to transition to remote instruction for a period of time. Also, as more information becomes available, we will react accordingly.