Dear Barrington Public Schools Families,
We are excited to welcome our students and staff back to the 2021-22 school year on September 8, 2021. Our teachers and support staff, who provide critical services for our students and school community, are eager to begin the school year. All of us at BPS are focused on helping students transition seamlessly back into their learning environments. The school year will begin with all Pre-K-12 schedules returning to regular arrival and dismissal times, class schedules, and opportunities for extracurricular activities.
We are thrilled to share an updated report from the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding vaccinations. Over 75% of our eligible students and 97% of our staff are fully vaccinated at this time! Our student vaccination rates are the highest in the state.
All of our schools will open in the fall with precautions in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are striving to make the student experience at BPS a positive one. Last year the District Administration developed In-Person Health and Safety Protocols, which we have updated for the 2021-22 school year. The adopted plan was developed in consultation with the Reentry Task Force and is a fluid document that will consider emerging guidance and recommendations from state and local officials and utilize current data surrounding the trajectory of the virus at the local level to inform subsequent decisions. Here is the link to the updated narrative summary.
COVID-19 | Required Face Coverings
Mask-wearing is an essential and effective prevention strategy to keep students and staff safe. As you may be aware, Governor McKee, issued a mask mandate for K-12 students, staff, and visitors on 8/19/2021. Barrington Public Schools will require masks inside school buildings for all students, staff, and visitors.
- Social Distancing of at least three feet or more for non-stable pods will be maintained wherever possible.
- Masks will be required indoors for before and after school and athletics.
- Per district and federal guidance, masks will be required on school buses regardless of vaccination status.
- Masks will be provided for those who forget or soil their own.
BPS will also continue with the following layered approach to COVID mitigation:
- Encouraging frequent hand washing and providing access to hand sanitation stations.
- Continuing with increased ventilation in buildings.
- Encouraging outdoor learning and activities where possible.
- Disinfecting frequently.
- Implementing physical distancing where possible.
- Providing families and staff with information about COVID vaccination and testing opportunities.
- Notifying families when their student may have been exposed to COVID so they may screen for symptoms and access COVID testing if desired.
- Notifying staff members when they may have been exposed to COVID to screen for symptoms and access COVID testing if desired.
It is critical to note that the protocols listed above will not be most effective without family and staff partnerships. Please continue to do your part by keeping students home and/or staying home yourself when showing symptoms of illness. Please reference the illness protocols for guidance on when it is safe to return to school after illness. COVID-19 | Quarantine Procedures
Anyone who is within 6’ for 15 minutes or more of someone positive for COVID-19 must be quarantined with three exceptions:
- If you are fully vaccinated (age 12+) and have no symptoms, you will not have to quarantine.
- If you tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months, are fully recovered, and do not have symptoms, you will not have to quarantine.
- If a face covering was worn “appropriately and consistently” by you and the person with COVID-19, you will not have to be quarantined.
A K-12 student exposed to a K-12 student infected with COVID-19 does not need to
quarantine if ALL of the following apply:
- K-12 students: both the infected person and exposed close contact are K-12 students;
- Indoor classroom: the close contact exposure occurred in an indoor K-12 classroom;
- Physical distance: at least 3 feet of physical distance was maintained at all times during the close contact exposure;
- Face masks: both the exposed (close contact) student and the infected student always wore a face mask during the close contact exposure; and
We appreciate your continued patience as we work through these situations. Students who are placed in isolation or quarantine by BPS will be eligible for short-term distance learning.
COVID – 19 Testing & Vaccinations BPS will provide Asymptomatic and Symptomatic testing to all eligible students and staff with parental consent. See our illness protocols for more details. New this year, we will offer rapid testing to parents of children who test positive, if they want. Parent testing will take place outside in the parking lot.
At this time, staff who are not vaccinated or have not provided proof of vaccination will complete the daily attestation form.
COVID-19 Return To School Family Forum
We will be sending out a date for a Zoom forum for all families and staff interested in learning more about our COVID protocols. The Forum is targeted for the evening of August 30th. More information will be provided next week.
BPS is transitioning back to our pre-COVID bus schedules and full capacity. Student eligibility for bus transportation to and from school is determined by the BPS Transportation Policy and other safety factors. This year we will continue to follow COVID protocols by establishing student pods, rosters, and seat assignments to manage health protocols.
Our bus assignment communication will be available to families on Monday, August 23, 2021. We will direct families to visit our student information system to find eligibility status, bus routes, and bus stops posted in ASPEN.
Many health and safety measures will remain in place on school buses. Masks will continue to be required on school buses for students and drivers. Buses will also continue the practice of maximizing ventilation, and we will continue to operate buses with windows partially open. Students will be assigned seating, and household members will be assigned to sit together where applicable.
We hope that families will take advantage of bus transportation now that capacity limits have returned to normal. Excellent bus ridership brings benefits of reduced congestion at schools and on our roads.
Building Communication Please continue to look for communications from your building principals. They will provide you more specific information about what they will be doing at their schools regarding Open Houses, building-specific COVID safety protocols, Transition Days, etc.
After School Care
We will NOT be offering the opportunity for after-school care at our elementary schools until further notice. As we continue to follow COVID protocols in our schools, the space for after-school care is not available, and we are not allowing outside vendors in our buildings at this time.
As BPS acknowledges those students who have documented health concerns, mental-health needs, or family concerns related to COVID, BPS will provide access to a Rhode Island Department of Education approved online learning provider, K-12 Stride, for 2021-2022. To obtain more information regarding the program, to obtain a contract, or to enroll, please contact Katie McBride at email@example.com beginning on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
Students who enroll in K-12 Stride and are eligible for Special Education services will receive virtual services from a BPS special educator or service provider, following state and federal regulations.
Families who opt into the online learning option will commit to the program for the entire school year. Students enrolled in full distance learning will be ineligible to participate in all in-person activities, athletics, and extracurricular activities, except for high school graduation.
BPS reserves the right to enroll students who refuse to wear a mask into the online learning program.
As a reminder, the only hybrid instruction during the 2021-2022 school year will be for those students who have been isolated or quarantined by the District in collaboration with RIDOH or those who have tested positive. Quarantine due to travel, the isolation imposed outside of the district, or typical sick days are not eligible for hybrid instruction.
District Administrative Positions
We would like to thank Principal Tracy Mc Gee for her years of service to the HMS community and wish her well in her future endeavors. Assistant Principal Gino Sangiuliano will be acting principal as we begin a principal search in September.
We would also like to welcome two new administrators to BPS. Elliot LaFaiver is the new assistant principal at Barrington Middle School. Mr. LeFaiver previously held the position of special educator at Barrington High School.
Finally, we welcome Dawn August as the Multi-Tiered System of Supports Coordinator. She will be responsible for implementing and monitoring a comprehensive three-tiered Response To Intervention program of academic and behavioral interventions for students in grades Pre-K through 12. Ms. August was previously a reading specialist at Barrington Middle School.
Although we may still face a few obstacles throughout this year, I am confident that this 2021-22 school year will be great. Barrington is an excellent place for educators to work, students to learn, and a community to live. To make this a successful year and ensure our students continue to receive high-quality instruction, we need to continue to work together to support each other and keep our staff and students as safe as possible.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and partnership, and I look forward to a wonderful 2021-22 school year!
Have a good weekend.