Back to School 2020-2021 - Updated January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021:

REMINDER:  Hybrid learning resumes next week. We are eager to welcome our students back to school.

Owls Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, January 14

As part of the Health and Safety Plan, it is important that all parents/guardians check their child/children for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 daily.  We ask that you conduct a routine, daily health check prior to sending your child to school. This health check should include the following:

  • Temperature check
  • Symptom screening

Refer to the Bensalem Township School District’s Health Screening Questionnaire/Symptom Screening Tool when you complete the morning health check with your child/children.

If your child received a COVID test, please keep him/her at home pending the test results.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

  • Travelers = Traveling outside the Commonwealth for more than 24 hours. Travelers over age 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the Commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the Commonwealth, to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a 7-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day 5 of quarantine.  Click here for more information
  • If a member of your household has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, prompt contact tracing is pivotal to controlling spread in our school community.  Please contact your child’s school nurse.
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January 3, 2021 - Happy New Year!
 

All Remote Learning: January 4 - January 8

 

Owls Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, January 14

 

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December 23, 2020
 
Bensalem Schools and Offices will be closed from December 24, 2020 through January 3, 2021.
Happy Holidays and a safe, healthy, Happy New Year!
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December 9, 2020

Dear Bensalem Families,

I wanted to share information with you as we return to in-person instruction tomorrow Thursday, December 10, 2020. Our students will return to our buildings under the hybrid models that were in place prior to the most recent closure:

  • Grades K-12 will attend full days on Monday/Tuesday (Blue Cohort) OR Thursday/Friday (Gray Cohort) with remote instruction on Wednesdays.
  • Special education students in the Owls Cohort returned to their specific schedule that was in place prior to the most recent return to remote.

It is our hope that we will be able to continue in-person instruction under our hybrid models until it is safe for all students and staff to return to in-person instruction full time. To that end, we have submitted the "Attestation" form that the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) required as of November 23, 2020. An explanation of what the attestation entails is below. What is most important to note is that while we hope to continue in-person instruction, there may be circumstances under which individual schools, or the District as a whole, will have to return – possibly with very short notice – to a fully remote model. This could be the result of case counts or due to operational challenges, such as a lack of available staff.

TRANSMISSION RATES IN BUCKS COUNTY
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) reports COVID-19 transmission rates (low, moderate, substantial) by county that are linked to recommended instructional models. As of the week ending December 4, Bucks County has experienced five consecutive weeks of substantial transmission.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

  • Travelers = Traveling outside the Commonwealth for more than 24 hours. Travelers over age 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the Commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the Commonwealth, to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a 7-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day 5 of quarantine.  Click here for more information
  • If a member of your household has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, prompt contact tracing is pivotal to controlling spread in our school community.  Please contact your child’s school nurse.
  • Winter Break - December 24, 2020 – January 1, 2021.
  • Bensalem will move to full remote instruction for Blue/Gray (K to 12) and the Owls Cohort from Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 8.  On Monday, January 11, the District will resume our hybrid model that was in effect from December 7 - 23.  
  • Food Service: No Cost “Grab and Go” meals will be available for all students. Click here for more information.
  • Chromebook Questions/Repairs: Click Here
  • The Bensalem Township School District recently attested to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) that it would honor expectations governing how the district handles COVID related positive cases and enforces face coverings.  Signing this attestation allowed BTSD to continue providing in-person instruction to students.  The expectations that govern school closures indicate that for a school in a county considered Substantial (which Bucks County is considered to be) with less than 500 students (Struble, Rush, Snyder) 2-4 positive cases (of students or staff) within a 14-day period, would result in a closure of 3-7 days.  In schools with 500-900 students (Belmont Hills, Cornwells, Faust, Valley, and Shafer) 4-6 positive cases, and in schools with 900 + students 6-10 positive cases would result in a closure. See charts in presentation for more information. The PDE expectations also indicate that the closure can be shortened or eliminated completely as long as three important things take place:
    • Case Investigations of all positive cases:  This is the work the district conducts upon learning that a student or staff member has tested positive.  Bensalem staff conduct interviews and collect data to determine with whom the positive individual may have had close contact.  Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a positive individual for at least 15 consecutive minutes.  The district team then alerts all impacted parties, including close contacts, health departments, and the larger school community. 
    • Cleaning of any impacted area:  The Bensalem Township School District regularly cleans and disinfects.  Additional cleaning and disinfecting occurs in any area where an individual who tests positive may have spent time. 
    • Contact Tracing:  This is the work the Bucks County Department of Health (BCDOH), led by Dr. David Damsker, conducts as our County Municipal Health Authority to officially determine who may be required to quarantine as a result of close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.  In addition to the information provided by the district as part of our case investigation of close contacts in the school or work environment, the BCDOH also includes case investigation and contact tracing in environments beyond work and/or school.  The BCDOH issues formal isolation orders to the individual who has tested positive, as well as quarantine orders to any individuals determined to be close contacts. 

Again, if all three expectations listed above are met (case investigation, cleaning/disinfecting, and contact tracing), a school may resume in-person instruction sooner than the minimum number of days indicated by PDE.  Once the district receives official confirmation from the BCDOH that all official contact tracing activities are complete for cases, per the PDE guidelines, the district will expect to resume in-person instruction. 

It is imperative that we remain vigilant in our efforts to follow our Health and Safety plans to protect our students and staff.  These plans remain our primary tool in responding to new cases as they appear.  If you are sick or symptomatic, stay home and seek medical attention.  To help prevent the spread, we must practice social distancing, wash/sanitize your hands often, and wear a face covering over your nose and mouth. 

Sincerely,

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.
District Superintendent

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December 7, 2020

Students will return to the Hybrid Learning Model as follows: 

Owls Cohort returned to the classroom on Monday, December 7.

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, December 10.

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, December 14. 

 

Winter Break: December 24 - January 1

 

All Remote Learning: January 4 - January 8

 

Owls Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, January 11

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, January 14

 

December 7, 2020 Board Meeting Presentation - School Reopening Update

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December 4, 2020
 
 
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November 25, 2020

Dear Bensalem Families and Staff:

As we head toward Thanksgiving, we have entered a period in the pandemic that was unfortunately predictable.

Our Health and Safety plan has been executed in the interest of safe, in-person instruction, but since last week COVID-19 numbers have increased in Bensalem and Bucks County significantly.  

We are now in our third week in the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s substantial risk category.  Just in the last few days, 5 students have been revealed to be COVID-19 +, 7 since November 16.  Additionally, 7 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since November 16.  Currently, there are 10 virtual students that have tested positive, and approximately 30 students are quarantining.

Again, to date, we have no definitive evidence that any of these positive cases were contracted in our schools, however it stands to reason that the increasing number of cases could compromise any organization’s ability to contact trace.  For that I have concern.

The increasing volume of cases in our community, county and country, and the upcoming holiday season and associated travel possibilities in congregate settings exacerbates that concern.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education shared additional guidance on November 23 for school districts related to instructional modalities, and the previously issued guidance of low, moderate, and substantial risk counties. Our Health and Safety Plan has been updated to include this guidance.

For the aforementioned reasons and our experience, I am recommending that we return to synchronous remote instruction on Monday, November 30 through Wednesday, December 9, with the exception of our "Special Learners" in the Owls Cohort.  We want to Return to hybrid on Thursday, December 10, 2 weeks beyond Thanksgiving.

Students will return to the Hybrid Learning Model as follows: 

Owl Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, December 7.

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, December 10.

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, December 14. 

There were other options considered, including a return to synchronous remote instruction until mid- January.  

It is imperative that we not just respect our Health and Safety Plan, but we execute it faithfully and with fidelity, always and every day. That is the only way to keep our kids in school, where we know it provides the best opportunity and possibilities for them.  I can’t stress it enough.

We meet again on Monday, December 7 for our annual School Board Reorganization meeting and will re-evaluate the situation.  The re-evaluation process is by no means a static process. It is something we talk about and we look at every day.  We share information and data not just amongst ourselves, but with our community through our website, through communication related to COVID-19, among other things, including through and with other districts every day in concert and collaboration with our Bucks County Intermediate Unit, the Bucks County Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Our Health and Safety plan is paramount, as is its execution and vigilance related to it. It’s the only way we keep our kids in school. It’s the best opportunity. It’s what our kids need and it’s what our kids deserve. It’s what our community deserves!

Additionally, "Grab and Go" No Cost Meals will be available from November 30 to December 9, Monday to Friday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm in front of all school buildings. Also, we are resuming bus runs with free food. Please see below schedule.

I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.
District Superintendent

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November 24, 2020:

We are returning to Fully Remote Synchronous Learning for all students beginning on Monday, November 30.  

Students will return to the Hybrid Learning Model as follows: 

Owl Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, December 7.

Gray Cohort returns to the classroom on Thursday, December 10.

Blue Cohort returns to the classroom on Monday, December 14. 

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Please check this section regularly for updates.
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November 13, 2020:

We look forward to welcoming our students who chose Hybrid Learning (mix of in-person and remote learning) back to the classroom next week. 

Blue Cohort attends on Monday and Tuesday.  Gray Cohort attends on Thursday and Friday.  Owl Cohort attends on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Look for a letter from your child's school, along with an automated message from your principal.  

Please be sure you and your child(ren) are familiar with the Hybrid & Remote Learning Guides above.

BTSD Self-Screening Questionnaire and Health & Safety Reopening Plan:
Please review the BTSD Health & Safety Reopening Plan to learn more about the steps we are taking to keep your child safe. Each morning, all parents are required to screen their children before sending them to school. Please refer to the self-screening questionnaire.
 
Students are required to come to school each day with a mask/face covering.
 
Also, all students are expected to bring a charged Chromebook with them to school each day. 
 
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Orientation Schedule

Shafer and Snyder (7th and 8th grade)

Monday, November 9 (Blue Cohort): 8:05am to 1:30pm

Tuesday, November 10 (Gray Cohort): 8:05am to 1:30pm

 

BHS - (9th Grade Only)

Thursday, November 12 (Blue Cohort): 7:15am to 2:29pm

Friday, November 13 (Gray Cohort): 7:15am to 2:29pm

Transportation will be provided.

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November 5, 2020: Transportation information is available in Community Web Portal (CWP)
 
Log in to CWP and choose Student Information

https://bensalemsd-sapphire.k12system.com/CommunityWebPortal/Welcome.cfm

If you are not yet signed up for CWP, use your child’s log in to access the information.

 

To sign up for a parent account on CWP, follow the instructions in the below link.

https://www.bensalemsd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1880619&type=d&pREC_ID=2029965

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November 3, 2020

 

Dear Staff, Parents, and Guardians,

 

As we begin November, I wanted to provide you with an update regarding our plans for the re-opening of in-person instruction in our schools. We have been closely monitoring continued updates from the Bucks County Department of Health on the coronavirus incidence and positivity rates in our area.

 

Our current planning calls for opening our schools in a hybrid model (mix of in-person and remote learning) on Monday, November 16, at the start of the 2nd marking period. Students have been divided into two cohorts: blue and gray. The blue cohort will be in school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the gray cohort will attend on Thursdays and Fridays. We created this schedule with coordination across buildings, so that siblings can come to school on the same days. This means that our teachers will be teaching with half the class sitting in front of them in school, while the other half of the class is live streaming in from home. The schedule will be different for our students with complex learning needs. They will now be on the Owls schedule, attending in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday with remote learning on Wednesday.

 

The reason for this hybrid schedule is that we simply cannot safely social distance students a minimum of 6 feet apart from themselves and from their teacher unless classes are divided in half. This option, just like virtual instruction, has limitations. It is not an ideal environment for our students, and it is not an ideal teaching situation for teachers who are working with students in front of them, as well as those at home. However, we do not have enough space in the entire district to spread students out sufficiently unless we only bring in half the number of students each day.

 

Further, the logistics of planning for re-entry are complicated. Every aspect and minute of the day must be carefully designed so that students do not walk or gather together as they typically do in groups, whether on the bus, as they walk into or out of school, in the hallways, or sitting in the cafeteria. Principals have devised plans that replicate the schedules that students are on now so as not to disrupt those existing schedules.

 

In an effort to accommodate all students during the COVID-19 pandemic and remain within social distancing guidelines instructional activities will be recorded and/or livestreamed through secure communications applications. These recordings or livestreams could include your child’s voice and/or image.  The livestream or recording is to support the student’s ability to access educational information.  Any such recordings will be destroyed when it is no longer necessary for that purpose.  Recordings shall not be maintained by or otherwise considered educational records of the district for any purpose.

 

I also wish to make everyone aware that the success of re-opening is dependent on the continued partnership between home and school. So far, our student athletes and special learners have done a remarkable job keeping safe and adhering to everything that we have asked of them, and we have not had any instance of intra-school transmission or virus as a result. We hope that all of our families will continue to do their part to ensure that we all adhere to social distancing and wearing masks outside of school, as well as in our schools. We are all in this together, and while we are weary of the restrictions placed on us, we are all well aware of the stories that we have heard about schools that have opened, and have had to shut down again because of positive cases. We do not want that to happen, and we must safeguard the health of every single student and staff member entrusted to us.   

All staff, students and essential visitors MUST screen themselves PRIOR to entering any Bensalem Township School District building.  Click here to view COVID-19 Self Screening Questionnaire

 

Hybrid and Remote Learning Guides for Students & Families

Elementary Grades K – 6

English: https://tinyurl.com/y5ewvgjj

Spanish: https://tinyurl.com/y4cnqq3a

Secondary Grades 7 – 12

English: https://tinyurl.com/btsdhybridsecondaryfamily

Spanish: https://tinyurl.com/btsdhybridsecondaryspanish

Click Here to View 2020-2021 Return to School Brochure

If you have specific questions regarding any aspect of our re-opening plans, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR BUILDING PRINCIPAL.  

 

Thank you for your continued support. We value your thoughts, suggestions, and sentiments, and remain committed to providing the best possible experience for our students during these unusual times.


Sincerely,

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.
District Superintendent

Please check this section regularly for updates.

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October 29, 2020
Last evening, the Board of School Director's approved the revised Health & Safety Plan.
- Blended reopening that balances in-person learning (hybrid) and remote learning for all students beginning on Monday, November 16.
 
- Learning will be synchronous for both in-person and remote learners.
 
 
- Orientation for Middle School students (Grades 7 & 8) will take place as follows: 
November 9 - Blue Cohort
November 10 - Gray Cohort
 
- Orientation for High School students in Grade 9 will take place as follows: 
November 12 - Blue Cohort
November 13 - Gray Cohort
 
- Detailed information will be shared with families next week. 
 
Please check this section regularly for updates.
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October 21, 2020: Message to Bensalem Families
In preparation for our proposed hybrid opening on November 16, parents/guardians can now confirm their hybrid choice for all students, grades K-12.
 
Preliminary information from our recent "Request for Information" has been recorded. Parents/guardians are able to request changes by contacting their building principal.
 
Hybrid choices are:
In-person - 2 days, Remote - 3 days
 
OR
 
Full Remote
 
 
NOTE: When using a cell phone, once logged in, click your child's photo, then profile settings.
 
For students who are full remote, you can view your hybrid team (Blue or Gray) by logging into CWP.
 
 
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