Back to School 2020-2021 - Updated September 21, 2020

 
 
 
 
 
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First Day of School for All Students - Tuesday, September 8
All Remote Learning until at least November 12 (end of marking period #1)
 
Please check this section regularly for updates.
 
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September 22: Community Web Portal (CWP) Update
 
We appreciate your patience as our schools are working as quickly as possible to approve the large number of CWP parent/guardian applications. You will receive a pin once your account is approved. Please continue to use your child's account until you receive your pin. 
 

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September 21: Chromebook Distribution Update - 6th Grade
 
Chromebooks for our 6th grade students are ready for pick up.
We are working to contact parents/guardians of students in grades K-12 and EL students.  Please refer here for pick up information and hours.  
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September 20: Chromebook Distribution Update - 5th Grade
 
Chromebooks for our 5th grade students are ready for pick up.
We are working to contact parents/guardians of students in grades K-5, 7-12 and EL students in grades K-12.  Please refer here for pick up information and hours.  
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September 14: Chromebook Distribution Update - EL Students
 
Chromebooks for our EL students are now ready for pick up.
We are working to contact parents/guardians of students in grades K-4, 7-12 and EL students in grades K-12.  Please refer here for pick up information and hours.  
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September 7: Chromebook Distribution Update - Kindergarten
 
Chromebooks for our Kindergarten students are ready for pick up.  Our IT Department will be distributing Chromebooks to students in Grades K-4 and 7-12 today from 9am-3pm.

Holiday Weekend Distribution Hours:

Monday, September 7: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Please check out the School News App page under the Parents & Students section for information on our mobile notification app! Updates will be sent via this app, in addition to our postings here and automated calls in regard to the remaining Chromebooks for our 5th, 6th, and EL students.

Please click here for updates.

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September 3 | Chromebook Distribution Update - Labor Day Holiday: Updated September 4

Bensalem Township School District will be closed on Friday, September 4th and Monday, September 7th; however, our IT Department will be distributing Chromebooks to students in Grades 2, 3, 4, and 7 - 12 on these days. 

Chromebooks for our 1st grade and kindergarten students are being prepared. You will receive an automated call when they are available for pick up. We appreciate your patience. 

Holiday Weekend Distribution Hours:

Friday, September 4: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Saturday, September 5: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Sunday, September 6: Closed - No Distribution

Monday, September 7: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

To families of children in Kindergarten, 1st, 5th and 6th grades and EL students:  Your child’s Chromebook may not be ready before September 8. No child will be penalized for missing any work. In the meantime, any device (smartphone or any device which can access the internet) may be used to sign in to Google Classroom. PLEASE LOG IN FOR ATTENDANCE EACH DAY. If you have any device on which your child can access Google Classroom to do school work they should do so. But again, no child will be penalized. We regret the delay and are working as quickly as possible.

Please click here for updates.

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September 2:
 
ELEMENTARY FAMILIES:
 
Did you miss today's orientation and meet the teacher?  Pick up your child's materials tomorrow, Thursday, September 3 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at each elementary school.
 
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September 2:

Dear Parents/Guardians of 5th grade, 6th grade and EL Students only: 

As a result of the international trade restrictions placed on purchases from outside of the Country, we have experienced a significant delay in receiving the new Chromebook order that was placed in early July. Those new devices were intended to be distributed to our fifth grade, sixth grade and EL students, as part of our continued efforts toward our one to one initiative.  

We have been informed the shipment of new Chromebooks should arrive to our District early next week. As soon as we receive the devices, we will expedite distribution. We appreciate your patience.

If you still have your device from last year, please continue to use it and your old device can be exchanged for a new one when they are appropriately prepared. This is only intended for fifth grade, sixth grade and EL students. 

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August 31: 
 
 
 
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August 28:
 
Elementary Families: Watch a short video on what to expect at Elementary Orientation on September 2.
 
Bensalem Families: The below Remote Learning Student Guides will prepare you for the 2020-21 school year, which begins on September 8. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Remote Learning Website:  https://tinyurl.com/BensalemRemote
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BENSALEM SCHOOL DISTRICT FAMILIES: UPDATED AUGUST 26:
 
Please use the below link to access the Community Web Portal (CWP) which replaces Home Access Center (HAC).  
 
DO NOT CLICK FORGET PASSWORD - PARENTS MUST CREATE AN ACCOUNT. 
 
Students already have an account, but need a PIN.  To locate your PIN, click here.
Log in using your username (no @bensalemsd.org required) and password (If your ID number starts with a "0" remember to add a "1")
 
INSTRUCTIONS AND FAQ'S: 
 
COMMUNITY WEB PORTAL (CWP):
 

NOTE : Parents that created an account on August 25 were asked to sign and return the agreement.  Please disregard.  That message was removed at 1 pm yesterday, as we are no longer requiring the agreement to be signed and returned.    

NOTE 2: Applications/Requests will not be processed until September 10th and may take up to 5 business days to be processed. We appreciate your patience. 
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UPDATE August 25: Middle School Families:

In preparation for the middle school orientation and materials pick up on Wednesday, September 2nd, we are asking that all seventh and eighth grade students who will be taking a regular education or co-taught ELA Reading class to complete the correct form (link for both grade levels below) so that teachers can organize and package reading choices to hand out to students.

The ELA Reading curriculum utilizes a reading workshop approach that emphasizes student choice in independent reading where students actively practice the skills and strategies taught during direct instruction.

If your child is taking a GT, supplemental, or self-contained reading class, the form does not need to be completed. If you are unsure, please complete it just in case.

There is an option on the form to obtain independent reading books from your own sources. Please indicate so on the form.

We will honor choices based on the order of the form receipts. Please complete as soon as possible and no later than Friday, August 28th.

Thank you for your support in this endeavor. We look forward to meeting students and distributing materials next week!

Seventh grade form: https://forms.gle/9Vx3gDfnTbUgytmK6

Eighth grade form: https://forms.gle/fd8QtGpdDpTggrTi7

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UPDATE August 24: Bensalem High School Families:

As we are set to begin the 2020-2021 school year at BHS, we are once again preparing to do something we have never done before. We will be beginning the school year in a virtual environment and plan to make it the best it can be for our students. In addition to the use of Schoology as our learning management system, there are still physical materials that students will need to be prepared for success. As much as we would like to distribute materials class by class, in our classrooms, with our teachers, we need to follow social distancing and health and safety guidelines. We will be conducting a "drive thru" material pick up system beginning on Wednesday August 26, 2020 and concluding on Tuesday September 1, 2020.

Please use the link below to select a date and time to pick up your materials. All cars should enter the campus, head around the back of the school and pull up to either the main entrance or the gym lobby (someone will instruct you when you arrive) to pick up your child’s materials.
https://forms.gle/a4mJFCMJpZSq3yg98

Please make sure you note the date and time you select. Please adhere to the time you select to keep the flow of material handout moving. If the form tells you that there are no more time slots on the date you selected, please go back and choose a new date before submitting the form. We are looking forward to a new school year.

**Please note: BHS will not be distributing Chromebooks using this system. This material pick up is for classroom materials like textbooks, etc.**

For Chromebook information go to: https://www.bensalemsd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1240172&type=d&pREC_ID=2029872

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August 24, 2020
 
UPDATE: Middle School Families: Students will have the opportunity to pick up materials for the 2020-2021 school year and meet teachers on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Only students will be allowed in the building. Parents will be asked to update contact information and take a brief technology survey outside the building.  
 
In order to facilitate large crowds and parking, we strongly recommend that students arrive during the follow time slots:
8:30 - 9:30 AM              Students whose last name begins with A-F
9:30 - 10:30 AM            Students whose last name begins with G-L
10:30 - 11:30 AM          Students whose last name begins with M-R
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM    Students whose last name begins with S-Z
 
If you are not able to arrive at your assigned time, please feel free to arrive anytime between 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM.  If you cannot attend on September 2nd, please contact your school. 215-750-2800   Shafer - Ext. 2200 or 2212         Snyder - Ext. 2300 or 2312
 
Face coverings are required and social distancing protocols will be in place in coordination with the District's Health & Safety Plan.
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August 21, 2020 

Dear Bensalem Community, 

On September 8, we will begin the 2020-2021 school year.  We will continue with an all remote platform until at least November 12 (end of marking period #1). We will re-evaluate in mid-October. 

Staying in Touch

As we continue our efforts to provide families with information and resources to prepare to return to school, we ask that you visit this section of our website regularly for updates.  This information is intended to help families gain a greater understanding of what the remote experience will look like, while helping them prepare their children to return to school.

Elementary Families: Elementary students will be receiving a letter inviting them to a student orientation taking place on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.  All students in grades K-6 will have the opportunity to meet their teacher face to face during an assigned 25 minute time block. One adult will be permitted in the building per child. Students will receive materials for the start of the school year (Please bring a backpack/tote bag). Parents will be asked to update contact information and take a brief technology survey. The mailing will include your child's name, ID number, homeroom teacher and orientation time (between 8 am and 12:30 pm). Face coverings are required and social distancing protocols will be in place in coordination with the District's Health & Safety Plan.

If you are not able to attend during your 25 minute time period on September 2, you may "drive thru" and pick up materials on September 3 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.  If you are not available on September 2 or 3, please contact your school. 

215-750-2800

Belmont Hills: Ms. McGowan - kmcgowan@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1100

Cornwells: Dr. Mark - smark@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1200

Faust: Ms. Sauers - jsauers@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1300

Rush: Mrs. Richey - jrichey@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1400

Struble: Mrs. Judy - ljudy@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1500

Valley: Mr. Pratt - spratt@bensalemsd.org or Mr. Thierjung - jthierjung@bensalemsd.org - Ext. 1600 

Middle School Families: Students will have the opportunity to pick up materials for the 2020-2021 school year and meet teachers on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Only students will be permitted in the building. Parents will be asked to update contact information and take a brief technology survey outside the building.  You may arrive between 8 am and 1:30 pm. Additional information regarding time blocks will be posted in this section of the website. Face coverings are required and social distancing protocols will be in place in coordination with the District's Health & Safety Plan.

High School Families: Information will be conveyed shortly. 

Schedules and Class Assignments

  • Bensalem High School, Shafer Middle School, and Snyder Middle School student schedules will be available on-line beginning on August 26. 
  • Elementary class assignments will be available on-line the week of August 31.
  • Information on how to access the schedule/class assignments will be posted in this section of the website shortly. 

Gearing Up for 2020-21 - Technology and Resources are Key

As we begin the 2020-21 school year in a 100% remote learning environment, our technology and innovation staff are sorting and preparing devices for distribution. Chromebooks will be distributed to students in grades K-12, that do not already have a device assigned to them (1:1 device), beginning the week of August 24.  Students that received a “loaner” device in March must return that unit when they receive the Chromebook that will be assigned to them. Families will be notified by grade level with detailed instructions to help them prepare to pick up their device.  Additionally, we will post the grade level pick up information here.

Remote Learning Program Highlights

  • CURRICULUM: Same as in school, refined for remote learning. Aligned to Pennsylvania State Standards
  • DELIVERY MODEL: Asynchronous/flexible instruction, lessons created by Bensalem teachers. Daily attendance is required.
  • ACADEMIC SUPPORT: Virtual office hours with Bensalem teachers & staff
  • GENERAL SUPPORT: Virtual office hours with PA certified school counselors. Large virtual assemblies (school wide, grade level etc.).
  • TECHNOLOGY: Devices available for every student.
  • TECH. SUPPORT: Local, full time technology support staff available to assist.
  • ADMINISTRATION: Bensalem principals and administration readily available to support you with your questions and/or concerns.
  • STAY CONNECTED: Seamless transition back to brick & mortar school. 

Elementary K-6 Remote Learning

  • 900 annual hours/180 days of school = 5 hours daily instructional hours.
  • Google Classroom will serve as the Learning Management System for class.
  • PLUGGED IN: activities could include watching direct instruction lessons, online research, discussion boards, computer based learning programs (Imagine Math, virtual Units of Study, early literacy program, Brainpop, etc.).
  • UNPLUGGED: activities could include reading a book, art project, hands on activities, real-world observations, workbook activities, physical exercise etc. 

Secondary 7-12 Remote Learning

  • 990 annual hours/180 days of school = 5.5 hours daily instructional hours.
  • For each class a student has, they will receive approximately 45-50 minutes of a remote learning experience each day that encompasses direct instruction and learning activities.
  • Schoology will serve as the Learning Management System for all courses.
  • College & Career counseling provided by School Counselors. 

Remote Learning Summary

  • Daily asynchronous learning. This allows students flexibility in completing their work.
  • Designed for student engagement.
  • Supplemented with synchronous optional activities.
  • Improved streamlining and communication for families.
  • Increased technology for 1:1 student devices.
  • Orientation resources for families, caregivers and students.
  • Prevents risk of COVID exposure to greatest degree.
  • Allows phased-in approach to bringing highest need students in (such as students with extensive learning needs related to their disabilities).
  • Significantly reduces concerns related to health and safety. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  We value your thoughts, suggestions, and sentiments, and remain committed to providing an exceptional experience for our students during these unusual times.  Bensalem Strong!

Sincerely, 

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.

District Superintendent

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August 20, 2020
 
Elementary Families: Look for a letter regarding Elementary Orientation taking place on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.  All students in grades K-6 will have the opportunity to meet their teacher face to face during an assigned 25 minute time block. One adult will be allowed in the building per child. Students will receive materials for the start of the school year (Please bring a backpack). Parents will be asked to update contact information and take a brief technology survey. The mailing will include your child's name, ID number, homeroom teacher and orientation time (between 8 am and 12:30 pm). Face coverings are required and social distancing protocols will be in place in coordination with the District's Health & Safety Plan.
 
If you are not able to attend during your 25 minute time slot on September 2, you may "drive thru" and pick up materials on September 3 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.  If you are not available on September 2 or 3, please contact your school. 
215-750-2800
Belmont Hills: Ms. McGowan - kmcgowan@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1100
Cornwells: Dr. Mark - smark@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1200
Faust: Ms. Sauers - jsauers@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1300
Rush: Mrs. Richey - jrichey@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1400
Struble: Mrs. Judy - ljudy@bensalemsd.org Ext. 1500
Valley: Mr. Pratt - spratt@bensalemsd.org or Mr. Thierjung - jthierjung@bensalemsd.org - Ext. 1600
 
Middle School Families: Students will have the opportunity to pick up materials for the 2020-2021 school year and meet teachers on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Only students will be allowed in the building. Parents will be asked to update contact information and take a brief technology survey outside the building.  You may arrive between 8 am and 1:30 pm. Face coverings are required and social distancing protocols will be in place in coordination with the District's Health & Safety Plan.

High School Families: Information will be conveyed shortly. 

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August 18, 2020
 
SCHEDULES AND CLASS ASSIGNMENTS

Bensalem High School, Shafer Middle School, and Snyder Middle School student schedules will be available on-line beginning on August 26th. 

Elementary class assignments will be available on-line the week of August 31st.

Please use the below link to create a Community Web Portal (CWP) Account.  CWP replaces HAC.
DO NOT CLICK FORGET PASSWORD - YOU MUST CREATE AN ACCOUNT.
 

The first day of Remote Learning for all students is September 8th.

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Technology Update - August 13, 2020

 

We are working to provide every student in the district with a Chromebook (those students that do not already have one), in order to support our students and their families through virtual learning.  We will be distributing Chromebooks by grade levels, and will provide you with updates explaining the distribution process.  We ask for your patience as we will be handing out approximately 4000 Chromebooks district wide.

 

Please continue to look for updated information here.

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August 13, 2020
 
At the Board meeting last evening, our administration recommended and the Board approved all remote learning until at least November 12th (end of marking period). We will re-evaluate in mid-October.
 
 
Please stay up to date by visiting this section of our website.
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August 7, 2020

Dear Bensalem Township School District Families,

As I shared in the Instructional Affairs Committee meeting on August 4th, I am recommending to the Board of School Directors that we start the 2020-2021 school year remotely.  The Continued Action Meeting for the Board to act on this recommendation will take place on August 12th.  If approved, remote instruction will be in place in all Bensalem Township School District schools through the end of the first marking period (November 12th).  It is our hope that we can return to our school buildings in at least some capacity after that date; however, we will re-evaluate the health situation and our program on October 9th. 

We believe that with the careful plans put into place to combat COVID-19 risks we could open in a hybrid setting.  However, a school closure or learning disruption would be inevitable, and stability and consistency are essential to student learning. With COVID-19 cases increasing over the past month, it has become abundantly clear that a hybrid model could see intermittent school closures on a weekly basis, which would not only do a disservice to student learning, but would also continue to put our community members’ health in jeopardy. Also, likely inadequate staffing levels due to requests for leaves of absence, illnesses, and expected quarantines–would compromise our ability to safely operate our schools on a daily basis. Starting our school year remotely provides the best opportunity for COVID mitigation and safety, as well as the best option for educational continuity and consistency.

While we may start school remotely, the district will continue to develop and refine our hybrid model so that we can safely operate in that setting in the future. The survey links below, that we shared on Wednesday, will help guide our plan to transition to hybrid learning in the future.  We appreciate you completing the survey by August 9th.

 

Please know that Bensalem Township School District’s proposed remote instructional model will look entirely different than remote learning did in the spring of 2020. Our remote program will include asynchronous learning through Bensalem Township School District curriculums, with lessons taught by our teachers.  Additionally, we continue to review how to best support those students in special education with complex support needs.

Please stay up-to-date by visiting this section of our website regularly.

Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to sharing more about our Health, Safety and Instructional Plan in the coming weeks.

Sincerely, 

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.

District Superintendent

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August 5, 2020 

Dear Bensalem Community,

Thank you for your virtual attendance and contributions during the July 28th special school board meeting. As you are aware, the Board of School Directors approved the Pennsylvania Department of Education Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan and a revised start date of September 8, 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that this is our Health & Safety Plan and not a Continuity of Education Plan. We continue to review and refine educational options.

We remain grateful for all of the comments and questions you have shared, as this provides crucial information as we advance our planning. The link below allows you to view the June 26 – July 6 Parent/Staff Survey Results. This data presents a snapshot in time, a seemingly different time in this very fluid COVID 19 environment.

Survey Results

 

To help us continue to plan, please complete the following survey no later than Sunday, August 9.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BTSDreopening

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BTSD_Spanish

Please visit this section of our website regularly for updates.

The pandemic remains a very fluid situation, and we continue to monitor advice and direction from local and state health authorities. Thank you for your continued support. We are working as quickly and as hard as we can to find a path forward that we feel is responsible and reasonable.

Sincerely, 

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.

District Superintendent

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At the Special Action Meeting on July 28th, the Board of School Directors approved Board Resolution No. #01 (2020-2021) declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic is an emergency within the meaning of Section 520.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code and the Pennsylvania Department of Education Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan for the Bensalem Township School District.
 
The July 28th Presentation explains how a hybrid plan would work with half of our students in one day and half in the other day, with a full remote on the fifth day of school. 
 
Check back often for more information.
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July 25, 2020

Dear Bensalem Township School District Community:

I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying time with your family. We have been working intensely on matters pertaining to reopening schools, including the development of the District’s Reopening Health and Safety Plan and our Continuity of Education Plans.  The District’s Reopening Health & Safety Plan will be considered at the July 28th Special Board Action Meeting. The Athletic Health and Safety Plan was approved by our Board in June.  

Our Plan will guide and support us in anticipation of welcoming students and staff back to school.  It focuses on health screenings, good hygiene practices, sanitation and disinfecting practices, proper ventilation and air flow, social distancing, facial coverings, transportation, food service, response for possible COVID-19 positive cases in school(s), and overall health and safety considerations for students and staff.  Plan provisions have been developed in collaboration with the Bucks County Department of Health and in consideration of guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It defines how we will act when we are together in our schools. It does NOT commit us to any particular Continuity of Education Plan.

In the context of planning safety measures, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Health and Safety Plan document does ask us to choose and our Board to vote upon one of the following options on its form, as follows: 

  1. Total reopening for all students/staff (some students/families opt for distance learning out of safety/health concerns);
  2. Scaffolded reopening: Some students/grades are engaged in in-person learning, while others are distance learning;
  3. Blended reopening that balances in-person learning and remote learning  (i.e. alternating days or weeks). 
  4. Total remote learning for all students

For distance learning, we currently offer our own Bensalem Virtual Academy (a cyber program).  This year it will serve elementary and secondary students (K-12).  However, we are also working to develop a full remote option staffed by Bensalem teachers, which may be a better option for those who opt not to return to in-school instruction.  (Remote Option

At this time, the blended reopening, also known as a hybrid model, appears to be the most feasible option. It would reconnect students with teachers, schools, and each other. It would also provide the best in-person opportunity for COVID mitigation through decreased numbers of students in school at the same time, and more opportunity for our operations team to sanitize. We are proposing a hybrid framework for consideration at the July 28th Special Action Board Meeting,  as part of the Health and Safety Plan. In our proposal, students would be in school two days and remote three days per week.  Here is a link to that proposal. (Hybrid Program) 

Thank you for responding to the survey earlier this month. Your responses are integral as we continue to develop our plans, while keeping in mind the overall impact our schools have on the entire Bensalem community. We also appreciate you taking the time to submit your questions for our Virtual Question & Answer Forum with Dr. David Damsker, Director of Bucks County Department of Health.  We will be asking for more input from our community in the near future.  We appreciate your patience, understanding and continued support as we prepare for our students’ return to school.

Sincerely, 

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.

District Superintendent

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July 10, 2020

 

Dear Bensalem Community:

 

As we plan for the reopening of Bensalem Township School District schools it is imperative that community members know that on a daily basis our administration is reviewing, managing and applying massive amounts of research to our planning process. Numerous work groups are involved in developing the plans as we move forward to ensure all operational and student-centric needs are being addressed. Thank you to our parents, high school students, staff, and faculty for completing our district survey. 

 

We continue to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Bucks County Department of Health. Our planning is and must be fluid and flexible, because directives from officials are being updated continuously. In fact, we anticipate more guidance from the state shortly.

 

Plan development to date includes the following considerations for return to school.  The reopening plan will be shared with our Board in advance of the Special Board Action Meeting on Tuesday, July 28th.

 

- Alignment of our efforts for cleaning, sanitizing and ventilation to mitigate spread in all buildings, rooms and high-contact areas

- Strategically review and modify in-building “traffic” patterns in hallways and stairwells

- Reconfiguration of classroom seating and set-up

- Social distancing of 6 feet when feasible, practical and possible, Bucks and WHO permit 3’

- Mask-wearing per updated state guidelines and additional PPE, as needed

- Limiting of visitors within buildings

- Adjusted lunch protocol, as required

- Limiting field trips, large group gatherings

- Alter transportation seating to require two students per seat at the secondary level. (Elementary most impacted). Sanitize and disinfect all buses.

- Health monitoring:

- Asking families to screen students before sending them to school, keeping students home if symptomatic

- Asking staff to self-screen and stay home if symptomatic

- Defined protocols in place in the event of a COVID-19 positive student or staff member in communication with the Bucks County Department of Health.

 

Could these components change?  It is very likely that changes will be made as we continue to review research, monitor data trends, and receive guidance from the state and county. We ask the patience of the community as we focus on the safety of our District’s students, staff, and faculty.  

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Samuel Lee, Ed.D.

District Superintendent