Dear Berlin Families,
I hope this letter finds you well and that you are enjoying the last days of summer. We have been working enthusiastically in preparation for the return of students on September 7 and look forward to welcoming your children back to school!
Through the summer we have been working on the Capital Project, which has brought much needed improvements to both our buildings, BES and BMHS. This work will continue through the school year on weekends and breaks, and into next summer. We also created a Grading policy for Berlin CSD, which will continue to provide consistency in grading within departments and grade levels and also across the whole District. Finally, we worked on drafting a Code of Conduct for each building. This Code will soon be posted online to receive feedback from the community and subsequently undergo necessary modifications before being finalized.
In terms of continuing our instruction for this third year in COVID, our goal is to bring all students back everyday for in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year and to maintain the health and safety of students, teachers and staff for the entirety of the school year. Please see our Continuation of Instruction Plan 2021-2022 which will serve as our roadmap as we move forward, as well as our new COVID-19 FAQ.
The document has been created in coordination with regional school districts and Questar III BOCES, and informed by input from our community forums as well as the NYS Education Department’s Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year, which is aligned with current guidance from the CDC and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed New York state’s Department of Health to institute universal masking for schools. On Friday, the NYSDOH released its formal guidelines of mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status.
The governor also stated that new guidance would be forthcoming by the end of this week, pending a meeting between the NYSDOH and the Public Health Planning Council. Any additional state or county guidance received by school districts in the future will be incorporated into our District’s plans and will be communicated to the community.
Please review proper mask-wearing and hand-washing procedures with your children before the start of school. See this helpful guide from the CDC, which covers how to properly select, wear and clean a mask, among other topics.
Berlin CSD’s Continuation of Instruction Plan also outlines specific health and safety guidelines with respect to athletics, transportation, physical distancing and cafeteria. Notably, we will no longer be requiring parents/guardians/students to complete daily COVID screenings or temperature checks – instead, the District will send periodic reminders to monitor your children’s temperature at home and be watchful for COVID-like symptoms. Visitors will still be required to fill out the COVID-screening form.
We are excited about welcoming your children back into our classrooms and providing them with engaging in-person instruction. We ask for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate the opening of schools while being mindful of the protocols and guidance that will help keep our students, teachers and staff safe and healthy. See you soon!
A. Joseph Dhara
Superintendent of Schools
Berlin Central School District