Reopening Our Schools

To find the latest information about school reopening, please use the links below. Berlin CSD's top priorities are the health and safety of our students and staff and the academic and social emotional needs of our students.

Reopening Plan | Resources | Reopening Task Force | NYSED Guidelines

Berlin CSD Reopening Plan

Here is the district’s reopening plan for September 2020. This plan will be submitted to New York State by July 31. Please note, we will continue to update this plan as more details are finalized. The district will offer a survey in the first week of August to gather questions from parents. Thank you.

Introduction

The Berlin Central School District worked with a cross-section of stakeholders to develop school reopening plans that provide a safe learning environment for students and staff this fall. Stakeholders followed the guidance released by the New York State Education Department to create a comprehensive plan that centers around the health and safety of our school community to provide equity and access to a quality education while also meeting the social-emotional needs
of our students.

The Berlin Central School District school reopening plans were informed by six school reopening subcommittees as well as a District Facilitators Committee. The sub-committees were composed of parents, teachers, staff members, community members and other local representatives. The committees were established to assist the district in the development of our reopening plans by providing feedback and insights pertinent to their respective roles.

The committees met several times each week with a total of 52 participating individuals. Additionally, parents and staff were surveyed to collect and analyze pertinent information to be considered when developing this plan. The committees used the district’s mission statement, “The goal of the Berlin School District is to provide the best possible educational services to the greatest extent possible under the given circumstances”  as a focal point to ensure our plan supported this mission. The committees reviewed a plethora of resources such as published school reopening research, CDC guidelines, resources from NYS Department of Health, reopening plans from other states and other NYS Districts, Questar III documents, and guidance provided by the New York State Education Department.

The following principles guided the Berlin Central School District reopening plans:

  • The health, safety, and well-being of our students and adults is our top priority.
  • Equity and access for all students within our diverse school population must be a
    consideration for every part of our plan.
  • Flexibility to provide in person, remote and a hybrid learning environment as needed so that we are prepared to move from one model to another if regulatory changes occur during the school year.
  • The Berlin Central School District school reopening plans are student-centered with a safe learning environment at its core.

Following is the detailed plan for the Berlin Central School District, including the Berlin Elementary School and the Berlin Middle-High School.

Communication/Family and Community Engagement

Communication between the district and students, parents and staff, as well as fostering family engagement, is of utmost importance. Schools and districts must develop a communications plan for students, parents or legal guardians of students, staff, and visitors that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide individuals with information
via web pages, text and email groups, and/or social media groups or posts.

All students must be taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper use of face covering, social distancing and respiratory hygiene.

Schools and districts must encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g. signage) to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically acceptable face coverings, when a social distance cannot be maintained.

Communications must be provided in the language(s) spoken at home among families and throughout the school community. Written plans must be accessible to those with visual and/or hearing impairments.

Required by NYSED or NYSDOH

  • Post and maintain all school reopening plans on the District website and have hard copies available at each school in the languages spoken by families.
  • Immediately notify parents through School Messenger (the district’s messaging system) of any confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 within the school community.
  • Immediately notify the local health department about potential COVID cases and work closely with local health department guidelines for contact tracing and coordination as needed.

To best communicate district expectations, inform parents on pertinent information, and ensure the fluidity of communication between the school and the home as it pertains to school business, the district will:

  • Maintain regular communication with parents through the following platforms:
    • School Messenger
    • Schoology
    • Parent emails
    • The Berlin Central School District Website
    • The Berlin Central School District FaceBook Page
  • Individual teachers will be assigned to specific student cohorts in order to ensure that daily communications with each and every student is maintained through a protocol called Daily Point of Contact . This will be employed either through face-to-face communications when students are on campus, or some form of electronic/digital communication when students are working remotely. The expectations of the Daily Point of Contact is that contact with the student is made, not simply attempted.

Health and Safety

Schools and districts are required to perform health checks and screenings, per NYSED and NYSDOH guidance, and recognize signs and symptoms of illness in students and staff; maximize social distancing; manage and isolate ill persons until they can be sent home; instruct students and staff in proper hand and respiratory hygiene; require face coverings; and clean/disinfect the schools in accordance with NYSED, NYSDOH, and CDC guidance.

All students and staff are required to:

  • Wear a face covering over their nose, mouth and chin except when engaged in
    instruction, eating, or seated at a desk that is socially distant from peers and staff, or behind approved dividers.
  • Wear a face covering to ride the school bus. Face covering must be worn at all times while entering, exiting, and while seated on the bus.
  • School bus drivers and aides must wear a face covering while driving students to/from school.
  • Maintain 6 feet of social distancing while in school and on school grounds wherever appropriate (e.g. common areas such as entrances/exits, lobbies, hallways, etc.)
  • Strictly adhere to all directional signage or other COVID-19 related materials displayed throughout the school buildings.
  • Participate in daily health screenings.
  • Participate in training provided by the District on proper practices of hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and social distancing.
  • Student drivers and students being dropped off by parents/guardians at the MS/HS will be screened upon arrival. A window of time will be determined for each building and released to the families shortly.
  • Student drivers, students being dropped off by parents/guardians, and anyone who has not completed the daily screening app must report to the designated screening stations located near the main entrance before entering the school buildings.

Parents must:

  • Complete daily, a digital health screening at home and report results to the EduForm app. Further guidance will be provided. Parents must keep their child(ren) home from school if they display a temperature greater than 100.0 Fahrenheit or are not feeling well.
  • Drive student(s) to school if digital health screening is not reported to the app by the specified time.
  • Students will be allowed to board the bus if parents can provide proof of completion of a health survey prior to bus arrival.
  • Prior to the start of the new school year, parents must make arrangements to have their child picked up from school in the event he or she becomes ill during the day, as determined by the school nurse, within one hour of being notified of illness.

The District will:

  • The district will establish screening stations near the main entrances to the MS/HS and Elementary School buildings. Student drivers, students being dropped off, visitors, guests and vendors must first report to the screening stations before entering the school buildings.
  • Ensure that personnel performing in-person screening activities are properly trained and appropriately protected from exposure.
  • Ensure all students, faculty and staff wear face coverings when social distancing in common areas, such as entrances/exits, lobbies, and when traveling around school grounds is not possible.
  • Require daily temperature checks for all individuals before entering our schools. No one with a temperature greater than 100 Fahrenheit will be permitted to enter except to be quarantined in a designated, supervised area until the individual(s) can be safely removed from school premises. All efforts will be made to protect the confidentiality of the individual(s). Any individual with a temperature >100 degrees will be sent home with instructions to contact their health care provider for guidance.
  • Ensures a written protocol to instruct staff to observe for signs of illness in students and staff and requires symptomatic persons or persons with a positive response to questionnaire to be sent to the school nurse or designated isolation room for assessment.
  • Ensures a written protocol detailing how the district/school will provide accommodations to all students and staff who are at high risk or live with a person who is high risk.
  • Ensures a written protocol that complies with CDC guidance for the return of students and staff to school following illness or diagnosis of confirmed cases of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID. Any return to school will be coordinated with the local health department.
  • Ensure all ill students and staff be assessed by the school nurse (RN), and that if a school nurse is not available, ill students will be sent home for follow up with a health care provider.
  • Ensure all visitors will obtain prior approval from the building principals before visiting, and ensure that each visitor completes a health screening before entry.
  • The district will designate a COVID-19 Safety Coordinator whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.
  • Immediately notify the local health department about positive COVID cases and work closely with local health department guidelines for contact tracing and coordination as needed.
  • Ensure social distancing (of at least 6 feet or a physical barrier) is maintained while in school facilities and on school grounds.
  • Consult with the local health department about the requirements for determining when an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 can return to the in-person learning environment or return to work.
  • Provide disposable face coverings for anyone without a face covering.
  • Provide guidance on regular cleaning of cloth face coverings.
  • Provide appropriate PPE for faculty and staff as needed.
  • Train all students, faculty and staff on how to adequately put on, take off and discard PPE.
  • Ensure social distancing while eating on school grounds for all faculty, staff and students.
  • Prohibit sharing of food and beverages (e.g. buffet style meals, snacks) unless individuals reside in the same household.
  • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations, including handwashing soap, warm water, and disposable paper towels, as well as alcohol hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or more) for areas where handwashing is not feasible.
  • Develop protocols for caring for a student, faculty, or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, including:
      1. Identifying a dedicated area to separate students, faculty or staff with COVID-19 symptoms until they can go home or to a healthcare facility.
      2. Plans to ensure that symptomatic students waiting to be picked up remain under the visual supervision of a staff member who is physically distanced;
      3. PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals, which must include standard and transmission-based precautions.
  • The district will consult with the local health department on local hospital capacity.
  • Conduct daily cleaning and disinfection of facilities, and more frequent cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces used by many individuals including furniture, fixtures, door hardware, hand railings and other high traffic areas/surfaces.
  • Ensure daily cleaning and disinfection of restrooms and high touch areas where distancing rules will apply.
  • Provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19. Cleaning and disinfection practices that follow CDC guidelines will include high touch surfaces such as desks, fixtures, door hardware, hand railings, and cafeteria tables.
  • Establish protocols for disinfection of all areas of the schools to prepare for different groups of students. All products used will be in compliance with all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Maintain logs that include date, time and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
  • Restrict school visitors to those required for school business, and will require prior approval from the building principal.
  • Train students and staff on proper hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and social distancing practices as per CDC guidelines.
  • Ensure “breaks” from face coverings when necessary.
  • Encourage outside, fresh air learning when feasible.

Facilities

The Berlin Central School District will use our two existing school buildings for instruction in the 2020-2021 school year. The Berlin Elementary School will continue to house the Pre-K through grade 5 students. The Berlin Middle High School will house the grades 6 through 12 students. There will be no structural changes or additions to either school. Any renovations under the current building construction project will be completed according to the approved plans submitted to NYSED prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Plan for Berlin Elementary School and Berlin Middle High School

The District will:

  • Require and promote social distancing while maintaining existing safety requirements designed to protect students and staff.
  • Ensure ventilation and filtration requirements will be met or exceeded to support increased air quality.
  • Require mandatory fire and lockdown drills are conducted. These drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.
  • Conduct daily cleaning and disinfection of facilities, and more frequent cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas used by many individuals including furniture, fixtures, door hardware, hand railings and other high traffic areas/surfaces.
  • Ensure daily cleaning and disinfection of restrooms where distancing rules will apply.
  • Provide for the deep-cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19. Daily cleaning and disinfection practices that follow CDC guidelines will include high touch surfaces such as desks, fixtures, door hardware, hand railings, and cafeteria tables.
  • Establish protocols for disinfection of all areas of the schools to prepare for different groups of students. All products used will be in compliance with all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Maintain logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
  • Design hallway traffic patterns, where possible, with appropriate signage for separation and social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Ensure stairwells are one way where applicable (specifically at the Berlin Elementary School). These one way routes will not be used during emergency drills or evacuations.
  • Encourage teachers to have windows open and conduct outdoor instruction classes where practical and feasible.
  • Berlin Elementary School student tables will be subdivided with approved polycarbonate partitions. The District reopening plan will include the use of plastic separators that will comply with the 2020 BCNYS Section 2606.
  • Encourage bus drivers to open windows and vents, weather permitting.
  • Prohibit the use of lockers.
  • Reduce the number of materials students need with them on a daily basis.
  • Though not specific to COVID-19 related planning, each school will ensure compliance with the 2020 Building Condition Survey and Visual Inspection, where applicable.
  • Though not specific to COVID-19 related planning, conduct Lead-In-Water Testing as required by NYS DOH regulation 67-4, will be conducted according to the existing schedules.
  • Each school may provide alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers at various locations throughout the buildings. These may include school entrances, school hallways, or large instructional areas. These will be installed in accordance with FCNYS 2020 Section 5705.5.

The Berlin Central School District has determined that the following items do not apply:

    1. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not include changes or additions to facilities. Any future changes to the buildings, if any, will comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code and submit all changes to SED OFP.
    2. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not include the installation of dividers in classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, auditoriums, gymnasiums, doors, and other points of controlled congregation.
    3. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not include new building construction and / or any temporary quarters project.
    4. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not include new facilities for leasing.
    5. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not include the temporary or permanent use of tents.
    6. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not change the existing nor alter the number of toilet and sink fixtures.
    7. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan does not have any project submissions only dedicated to “COVID-19 Reopening”.
    8. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan uses the existing drinking fountains/bottle filling stations in each building and provides at least one drinking fountain per one hundred occupants.
    9. The Berlin Central School District reopening plan must provide written plans on how to maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.

Child Nutrition

  • Breakfast and lunch will be pre-packaged and served to ensure appropriate social distancing, including allowance for eating in classrooms.
  • The district will provide all enrolled students with school meals each school day whether in attendance at school or learning remotely. The process for food stations/delivery is being developed.
  • The district reopening will continue to follow all applicable health and safety guidelines.
  • Alternate locations will be provided for students with severe food allergies, as needed.
  • The district will provide training for how students will perform hand hygiene before and after eating, how appropriate hand hygiene will be promoted, and how sharing of food and beverages will be discouraged. Students will be supervised during meal times and prohibited from sharing food and beverages unless members of the same household.
  • Prior to the practice of utilizing common areas for mealtimes, protocols and procedures for cleaning and disinfection of these areas between groups of students will be developed in coordination with the Buildings and Grounds department.
  • The district will continue to ensure compliance with Child Nutrition Program
    requirements.
  • The district will communicate with families through multiple means in the languages spoken by families as coordinated by the School Guidance department.

Transportation

  • Buses will have no more than one student per seat with a maximum of 22 students on a 66 passenger bus, unless multiple students from the same household allows for greater capacity.
  • Students will be assigned seats for appropriate social distancing.
  • At this time, there will be no sports trips, field trips or late runs.
  • Parents/guardians must screen their child(ren) for fever/signs of COVID prior to getting on the bus; sick students must be kept home. Students will not be permitted to ride the bus if their screening is incomplete or their temperature is above 100 degrees.
  • Parents are encouraged to drive their children where feasible.
  • Staggered school arrival times and dismissal procedures will likely be necessary. This will be communicated to families prior to the start of school.
  • Buses will be fully disinfected at the end of everyday using an approved disinfectant, following all CDC and DOH guidelines, as well as disinfecting high touch areas between A.M. and P.M. runs.
  • Drivers, attendants, and students are required to wear face coverings while loading, riding, and unloading with the exception of those who cannot mentally or physically wear them. Students without face coverings will not be denied transportation. Face coverings and gloves will be provided for those who need them. Staff with direct physical contact with students must wear gloves. Hand sanitizer is not allowed on the bus in any capacity.
  • All staff and students will be trained on safe procedures for wearing and cleaning of face coverings, recognizing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, proper hand washing techniques, proper social distancing and the proper use and care of other personal protective equipment. All transportation staff will have periodic refreshers on these procedures to serve as important safety reminders, as well as to be informed of any updates or changes.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be set up throughout the transportation building and all employees are expected to use it upon entering the building, when handwashing with soap and water is not feasible, and anytime their hands are soiled.
  • Employees and students will be required to perform daily health screening at home and follow proper procedures set forth by CDC and DOH should they present a fever over 100 degrees or answer yes to any of the screening questions.
  • For out-of-district transportation, the district will follow its current procedure regarding transportation when the district is in session, in-person or remotely, only. Due to social distancing requirements, only those students who meet the 15 mile limitation will receive transportation. Those students who live further than 15 miles from their school, will not be offered transportation even if there is a scheduled run to that location.

Social-Emotional Well Being

Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Plan

Berlin CSD currently implements a comprehensive school counseling plan based on the framework of the American School Counselors Association (ASCA). This plan covers services at a multi-tiered level as provided by school counselors and other mental health staff (school social worker, student assistance counselor, school psychologists). Universal (class-wide, building-wide, and district-wide), targeted, and intensive supports within a tiered framework are outlined and implemented through this plan.

The Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program Plan is continually addressed through district-level work within student support teams which consist of both counseling and administrative staff. These teams also have regular communication and collaboration with community-based service providers through School-Community Partnership meetings as well as direct consultation between the team and community providers. This will be supplemented and supported in the 2020-2021 school year through continued work of the Social-Emotional Sub-Committee for the COVID-19 School-based Task Force, which also includes teachers and community stakeholders (parents), as-needed.

Social-Emotional Resources for Students, Families, and Staff

Resources regarding mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs will be distributed to families through electronic (school website, email, social media) and/or physical means (physical packets, pamphlets, flyers, etc). School-based mental health staff will continue to provide community resources and referrals to individual families on an as-needed basis to address mental health, emotional, or behavioral needs that cannot be addressed solely through school-based supports.

Social-emotional learning resources will be distributed to teachers and other staff to support incorporating SEL into both in-person and remote learning experiences, with professional development to be provided as-needed to increase knowledge and understanding of programming, implementation, screening, and progress-monitoring. Resources and supports (which can include PD) will also be provided directly to staff to increase knowledge and use of self-care and other coping strategies both in and out of the classroom, and structured opportunities will be provided for both students and staff to spend time with and support one
another regardless of whether learning is in-person or remote.

School Schedules

  • Time will be dedicated during the first week of school as orientation for PK-12 students in order to familiarize students with the new school year, and new COVID-19 related protocols.
  • Instructional models have been created to reduce the number of individuals on campus on any given day. PK-6 – M,T, H, F w/ Remote Learning on Wednesday; 7-12 – Cohort Rotation w/ each student attending in-person on-campus learning 2xs/wk. (M, T, H, F w/ Remote Learning on Wednesday). For any days on which the PK-12 students are not on-campus, remote learning experiences will be provided by, or directed by, a certified teacher.

Budget and Fiscal Matters

  • The district will continue to meet existing state aid reporting requirements.
  • The district will ensure that the content of data submissions, such as attendance data, will remain consistent with past practice, except where modified by necessity, law, regulation or executive order.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Schools must collect and report daily teacher-student engagement or attendance whether the setting is in person, remote or hybrid. School policies and procedures must focus on the academic consequences of lost instructional time and address absences before students fall behind in school.

  • Student and staff attendance will be taken regularly based on either in-person or remote learning expectations.
  • Monitoring of student attendance and attendance to work will be managed by student support teams, as well as through the Daily Point of Contact procedures established by the District.
  • Participation in learning experiences will be recorded by classroom teachers.

Technology and Connectivity

  • The District will determine the level of access all students and teachers have in their place of residence through multiple means of communication.
  • The district will issue 1:1 devices for all staff who need them and to all students regardless of instructional model. Internet access will be discussed and means of accessibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • The District will provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate their mastery of the learning standards in remote and hybrid instructional models.

Teaching and Learning

  • The BCSD hybrid plan provides adaptability and flexibility depending on variability within state requirements. The hybrid plan allows the ability to address social distancing requirements within each school building and space constraints, including the unique challenges that are associated with classroom design and practice. Additionally, reducing the overall daily student in-person enrollment allows us to provide sufficient space in order to implement the NYS Guidelines regarding social distancing.
  • BCSD will adopt a four day/week Hybrid Model calendar for the 2020-21 School Year. The hybrid (blended) model will include a combination of remote and in-person learning.
  • The Elementary Hybrid Model will run four days per week and will allow for elementary students in grades PK-6 to attend in-person, on-campus learning that fully incorporates the social distancing, as well as health and safety protocols outlined by the NYS Department of Health. Classes will run every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with remote learning on Wednesdays.
  • Wednesdays will be remote learning days for all students to allow for systemic flexibility throughout the year, including necessary deep-cleaning and professional development (or professional responsibilities).
  • All staff will report to the building everyday, including Wednesdays.
  • While at the school, morning (BMHS) or afternoon (BES) sessions will include a variation of either Professional Development opportunities, Team Meetings, COVID-19 related Sub-Committee Meetings, or other events that promote best teaching and learning, maximize the schools’ response to changing conditions, and ensures that students receive the supports they need to achieve the best educational results possible.
  • Opposite professional responsibility meetings, Wednesday mornings (BES) or afternoons (BMHS), the model will switch to a variety of remote learning opportunities for students. These opportunities may include 1:1 or small group tutorials, conferencing, group work, remote classes, or individual instructional opportunities as determined by the teaching staff and/or teams of teachers. In this way, BCSD will ensure the ability to provide consistent educational expectations for our students regardless of the changing dynamics surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • The committee has developed a collection of instructional models that focus on the Hybrid Model of in-person and remote instruction, which will be shared with appropriate faculty and staff.
  • Platforms for remote instruction have been determined by the District, and will be 2D compliant.
  • The Secondary School Hybrid model will run in two cohorts, where approximately half of the 7-12 students will attend in-person on Monday and Thursday, with the other half of students attending in-person on Tuesday and Friday. These cohorts, referred to as the Green Team and the Gold Team, will attend in-school or remote learning on opposite days with the exception of Wednesdays, which will be remote learning for all students PK-12.
    • For example, the Green Team will attend on-campus learning on Mondays and Thursdays while the Gold Team receives remote instruction on those days. The Gold team will attend on-campus learning on Tuesdays and Fridays while the Green team receives remote instruction on those days. All students will be provided learning experiences remotely on Wednesdays.
    • Individual students will receive their schedules before the first day of school.
  • All teaching models will include a combination of whole-group instruction, small group instruction, independent assignments, and a combination of assessment types.
  • Instruction will be aligned with priority or anchor standards as outlined by NYS guidelines.
  • Referring to the July 16th NYSED Guidance document, instructional experiences are not defined solely as a student’s time spent in front of a teacher or in front of a screen, but any time engaged in meaningful learning experiences under the guidance and direction of a teacher. For example, this may include: time to complete assigned tasks, viewing of an instructional lesson or videos, responding to posts or questions, engaging with classmates in an online (or other) format, time spent reading/researching, and meeting with faculty and staff face-to-face, via an online format or any other appropriate method. All requirements of the units of study (ie, 180 minutes of learning experiences equivalent) will be met for all courses receiving Carnegie credits towards student graduation requirements.

Career and Technical Education

  • The BCSD will continue its relationship with Questar III BOCES regarding our CTE program for Berlin students.
  • BCSD will continue to offer students the opportunity to attend the QIII according to that program’s defined schedule and provide transportation for students accordingly.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

  • Currently, interscholastic sports are postponed until September 21, 2020. Additional guidance is expected to be forthcoming.
  • Extra-curricular activities will be entertained in accordance with the capacity of the school to successfully provide such services under DOH and SED guidance.

Special Education

IEP Implementation

The Berlin Central School District will continue to provide FAPE to students with disabilities to the greatest extent possible consistent with the changing health and safety conditions that exist. This includes providing all accommodations, modifications, programs, services, assistive technology, etc., as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Plan. It should be noted that NYSED guidance continues to permit the same flexibility with respect to IEP implementation for delivery of services during school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak to programs and services whether delivered in-person and/or remotely (e.g., flexibility with respect to the mode and/or manner; group or individual sessions; specific group size for related services, frequency, duration and location of related services, and special class size ratio, etc.).

Communication as it pertains to Special Education

Parent and family communication will continue through administration, teaching faculty, related service providers, and support staff. All communication and services will be documented at a minimum weekly and collected by the Director of Exceptional Education. Communication will occur through multiple means, including but not limited to: phone calls, email, district website, district Facebook, School Messenger system, letters mailed or sent home, and home visits when necessary.

Provision of Services

Grades Pre K-6:

  • All students, including students with disabilities, will return to school in-person four days a week.
  • To maintain social distancing protocols, class sizes will be reduced, as needed. Attempts will be made to adhere to the 50% ratio in integrated co-teach classes to the greatest extent possible to maintain the intention of those services.
  • Related services and academic services will continue to be provided to the greatest extent possible while adhering to all health and safety protocols and maintaining health and safety as a priority for our staff and students.

Grades 7-12:

  • Students with disabilities may return to school in-person four days a week (versus two days a week for students without disabilities).
  • It is recommended that self-contained classes meet in-person four days a week, if possible.
  • To maintain social distancing protocols, class sizes will be reduced. Attempts will be made to adhere to the 50% ratio in integrated co-taught classes to the greatest extent possible to maintain the intention of those services.
  • Related services and academic services will continue to be provided to the greatest extent possible while adhering to all health and safety protocols and maintaining health and safety as a priority for our staff and students.

Progress Monitoring of Students with Disabilities

Data collection will continue to occur whether in-person or remote to monitor student needs and progress on goals. Progress reports will be provided to parents on the same schedule and in the same manner as indicated on the student’s IEP.

Evaluations of Students with Disabilities

The district will utilize all available resources to continue to assess students for initial evaluations and reevaluations as per State and federal timelines. At this time, CSE meetings will be conducted in a remote manner to ensure the continued health and safety of our faculty, staff, and community.

Collaboration with Agencies Outside the Berlin Central School District

The Director of Exceptional Education will work with private and public out-of-district placements and agencies and providers of services to ensure the provisions of special education services for the students served by those programs. The Director will collect written plans from these schools and ensure that the plans are communicated with families.

Bilingual Education and World Languages

  • BCSD will monitor the number of ELL’S enrolled or entering the schools and communicate in the preferred language and mode of communication to ensure that they have equitable access to critical information about their children’s education.
  • BCSD will provide all ELLs with appropriate instruction, including through use of technology, that supports college, career, and civic readiness, by providing them the required instructional Units of Study in their English as a New Language program based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level.
  • BCSD Registrar and Counseling and Guidance Staff will conduct ELL identification for all students who enrolled during COVID-related school closures in 2019-20, during the summer 2020, and during the first 20 days of the 2020-21 school year and within 30 days of the start of the school year.
  • BSCD will provide professional learning opportunities related to the instruction and support of ELLs to all educators, as required by Part 154 of the Commissioner’s regulations.
  • BCSD will apply to NYSED for any appropriate exemptions to Part 154 if they are available in the 2020-2021 school year.

Staffing and Human Resources

  • The District will ensure that all teachers, school and district leaders and pupil personnel service professionals hold a valid and appropriate certification for their assignment.

Teacher and Principal Evaluation System

  • BCSD will conduct teacher and principal evaluations pursuant to the District APPR plan, including any variance applications approved by the Department.
  • The APPR Committee of the BCSD will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the District APPR Plan and make adjustments as needed.

General School Information

The District will establish a dedicated email address for COVID-19 in order to facilitate communications from the community and parents, as needed.