Dear Bethlehem Families,
Please know the number one goal of Bethlehem’s Covid Task Force is the health and safety of everyone at Bethlehem. To assure this goal is attained, we are doing our very best to balance the numerous regulations we are required to follow by the Jefferson County Health Department and other regulatory institutions, while also striving to allow our students normal childhood interactions. Therefore, as a school with ELC through Eighth Grade, we are following best practices for educational institutions with students in those age groups. And related to our primary goal, the Bethlehem Covid Task Force also desires to preserve the opportunity for learning to continue in-person by avoiding any Covid-related exposures and subsequent mandatory closures.
As we are working toward these goals, we understand that the following two things minimize the spread of Covid-19 according to the Jefferson County Health Department: mask-wearing and social distancing.
We have evaluated our classroom practices to implement social distancing as much as possible during the school day in order to adhere to these requirements and to keep everyone as healthy as possible for in-person learning to continue.
In Phase One, we implemented the following:
- Even more rigorous cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitization occurs during the school day.
- Every person who enters the school undergoes a daily health screening and a temperature check.
- Health screenings are conducted before arriving at school via TeacherEase or in-person upon arrival.
- One screening line is for K-8 students; the other line is for ELC families.
- All students enter via the main entrance only.
- This includes Childwatch(both before and after school) and ELC Before and After-Care.
- Social-distancing is maintained during entry.
- K-8 students arrive with curbside drop-off; just students enter the building.
- Many students eat lunch in their classrooms with members of their cohort; additional social-distancing measures have been taken for those who eat in the lunchroom or gym with their cohort.
Phase two was implemented, Monday, October 5, 2020:
- Everyone age 3 years and older will wear a mask when entering and exiting the building.
- For children under the age of 11 years, masks will be encouraged during the school day (and during before and after care) but students will not be required to wear a mask and social distancing will be practiced as much as possible.
- Examples of ways we are doing this in the ELC and School are:
- moving desks to place more distance between students
- increased distancing while eating lunch
- maintaining individual classes (cohorts) as much as possible
- marked dots on the floor to provide guidance in maintaining distance
- handwashing in the classroom to limit mixing of classes (cohorts)
- using additional spaces in the building to spread out
Mask-Wearing Best Practices:
- A clean mask should be worn each day; masks may not be re-worn from one day to the next.
- A face shield alone is not a substitute for a face mask, though a mask AND shield may be worn together, if desired.
- Each child should carry an extra (clean) mask in his/her backpack as a backup to the one worn into the building.
- We encourage you to have discussions about mask-wearing with your child and to remain positive.
- If desired, you may certainly encourage mask-wearing by your child beyond the minimum requirements.
*Curbside pick-up (K-8):
Just as curbside drop-off to start the school day has drastically reduced the number of people within the school – thereby reducing overall exposure – curbside pick-up at the end of the school day is being instituted to serve the same purpose.
- TWO curbside car lines will expedite the pick-up process after school for K-8 students:
- The current car line location will continue.
- A new car line will be added at the east end of the campus.
- You may use either car line as you see fit.
- Refer to the attached diagram to see the location of both car lines.
- K-5 students will wait with their class in the same area where they have been standing for the past week.
- These are indicated on the attached diagram by the teacher’s first name.
- 6th-8th grade students will dismiss out the front doors as usual.
- Those 6th-8th graders without younger siblings will be free to go to their car immediately at 3:15 – if and only if – the parent has already arrived and is parked and waiting in the parking lot.
- Remaining 6th-8th grade students – which includes those with younger siblings. as well as those whose parents have not yet arrived – will be accompanied along the sidewalk by their teacher to their designated class spot at the edge of the K-5 waiting area (as indicated on the attached diagram).
- For this process to flow smoothly, parents will remain in their vehicle and drive through one of the two car lines in order to pick up their child at curbside.
- Please note that no parking is allowed in the east parking lot.
- This lot will only be open temporarily during car line for the sole purpose of curbside pick-up before being closed off again.
*Clarification for ELC Families:
- Always enter via the main entrance with a face mask and to be screened and have your temperature taken.
- After morning drop-off, leave through the playground doors by following the exit arrows marked on the carpet.
- This prevents you from “swimming upstream” as K-8 students are arriving.
- After afternoon pick-up, will leave via the main entrance.
- This prevents you from crossing through the K-8 cohorts at the east end of the building during their curbside pick-up.
- If you also have elementary-aged children, you will pick up your ELC child first, exit through the front door to your vehicle, then join the car line of your choice to pick up your elementary students.
*K-8 Beginning-of-Day Hand-Washing:
- Upon entering the school, students will go directly to their classroom hallway, hang up their belongings, then enter the classroom to wash their hands at the sink in the classroom. Then they will re-enter the hallway to gather the items they need to take into the classroom. This change in procedure is to avoid intermingling of students from different classes.
*Adult Bathrooms – Please Note:
- Parents are asked to refrain from using school bathrooms that are designated for children.
- The bathrooms at the main entrance are available for adult use.
The Covid Task Force members, faculty, staff, and the school’s Vision Implementation Team, recognize the updates to Bethlehem’s Covid protocol as described in Phase Two above are impactful. As we have shared, our goal is to ensure the health and safety of everyone at Bethlehem by adhering to the regulations we must follow, yet also strive to provide as normal of a school experience as possible for your child in the midst of this pandemic. We ask you to recognize the cause and rationale behind the changes that were implemented in Phase One and that will begin Monday as we enter Phase Two. We fervently pray that we can attain our goal – together.