BRONXVILLE, NY — August 26, 2021 — I hope that this note finds you well and enjoying the summer weather! As we near the opening of the 2021-2022 academic year, we continue to work to maintain the healthiest and safest environment possible within the Bronxville School community. While we all held out hope that the pandemic would be behind us, the new Delta variant has not made that possible. Our goal is to return to in-person learning and create an exciting school environment.
The NYSED and WCDOH have advised school districts to follow CDC and AAP guidelines and work in conjunction with their district’s medical director for the opening of schools regarding Covid-19 protocols:
- NYSED Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year
- CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools
- AAP COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools
In addition, newly appointed New York Governor Hochul announced the following initial safety actions for schools:
- Immediately directing the Department of Health to institute universal masking for anyone entering our schools.
- Launching a back-to-school COVID-19 testing program to make testing for students and staff widely available and convenient.
- Developing a method “to require vaccinations for all school personnel with an option to test out weekly, at least for now.”
Governor Hochul also indicated that additional school policies will be released shortly. As they are announced we will communicate with our community.
Accordingly, the Bronxville School is prepared to open under the following protocols:
- All students are expected to attend school five days a week/full day, according to our typical school schedule, for in-person instruction
- There will be no remote option unless mandated by the State
- Beginning in September, facemasks will be required of everyone while inside the building when children are present. Similar to last year, masks will not have to be worn while outside and we will be encouraging outdoor instruction, recess and lunch as much as possible.
- Activities, extracurriculars and athletics are scheduled to proceed in a typical fashion, with health/safety mitigation
- Desk shields will not be used in the classroom, however, if any parent wants their child to have a desk shield please contact the appropriate building principal.
- If individual students are required to quarantine due to COVID illness (this does not include travel), arrangements will be made to have them zoom into classrooms.
- Fully vaccinated individuals are not subject to quarantine for exposure at this time. Additionally, if students are exposed to a positive COVID case while wearing a mask they will not have to quarantine.
- Daily Health Surveys will no longer be required; however, students who feel ill should stay home.
Currently, all districts in Westchester County, including Bronxville, are working with the Westchester Department of Health to arrange for random screening testing of staff and students. The goal is to randomly test 20% of the in-school population each week through the use of take home saliva kits. Consent is needed in order for students to participate in the testing. Additional details will follow once we are connected to a vendor.
Our reopening plan is dynamic and as conditions change we may change our protocols. For example, should Covid-19 transmission levels rise and official guidance warrants further risk mitigation, our schools are prepared for contingencies such as increasing physical distancing to minimize transmission, requiring Covid-19 surveillance testing, and/or preparing to pivot to hybrid or remote instruction (if required by State or County authorities).
Similarly, should Covid-19 transmission levels decline and official guidance allow risk mitigation reductions, our schools are also prepared to remove masking and other Covid-19 risk mitigation efforts.
As additional guidance is learned, we will continue to communicate. We look forward to working with you to create a safe, productive, and exciting year. Please feel free to reach out to me and/or our leadership team members at the school level with any questions, comments and/or concerns. Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.
Roy R. Montesano Ed.D.