Dear Berkeley Carroll Families,
I would like to thank you again for your collaboration during the first few weeks of this school year. I am pleased that our remote program is off to a consistent start and that our various on-campus opportunities have also been successful in providing both community connection and sustained learning.
As we move into the third week of school, I would like to update you on our plans for the continued reopening of campus. Barring significant COVID-19-related changes in our state, city, or school, we plan to implement a reduced-capacity hybrid model across all divisions starting the week of October 13th. As part of the hybrid plan, on-campus instruction will be complemented by full and partial days of synchronous and asynchronous remote learning.
The success of and positive feedback about our in-person programming thus far (e.g. in-school supervision of remote learning and grade-wide community building events) as well as relevant feedback from peer schools and the availability of a reliable, regular COVID-19 testing option inform our comfort with taking this next step.
With regard to in-person schooling, the mitigation of risk is closely related to space use; consequently, it will be essential to know definitively which students will pursue our hybrid program, as the hybrid includes in-person learning on campus (additional details about schedules, testing, etc. appear below). All families must fill out the relevant form(s) by Friday at 8AM for each of their children who attend BC:
Families should feel free to elect either the hybrid or the remote-only option, but please note that those who choose the remote-only option will not be able to pivot to hybrid instruction until after Winter Break. Of course, in the case of illness, students will need to shift to exclusively remote learning, with the option to return to in-person instruction once cleared. Going forward, the Middle and Upper Schools will continue to offer a limited number of students the option of accessing the remote program from the school campus on two or three days per week.
Based on what we’ve learned during these early weeks on campus, we will modify our hybrid model as follows:
Lower School: The in-person classes and events that we have run so far suggest that our Lower School students would benefit from additional space to navigate the halls, entryways, etc. while adhering to safe distancing requirements; consequently, our younger learners will utilize some facilities on Lincoln Place as well as Carroll Street. PK3-4th grade students will have full day, on-campus classes Mondays through Thursdays. In order for teachers and staff to reconfigure classrooms in both buildings, there will be no Lower School classes on Thursday October 8th and Friday October 9th.
Middle School: In order to maintain appropriate density and proper distancing at Lincoln Place, our 5th and 6th grade students will have two full days of on-campus instruction, Mondays and Wednesdays. 7th and 8th graders will be on campus one full day each week--7th graders on Thursdays and 8th graders on Tuesdays.
Upper School: Upper School students will shift to one day of on-campus instruction per week, coming to school on Fridays for a full day, with optional after-school programming as weather and space permit. On each of these Fridays, one class block will meet for the duration of the day, which will limit each student’s contact to the other students and the faculty member in that class, an important health and safety consideration. For the other four days of the week, students will follow a remote schedule similar to the one with which we have begun the year. While the majority of Upper School classes will meet in person on these Fridays, a few will continue to meet remotely as is necessary for staff accommodations and for courses that are not yet safe to meet in person.
The Division Directors will continue to provide more granular detail regarding student schedules in the coming weeks.
Regular On-Campus COVID-19 Testing
We are in the process of contracting with a testing company to provide confidential saliva PCR pool testing for all students and employees on a regular basis beginning the week of October 13th. Testing will be conducted on campus at no cost to families. Now that an ongoing testing option with meaningful turnaround times is available to us, we will ask all employees and students who will participate in on-campus instruction to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus. Families have two choices: either your child can be tested at a site of your choosing (you will find links to a number of testing sites at the end of this letter), or students may participate in an initial pool test screening on campus during the week of October 5. Additional details will follow.
Of course, families must still adhere to the travel quarantine guidelines issued by New York State as well as any isolation and quarantine restrictions related to possible or confirmed exposure to COVID-19. Please refer to the Reopening Plan to review our health and safety guidelines regarding daily health checks, cleaning, and related matters.
The Division Directors, Brandon Clarke, and I will be hosting Zoom meetings this week to discuss the October campus reopening plans and to address any questions that you may have. These meetings will be recorded and shared for those who are unable to attend. “Save the Dates” have been circulated by the Divisions.
Going forward, we will continue to evaluate COVID-19 related conditions in the city, state, and our own community, and we will adapt our hybrid and remote plans accordingly.
Thank you again for your flexibility and your support.
Lisa Yvette Waller, Ph.D.
Head of School
COVID-19 Testing Resources