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Bedford Area School District Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Preparedness
Bedford Area School District Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Preparedness
Bedford Area School District
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bedford Area School District Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Preparedness (Updated 3/13/20 11:15am)

(Updated 3/13/2020  3:30 PM) PLEASE READ ENTIRE DOCUMENT

Current Status:  The Bedford Area School District is operating as normal.  We are currently educating students and staff about preventing the spread of the virus.  Additionally, we developed action plans to deal with the evolving situation.

Update  3/13/20 11:15 am:  The Bedford Area School District continues to operate as normal.  Currently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is allowing the majority of Pennsylvania School Districts to make individual closing decisions.  We realize the Commonwealth’s approach could change with little notice to districts.  Therefore, we advised all students to take home essential learning materials in case a statewide decision to close schools occurs during the weekend. 

Update 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.  The Bedford Area School District will be closed for 10 school days per the Governor of Pennsylvania.  The District will continue to educate students during the closing per our education plan.

Priorities:   The Bedford Area School District endeavors to be flexible and responsive to the situation.  Given this approach, the district’s priorities will change depending on the severity of the situation.  Our current priorities are safety and education.  If the situation worsens, the district will take a balanced approach to address the following priorities: 1) student and staff health including emotional stress, 2) students and staff safety, and 3) basic educational needs.

Monitoring:  The Bedford Area School District continues to the monitor the spread of the coronavirus.  The district collects information from a variety of sources including local, state and national government agencies, news, and professional organizations.  We recognize the virus travels quickly, is very contagious, and likely will continue to spread.  Currently, we are observing a variety of approaches by educational entities in response to the spread of the virus.  This information allows the district to plan for potential outcomes and responses.

Planning and Preparation:  The Bedford Area School District developed a continuum of internal and external plans to deal with the spread of coronavirus.  Our plans range from a local exposure to the virus to a statewide quarantine.  We are focusing on the following areas:   

·       Health Resources

·       Building and Bus Cleaning Procedures

·       Educational Plans

·       Sports and Field Trips

Please review these subsections for additional information.

Communication:  The Bedford Area School District will communicate regularly with students, staff, parents, and the community as the coronavirus situation evolves.  We will use our telephone calls, district push notifications, and the website to communicate our current status.

(Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  The best method to contact the district is via email not telephone.  All email addresses are found on the district website.

For student or building specific questions please contact your Principal or Assistant Principal.

For athletic questions please contact the Athletic Director.

For general or organizational questions please contact the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent.

Health Resources

The Bedford Area School District makes the health and safety of our students and staff a priority.  Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, each school within the district is providing age appropriate education to students and staff regarding prevention of all illnesses and ways to limit the spread of illnesses. 

Prevention of Illness

Based on current information, health officials are recommending the following steps to protect against coronavirus and to prevent the spread of other illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Routinely clean and disinfect objects and surfaces (including iPads, phones, keyboards, etc.)
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • Stay home if you are sick

When to Keep your Child at Home (General Guidelines)

Please keep your child at home if they are exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever. Any temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit is a fever. Not only are fevers a sign of some sort of infection, it also usually means the student is shedding germs. Students should be fever free for 24 hours, without the use of medication, before returning to school.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea. It’s unfair all around —to the child and the school — to send a child with vomiting or diarrhea no matter how well they might look.  Students may return 24 hours after vomiting and diarrhea have stopped.
  • Coughing that won’t stop — or anything different about your child’s breathing.  A persistent cough not only makes it hard for a child to learn or play, it also warrants a call to the doctor, as does breathing that sounds or looks different from usual.

Symptoms

The coronavirus is believed to be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much like other respiratory illnesses.  Symptoms can include sore throat, fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.  

The majority of young people and healthy adults will recover from the coronavirus.  According to the CDC, early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness.  This includes, older people, people that have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

For more in-depth information, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx or the Centers for Disease Control at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Building and Bus Cleaning Procedures

The Bedford Area School District’s Cleaning Standards are based on recommendations by the US Environmental Protection Agency for Coronavirus.  The district employs cleaning products which kill 99.9% of germs.  Daily, we clean all bathrooms, classrooms, common areas, cafeterias, all fixtures, all flat surfaces, drinking fountains, and any additional high contact surfaces.  If an outbreak occurs within a school, the district will secure the exposed area and take additional deep-cleaning measures before permitting re-entry.  Similar to buildings, the Bedford Area School District directed all bus contractors to clean busses daily with cleaning products which kill 99.9% of germs. 

Educational Plans 

In the event the district closes school temporarily due to the Coronavirus, we intend to utilize online instruction in an effort to minimize disruption to your child’s education.  The district will employ the following process:

·       In most cases, teachers will utilize Schoology to provide online instruction to students.  We are confident that all students of the Bedford Area School District are familiar with Schoology and should have little difficulty using it to complete assignments.

·       For parents who do not have access to Schoology and wish to monitor their student’s progress during the closure, please contact your child’s school office as soon as possible. 

·       Teachers will be available for assistance through Schoology.  Please keep in mind personal or family exposure to the virus may impact the teacher’s ability for a timely response. 

·       As always, for specific concerns, teacher emails are listed in the staff directory at each building’s web page.

·       It is important to remember the objective of the educational community during an emergency shutdown is to provide students with basic instructional opportunities.  Students should give their best efforts to complete online requirements while knowing that teachers will demonstrate flexibility and understanding during this time.

Sports and Field Trips

Sports:  Currently, all sporting events will be held as scheduled.  The district will continue to monitor the situation and may adjust the sporting schedule as necessary.  If the school district believes there is an immediate health risk to our student-athletes, the district may suspend all events and activities.

(Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  Effective 8:00 P.M. on Friday 13, 2020, the district will be closed for 10 school days. ; All events including sporting events and practices are closed for 10 school days. 

Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  Please note, the district is canceling the cornhole tournament scheduled at Bedford Middle School this evening

(Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  Please note, the district is canceling the cornhole tournament scheduled at Bedford Middle School this evening

(Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  The SAT test scheduled at Bedford High School on Saturday March 14, 2020 will continue as scheduled.  The district will follow governmental guidance and practice social distancing. 


Field Trips:  Currently, there are no restrictions on official student or staff travel within the United States. The district will continue to monitor the situation and may limit field trips when necessary. 

Please note:  If parents/guardians do not want their child to participate in a field trip, the school will provide an appropriate educational alternative.

Your School District during Emergencies

(Updated 3/13/2020 3:30 P.M.)  The district endeavors to provide a basic education during emergencies.  We also want our community to know your local school district also plays an important community-wide role during emergencies.   The Bedford Area School District can play many vital roles given our ability to organize quickly, serve as a shelter, cook large meals,  participate in the mass distribution of resources and numerous other roles.  Please be patient as we meet the challenges of this evolving situation.