Dear BFCCPS Community,

Please find an update to all families on newly announced testing initiatives, Thanksgiving Public Health information and an update on weather related school closures for the 2020-2021 school year.  We recognize that the volume of communications lately has been significant; but appreciate your attention to these important updates.  

Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests: BFCCPS is honored to be one of the first schools in the Commonwealth approved to offer Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen tests for in-person students or staff who become symptomatic during the school day. You can learn more about this testing initiative in this article

We will send out more information about this program including testing eligibility,  procedures and the parental consent process in early December. Parental consent will be required in advance of any testing implementation. 

Thanksgiving Public Health Guidance, Student Travel Policy and Absence Form: As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday break, we want to remind the BFCCPS community of the Student Travel Under Mass Travel Order 45 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We recognize that it is likely that staff and families may be traveling out of state, or celebrating with family.  

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has issued the following suggestions  with ways that you celebrate the holidays and maximize safety for all participants. You can find recommendations here

It is important to recognize that in accordance with the Massachusetts Travel Order, and the BFCCPS Daily Attestation, any students, faculty or staff who are traveling outside of the U.S or to a state deemed high risk must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to in-person education. 

The latest information, including how states are currently categorized, can be found here. As of the sending of this email, the only states considered low-risk for travel are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Hawaii.

It is anticipated that there will be a high demand for testing due to the holiday, so you may want to consider scheduling your test in advance for when you return, so that you do not experience a delay in getting tested when you return from traveling. Here is a list of testing sites in MA: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download    

If your child will not be able to return to in-person education as planned starting on December 3rd, please use this form to notify the BFCCPC Central office and BFCCPS Health Office

Snow Days: The Commissioner of Education has determined that for this school year only (2020-2021), if there are days when schools must close because of inclement weather or other emergency, districts may choose whether to treat those days as “snow days” to be made up later or provide all students with remote learning on those days in a manner that is consistent with regulatory requirements. (source: Commissioner’s Weekly Update October 19th

BFCCPS has elected to revert to Remote Learning wherever possible in the events of extreme weather in order to provide learning continuity for students.  Please note that there may be instances where we need to cancel school due to widespread power or internet outages. This will be communicated on a case by case basis. 

As always, be kind and safe Ben Franklin.

Heather Zolnowski
BFCCPS, Executive Director