Report by Paula Antolini, December 3, 2021, 3:27PM EDT
Message from Bethel Public Schools, Dr. Christine Carver, Superintendent:
As was communicated earlier this week in a district communication, after the Thanksgiving holiday, we definitely saw an increase in individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. We continue to have no known cases as a result of a transmission within the schools. Through contact tracing, all cases were the result of a social/family gatherings and spread that occurred within a household. A parent emailed me this week, inquiring about trends in cases, specifically the number of cases among vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals. I can share that almost all (with a few exceptions of breakthrough cases) are among the unvaccinated. We have to track that data to report to the Department of Public Health. The most important message I hope you hear, is to keep students home if they have any COVID symptoms and consult your medical provider and/or school nurse.
The Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control are recommending boosters for individuals that are at least 6 months from their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We receive weekly vaccination updates for local communities. You will note that Bethel has an 84% first dose vaccination rate for ages 12-17 and 74.94% are fully vaccinated. In the 5-11 population, 22% have had their first dose. Please note, the data lags a bit. If you have any questions about the safety of or questions about the vaccine in children, please consult your child’s medical provider. Linked is a resource from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center or a FAQ. In addition, area schools
were asked to share that there is an upcoming COVID-19 clinic available at Danbury War Memorial for ages 5-18 on Saturday, December 11th. No appointment is necessary and the clinic is at no charge. See flyers for details: Community Vaccine Clinics Available.
CIAC Updates for Winter Sports
The CIAC has released guidance for Winter sports. Mr. Caron, our Director of Athletics has already had a meeting with parents of athletes to provide updates. Last year, we had to limit spectators. We are pleased that this year, we can open up all indoor events to spectators, but masks will be required at all times in the event. We appreciate your compliance with the guidance.
Playgrounds and Campus Fields
Part of the beauty of our schools is the campus. With the renovations at Johnson and Rockwell, there are more facilities to enjoy. We want our students and the broader community to enjoy the fields, playgrounds, and basketball courts. That being said, we are going to have to impose a few new rules as a result of concerns we are seeing in our equipment and video surveillance. Here is a summary:
• Dogs are not allowed off leash in any part of the campus nor in any of the playgrounds. This is particularly a problem at Rockwell School and Circle of Friends because the playgrounds are fenced. Not only are the dogs defecating and owners not cleaning up after their dog, but its not safe when there are children playing. We have a wonderful dog park in Bethel to allow your dog to be active off leash!
• We encourage dog walking (on leash) in the campus, but please be respectful and clean up after your dog.
• All playgrounds and basketball courts will close at sunset unless it is a school sponsored or approved event.
• No smoking or vaping on campus.
Winter is here! To be honest, calling delays, early dismissal or closings are one of the most challenging aspects of my job. I get frequent feedback from parents and students on the topic. Safety is always our top priority. When determining any weather-related decision, we look at timing of the storm, total accumulation predictions, ability to complete a school clean up, and road conditions. Please be reminded, if you feel that conditions are unsafe, you can make the decision that you feel is in the best interest for your children. A few reminders about our process:
• I will try and give you a preview of any potential issues through our district’s Bethel Public Schools Facebook page and Twitter @BethelCTSuper. By following these pages, it might help your planning.
• After a decision is made, if it’s on the same morning of the delay or closure, I will post the decision on the district’s Bethel Public Schools Facebook page and Twitter @BethelCTSuper prior to 5:00 AM. In addition, we send out a text if you have subscribed to receive district text messages. Please note, we do not send out phone calls. Many parents
complained that they did not want to receive the early morning calls. Therefore, we also send out an email.
• If you have a specific concern or questions about any type of decision, please do not hesitate to call me or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). A reminder that weather is not an exact science and can be highly unpredictable.
• For our young drivers, they frequently remind me on social media that parents will not allow them to drive in inclement weather. Please note, if school is in session, students can always access the district transportation.
Reminder: In addition to the Facebook, Twitter, email, and texts, announcements are also made
over the following radio, television stations, and websites,
WLAD AM Danbury 800 on the dial
WINE AM Brookfield 940 on the dial
WICC AM Bridgeport 600 on the dial
WEBE FM Bridgeport 108 on the dial
WEZN FM Bridgeport 100 on the dial
TV Channel 3, TV Channel 8, & TV Channel 6.
Bethel Public Schools Website – www.bethel.k12.ct.us
Connecticut Weather Website – www.ctweather.com
Please note: Notifications are sent out as soon as decisions are reached. Being on the notification list is not a substitute for monitoring your local media (radio, TV and so on) in situations where a delay in opening or school closing is an obvious possibility (such as when the weather forecast calls for snow). The BPS website, is updated as media calls are made.