I hope you are all well and have been able to take some time this summer to enjoy the beautiful weather and time as a family. I am writing to provide you an update on our collaborative school reopening plan.
As you know, we have received guidance from The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) directing that students identified as high need students with disabilities should return to school full time for the fall. Further, the guidance requires several criteria, protocols, and practices that must be in place to promote the highest level of safety possible. In addition to all of this guidance is a mandate from the Commissioner to roll back the number of student days to 170 from 180 to allow 10 days of additional training for teachers and school staff. This training is essential and must take place prior to the start of school. All BICO Staff will be expected onsite for these training days. More information with a specific schedule will be sent to staff prior to our August 31, Welcome Back Day.
As a result of all of the information gathered through our family survey, questions and input from our staff, Program Directors working with our host districts on their reopening plans, input from our member district special education leaders and our Board of Directors, we have determined that all Bi-County Collaborative programs will open in person on September 16, 2020. You will find the details of our reopening plan on our website at https://www.bicounty.org/. The posted plan contains all of our COVID-19 training information, our health, and safety protocols as well as insight into our hybrid and remote learning plans if COVID-19 forces us to take steps back to another model.
While the Collaborative is following the guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to reopen our programs in person, we understand that not all families are ready to have their children return to in-person learning. Our staff will continue to work with you to provide instruction through a combination of direct instruction and self-guided assignments provided through synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences. Student educational teams will schedule time to talk individually with families about a plan for instruction.
I will be scheduling a virtual community meeting on August 19, 2020, at 3:30 (meeting link to be sent by email) to share any updates we have, answer your questions, and listen to your concerns about the reopening of school. Program staff will be in touch with families after that meeting to discuss specific plans related to students.
Thank you for your patience as we have worked through this reopening planning. I truly appreciate the comments, feedback, and suggestions you have provided. I hope to see you on August 19 and look forward to welcoming your child back to school on September 16, 2020.
At Bi-County Collaborative, we are helping students who face learning challenges in a traditional educational setting achieve success.
Our high quality educational programs create opportunities that maximize each individual student's strengths. Our talented, collaborative, and supportive teachers, administrators, clinical and behavioral consultants, and support staff partner with families and participating school districts to deliver our mission of making it possible for all learners to be responsible and contributing members of society.
Academic, social, counseling and therapeutic, recreational, and vocational special education programs and services for students between the ages of 3 and 22.
The Bi-County Collaborative does not discriminate in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its services, programs, and activities, on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, homelessness, disability, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, age, veteran or military status, ancestry, or genetic information.