9 March 2020
Dear Members of our BART Community,
We have been monitoring carefully announcements and activity regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Presumptive positive cases of the disease in Berkshire County and southern Vermont have heightened our attention and own actions.
I assure you that we at BART are following the Department of Public Health’s recommendations regarding the cleaning and maintenance of the School so that we can keep our students and employees healthy within our sanitary facility. We are also taking our own, additional measures. For a few weeks, we have
- disinfected nightly all desks, tables, and doorknobs,
- had deep cleanings each weekend of all areas within the building.
In addition, we are starting this week daily afternoon and evening deep cleanings of all School areas.
While we do not know of any contact between BART students or employees with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we understand that, within the region, such eventual contacts are possible. Even then, such contacts are deemed an extremely low risk to our students and employees and the BART community as a whole. We are proceeding in a normal operations mode, monitoring continuously the feed of information and guidance from Massachusetts and federal health sources.
There are general precautions we all can take to remain healthy, including
- washing our hands thoroughly and often with soap for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap is not available;
- avoiding touching our faces—eyes, nose, mouth—with unwashed hands;
- covering our mouth and nose with tissues when we sneeze, or coughing and sneezing into the back of our elbows;
- avoiding close contact with people visibly ill;
- avoiding sharing towels, glasses and plates and utensils, and other items; and
- taking good general care of ourselves by consuming healthy foods and fluids and getting enough sleep nightly.
In the next couple of days, we will also make decisions regarding upcoming planned travel by some of our grades. We will communicate directly with those students and families directly affected. Additionally, we are also discussing alternatives to visits to BART by individuals who we have planned as classroom enrichments: as an example, we are contemplating use of new, virtual classroom technology BART has recently acquired to bring in classroom visitors from around the country.
We will be in immediate contact with our BART community as COVID-19 information advances and in regards to situations arising that affect our students and their families and affect our faculty and staff members. Indeed, open and clear communication is critical for our community. Following are reliable sources of that information:
- For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) “general information” pages at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- For information on COVID-19 symptoms, visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) “Symptoms” pages at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
James C. White II, Ph.D.