11 March 2020
Dear Members of our BART Community,
Following my message from March 9th, I wanted to provide you with some decisions our senior administration has made in regards to current and planned BART activities.
We continue to monitor carefully announcements and activity regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and we note the actions of regional school districts surrounding BART. Our monitoring and our intent to do what we can to maintain the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, have led us to make the following decisions:
- Until Wednesday, March 25 and as encouragement of families to keep sick children home, any student absent from BART will be recorded as “absent excused” as long as a parent or guardian telephones the School each morning to alert School officials of the child’s absence.
- The planned, School-sponsored, overnight trips for the BART 10th grade to NYC (April 1-3) and the BART 11th grade to Boston (April 16-17) have been canceled, but our hope is to re-schedule those class trips for Fall 2020.
- There will be no additional School-sponsored trips this school year to colleges and universities.
- School-sponsored field trips outside of Berkshire County will be considered by the BART senior administration on a trip-by-trip basis.
- Organizers of the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair, which was set to take place in early May at MIT and involve some BART students, are looking into alternative arrangements. We will keep you informed of developments about this.
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 extremely low risk to our students and employees and 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.
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.