- Bismarck Public Schools
- Fall Reentry
Fall Reentry Information
Thursday, Sept. 10, 5 pm
Bismarck Public Schools understands that having students in school is best for their social, emotional, and academic success. Burleigh County COVID positive rates continue to remain low for student age populations. BPS’ COVID Dashboard (Sept. 6, 2020 Dashboard) indicates staff and student case rates are also low. After reviewing the data and the many protocols BPS has put in place for student and staff safety, Superintendent Dr. Jason Hornbacher is recommending the following:
Grades K-5: BPS has made the decision that all Hybrid A-B elementary students will transition to face to face, five-day instruction beginning Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Masks are still required unless 6-foot social distance can be maintained. Mask and handwashing breaks will be built into the day. Protocols for contact tracing and COVID positive exposure will be strictly enforced, and students and staff are to stay home if they are sick.
Grades 6-12: For the time being, students in grades 6-12 will continue to operate in the Hybrid A-B model. Secondary schools are identifying students who require additional face-to-face instruction at this time and those students will return to school more often. Our middle and high schools will create a tentative timeline and processes for a return to face-to-face instruction for all students in the Hybrid Model. We appreciate your patience as we work out these details.
PreK-12 Distance Learners: The Distance Learning model will continue operating for PK-12.
Registration: PK-5 students will have the opportunity to transfer in or out of Distance Learning at the end of the nine weeks, Friday, October 30. If you have a special circumstance and wish to be considered for an earlier transfer, please contact your school by Sunday, September 20.
- Students who are in the Distance Learning Model and wish to transfer to the Face-to-Face Model.
- Students who are in the Face-to-Face Model and want to transfer to the Distance Learning Model.
- Students who are outside of the district or being homeschooled and want to transfer to the BPS Face-to-Face Model should contact Registration at 701-323-4110 instead of a school.
- All registration changes will be handled on a case-by-case basis to ensure appropriate staffing and proper health and safety protocols.
Next Steps: The BPS COVID Task Force will continue to monitor cases weekly. BPS will continue to follow the Contact Tracing and the response to COVID Positive cases as outlined by NDDoH guidelines. Further information can be found in the BPS School Restart Plan and documentation under the Fall Reenty Information.
Friday, Aug. 14, 11:30 am
Here is a link to the A/B Hybrid Calendars for BPS. All K-12 students will be on the same A/B schedule except Legacy High, which uses a flex mod schedule. NOTE: in PreK, BECEP’s Level 3 permits face-to-face due to smaller class sizes.
K-12 A-B calendar without LHS
LHS A-B calendar
- Students with last names A-K will be in the A group and go to school MOSTLY on Mondays and Wednesdays, though this may vary during a short school week, so please review the calendar carefully!
- Students with last names L-Z will be in the B group and go to school Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- NOTE: schools may make A-K or L-Z adjustments to balance classroom sizes and to accommodate parents who have, for example, children with 2 different last names and want both children on the same schedule. Those families can call their school to request a change.
- When students are not in school on their “off” days, they will be in online blended/distance learning. More information will be sent regarding what those schedules look like.
- Friday work is still being determined. It will consist of some staff meetings and some student contact. Your school or teacher will provide more specific details as we get closer to the first day of classes on August 31.
As with face-to-face, masks in Hybrid learning are required at school when 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained. Attendance will be taken on both face-to-face and Hybrid days.
Information on all BPS instructional models, including Hybrid, are in our School Restart Plan.
If families now wish to switch to all week Distance Learning, Monday-Friday, with no face-to-face instruction at school, they can do so by calling their child’s school(s) by noon Monday, August 17. This is a firm deadline as we need to determine which teachers will do Distance Learning.
Note: School meals will be available for purchase on days students are not in school. We are working on the details of how this will work.
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 7 pm
The Bismarck School Board tonight voted to have all PreK-12 students start school August 31st in a Hybrid AB-AB day mode versus Face-to Face. The vote was 3 to 2.
Superintendent Jason Hornbacher made the recommendation to start the school year at Level 3 Hybrid. He cited the increasing number of COVID cases among BPS staff, in the city, and in Burleigh and Morton Counties. He said, “As a community, we need to do all we can to lower our numbers.”
Dr. Hornbacher feels if BPS opens face-to-face all week, the district won’t be able to sustain that model very long.
Here is a link to the updated Fall Reentry Plan; a new section on Decision Making Guidance has been added on pages 6-9: https://www.bismarckschools.org/cms/lib/ND02203833/Centricity/Domain/841/8_12_20 Bismarck Public Schools Restart Plan 2020-2021.pdf. AB-AB calendars are being finalized and will be sent to BPS parents and staff hopefully tomorrow.
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 4:30 pm
Masks: Effective today, Bismarck Public Schools is requiring masks to be worn by anyone on BPS property when 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained. Students involved in athletics will follow guidelines from the ND High School Activities Association.
School Board Brief: At last night’s meeting, the Board reviewed a draft of a COVID Decision-Making Matrix and a draft A/B class schedule. Elementary enrollment is up nearly 130 students so far; middle/high school enrollment is up by 87. The Board approved the R-1 Mega Result as Making Reasonable Progress with Exception as the number of BPS students who enrolled in post-secondary education didn’t quite reach the 80% district target. Other factors measured in this Result are graduation and completer rates, student engagement, etc. And board members accepted the 2019-20 Annual Report, which can be found online at https://www.bismarckschools.org/Page/3273
Thursday, July 30, 8:30 pm
The Bismarck School Board tonight approved a School Reentry Plan to start school face-to-face in August unless directed otherwise by health officials.
The Board reviewed this week’s feedback from parents and staff. Of the 3,500 people who responded, most of them parents, the feedback shows support for how each section of the plan was defined (4 or 5 points on a 5-point scale):
- Face-to-Face Learning: 70.5% (in school, in person learning)
- Hybrid Plan: 65% (some in person, some distance learning)
- Online-Blended: 66% (online; primarily off campus)
- Distance Learning: 64% (complete distance learning; parents opt in)
The Superintendent made a 2-hour presentation to the Board that contained the survey data and additional information for all PreK through 12th grade students. Dr. Jason Hornbacher also outlined Decision-Making Guidelines for classroom, team, school or district closures. Here is his presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1XITX0gF_q37thawes-oEiHJK6E-wqeEnbmFbSzANirU/edit.
Sections in yellow on the Fall Reentry Plan presented to the Board tonight were revised or added since the draft plan was released earlier this week, or they are highlighted as being important information for parents and staff. Here is a link to that plan: https://www.bismarckschools.org/cms/lib/ND02203833/Centricity/Domain/841/BPS%20School%20Restart%20Plan.pdf
Bismarck Public Schools in conjunction with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health will require the use of cloth face masks when 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained. Although masks are required, BPS will continue to work with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health to determine appropriate protocols for our various settings.
The Board also approved starting school for the first full day on Monday, August 31st for all PreK-12th grade students. August 26-28 will be used for staff training and a “soft opening” for some students, for example, perhaps incoming elementary, middle and high school students for a meeting or tour sometime during those three days.
Tonight’s meeting was recorded and will be available at https://dakotamediaaccess.org/ once it’s scheduled for broadcast. Many parent and staff questions were answered during this meeting, so please take time to watch it and be informed.
Monday, July 27, 5:30 pm
BPS decided not to do virtual meetings today with parents and staff. We have collated data from the previous Parent & Staff Surveys, as well as the Building/Department meetings held last week and today. Instead, we decided to optimize staff and parent feedback by posting a DRAFT of our Fall Reentry Plan and gathering your feedback at this time.
1. We recommend you read this entire email first, then review the Feedback document link below which contains updated BPS information, then read the DRAFT Fall Reentry Plan, and complete the Feedback Form, in that order. Feedback is due by noon Wednesday, July 29.
BPS Restart Plan Feedback Form - https://bit.ly/BPSRestartFeedback
BPS 2020-2021 School Restart Draft Plan - https://bit.ly/BPSRestartDraft *no longer availabe. See the final School Restart Plan at https://www.bismarckschools.org/cms/lib/ND02203833/Centricity/Domain/841/BPS%20School%20Restart%20Plan.pdf
The School Board will meet this Thursday, July 30, at 5:30 pm to review the BPS Reentry Plan, which will be revised pending all feedback.
2. If your intent is to register for Distance Learning instead of Face-to-Face instruction this fall, call 701-323-4101 to register tomorrow through Friday, July 31 from 9 am to 4 pm. Information explaining the Distance Learning Model is in the Draft Reentry Plan link above. If you do NOT call to register in distance learning, your child(ren) will be enrolled in the face-to face learning option.
NOTE: All information collected from surveys, feedback forms, and staff meetings will be used to create the final BPS Reentry Plan.
ALSO: please pay special attention in the document to the August 26-28 “soft reopening” which will now be used for staff training, etc. The first full day of school is now August 31st for all PreK-12 students!
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work through thousands of questions and decisions.
Tuesday, July 22, 9:30 pm
Thanks to those of you who filled out our Reentry Survey. Over 12,000 parents, 1,600 staff and 100 community members completed the surveys.
Below are the survey results and BPS next steps. Please NOTE:
- The TOP of the slide says whether it’s from the Staff, Parent or Community Survey.
- NEXT STEPS will include gathering additional feedback from parents and staff, so nothing is final yet.
- LATER this month, we will ask parents to register if they want to do Distance Learning. No need to register if they are sending children to school and following the Blended Model (see slides 18-20).
PS: Tonight’s School Board workshop to review the survey data and next steps was recorded and will be replayed later this week at https://dakotamediaaccess.org/.
Tuesday, July 14, 6:30 pm
Governor Burgum today released new guidelines for schools to start this fall. They were developed in conjunction with the ND Department of Public Instruction and ND Department of Health. School districts must develop Health and Safety Plans and Distance Learning Plans that are approved by the local school board and posted on the school district website. BPS will continue to work on its plans according to the timeline below.
New ND Smart Restart Guidelines for Education: https://www.nd.gov/dpi/sites/www/files/documents/Covid-19/NDK12restartguide.pdf
NEW BPS TIMELINE for Fall Reentry Plan:
- Parent & Staff Surveys: to be texted & emailed tomorrow (Wed. 7/15/20). Deadline to respond: Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 5 pm.
- Community Survey: to be emailed to a representative group this week. Deadline to respond: Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 5 pm.
- BPS Reentry Plans: to the Bismarck School Board for approval tentatively later in the week of July 20-24.
School Board Meeting Brief (from last night, Monday, July 13, 2020):
The Bismarck School Board heard a report on fall reentry. Superintendent Jason Hornbacher thanked the media outlets for their assistance in messaging the August school restart. He commented on BPS having the tenants of a reentry plan. After the Governor makes a decision, BPS will finalize the plan with the Board. In the meantime, staff and parents will receive a survey, as well as some members of the community. An improved version of distance learning will be used if the state is in the red/orange COVID stage. On the other end of the spectrum is blue/green or the new normal of face-to-face education. Yellow is a hybrid stage—part in school and part online instruction.
The Northridge Elementary School renovation and addition is coming along. Painting and ceiling work is near completion in the corridors and the library media center is being framed. The elevator foundation has been poured and the parking lot grading is being completed. Curb and gutter will be done next week.
The Focus on Success was on the BPS Child Nutrition program and the United Way/Community Action Backpack Programs for weekend meals for students. BPS fed students every day during COVID and expanded from 8 sites to 24 sites including frozen meals that could be cooked at home. In March and April, total meals served daily was 117,613, growing to 128,824 in May. This summer, meals are being served at 20 sites through July 24th. The June meal count was 73,294, for a 15-month total of 319,731. The Backpack Programs provide approximately 900 BPS students with kid-friendly food items like peanut butter and jelly, fruit cups, canned dinners, cereal, yogurt, etc.
Karl Lembke was elected president of the School Board for the coming year. Jon Lee will be vice president. New members Donnell Preskey Hushka and Dan Eastgate were sworn in. Matt Sagsveen is also a board member. The board’s Global Operational Expectation and Emergency Superintendent Succession were both approved as in compliance, and the Board extended the Superintendent’s contract for two years.
Friday, July 10, 1 pm
Message from Dr. Jason Hornbacher, Superintendent: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1770191719