19-20 COVID Updates

Dear Bentley Families,

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a picture of the Genesee County positive COVID cases per day from May through August 5th (note: there is a lag in getting all the data into the database, so the number of cases now is actually higher).

Since my communication last week, COVID cases have continued to rise. The number one action we can take to drastically stop the spread and minimize the impact to those who get infected is get vaccinated. For people 12 years and older, this is an option and there are clinics widely available. However, there are 56,000 kids in Genesee County who are too young to get the vaccine—they do not have an option for this level of protection. Therefore, Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) ordered yesterday that all children in kindergarten through sixth grade must wear a mask at school when they are inside and so must all the people who provide them service.

Because mask use decreases the spread of COVID, it is strongly recommended that everybody from 7th grade to adults wear a mask when in school, regardless of vaccination status. Mask use on busses is still mandatory for all people.  

In addition to encouraging vaccines and masks, the following practices will continue at Bentley:

  • Physical distancing – maintaining 3’ or more of distance between people to the extent possible
  • Ventilation – windows will regularly be open to improve air circulation; air purifiers will be running in classrooms
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette – promoting handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes
  • Staying home when sick and getting tested - students, students’ immediate families, and staff who are symptomatic are expected to stay at home, get tested whether they have been vaccinated or not, and report any suspected or known cases of COVID to the principal.
  • Contact tracing – the district will continue to work with GCHD to support this practice
  • Cleaning and disinfecting – the district will continue to clean and disinfect as recommended by MDHHS.

Despite the virus, we are moving forward and preparing for school to begin again this fall. And we are so excited to have our school family back together in person Mondays-Fridays!

Important Upcoming Dates

  • August 16-19: Summer camps and summer school K-12 (masks required Kdg-6th grade; recommended 7th-12th)
  • August 26: Open House at each building from 4:00-6:00 PM
  • August 30: School begins in person five days/week.

Live Distance Learning (LDL) Update

Bentley teachers are super heroes, not super human. Therefore, they will be teaching students face-to-face only. If you desire a virtual option for your child, know that it will only be available for those students who have been successful with it in the past—that means the student was showing up in the class and staying active in the class essentially every day/every hour.

Because there are few students who were successful with this model last year and many students want to be back at school with friends and teachers, we don’t have enough students at each grade level to also provide online classes (not even as split classes). This is true for many districts across the county. Therefore, we are working with other districts in the county to provide a live, distance learning option.

For kindergarten through 8th grade, students approved for this option will be in a virtual class with a teacher from another district and they will have to be in the class virtually at the time it is being taught. In other words, they will have to be in class via the computer every day and be actively engaged in the class. If a family selects this option and it is approved, it will be a yearlong commitment and those students will remain Bentley students, retaining the right to participate in Bentley activities.  The specifics are still being worked out at the county level (start date, the forms that must be completed, etc.) More information will be provided as soon as it is available.   If you are interested, talk to your building principal to determine if it will be an option for your child.

As I said last week, masks or no masks, Bentley continues to be a small, compassionate district where kids are genuinely cared about.  We’ve gotten this far and we’ll get through the next leg of this journey. Make no mistake, we are on a mission to make it a fantastic and positive school year and hope you are, too!

Go Bulldogs!

Kristy Spann, PhD