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Friday Notes

9/18/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:

The District’s goal from the moment we released our Return to Learn plan was to provide in-person education to as many students and families as requested while implementing safety protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Today marks the 27th day of student learning this year. While there is much to celebrate, there is also a note of caution. It is easy to assume our goal has been met and many are to be thanked for their vigilance to maintain safety protocols; however, it is just as easy to relax and let our guard down as we become more comfortable in these new surroundings.

It is important to continue all of the recommendations to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Students, teachers, staff, and families are reminded to wash hands frequently, sanitize hands when they can’t be washed, wear face coverings, and social distance. If each person does his/her part, we can protect ourselves and each other and thus continue to be together at school. Everyone’s efforts are truly appreciated.

Due to the tremendous collaboration and cooperation we have seen by all stakeholders in following the guidelines we have set through our Return to School Blueprint, we will maintain our level of education at Tier II or Yellow for the week beginning September 21st. While we have not been immune from students and staff testing positive for COVID-19, we have not had any school-wide spread occur. This is due to all of you doing your part and doing it well! You are proof that completing daily symptom checks, good hygiene practices, consistent use of face coverings, and social distancing is what is allowing us to provide in-person learning to so many of our students. We know this comes with great fatigue and responsibility at times, but we appreciate your efforts in keeping school facilities open and staff and students healthy.

Remote Learning families will be receiving a form from their students’ school regarding continuing remote learning or returning to the classroom for the next grading period. There is no open registration for remote learning as this process was completed in early August. Students may transition from remote learning back to the classroom at the end of the grading period. Students can only change from in-person to remote learning for a medically verified reason from a licensed physician or therapist.

Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, October 13th and Wednesday, October 14th. We value the opportunity to share student achievement and strive to develop a partnership with the families we serve. District and building administration have determined our safest option for these conferences will be to hold them remotely, through a virtual meeting. An expansion of conference times will be offered to accommodate the ability for parents/guardians to connect with school staff. Starting this weekend and throughout the next week, you will receive communication on sign-ups for a virtual conference time slot.

Bennington Public Schools’ athletics and fine arts programs enrich educational experiences. Access to these activities brings the community together in solidarity to celebrate our “Badger Pride” and allows our students to thrive outside the classroom. Limiting student participation and spectator attendance at these events continues to be a challenge. Administration regularly reviews protocols and monitors COVID-19 progression in hopes of increased participation at activities.

Effective September 14, 2020, Bennington Public Schools updated the attendance policy for home events. Family members of Bennington High School activity participants are allowed to purchase up to five paid tickets for their family. Bennington Public Schools expects that all those in attendance be related to a game/event participant. Under this policy update, grandparents of students can purchase tickets as part of this five-ticket allotment. We believe this update can be implemented safely while better serving our families and community.

In addition, the Bennington High School Marching Band will be allowed to perform at the September 25th, home varsity football game. Please look for additional information regarding procedures for band participants, as well as their parents/guardians in the near future. In the meantime, we hope you join us tonight in viewing the varsity football game against Skutt Catholic High School at 7:00 p.m. You may watch it live at rmd.me/aJLrZmITyXD.

All students enrolled in Bennington Public Schools, whether enrolled as an in person or remote learner, are eligible to receive a free breakfast and a free lunch on the days that school is scheduled to be in session through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) waiver. On August 31st, 2020, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released new guidance which permits schools to provide free nutritious meals to students as an extension of the CARES Act of 2020. Our District will start this free meal program on Wednesday, September 23rd. In addition to free breakfast and lunch for all students, the USDA program is retroactive to the beginning of this school year and allows all student/family lunch accounts to be reimbursed for school meals from August 12th through September 22nd. The District will provide more information on this new Hot Lunch program early next week.

Again, we want to celebrate our success at this point in our journey through the 2020/21 school year. We also want to remind all stakeholders that this success has been achieved by adherence to the safety guidelines and protocols that are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. With adherence to the safety protocols in place, we will be able to meet our goal.

Fall is such a beautiful time of the year to be outside and enjoy some fun with family and friends. Here's wishing everyone a safe and pleasant weekend!

9/11/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:
We have completed our first month of school now and continue to be impressed with
how teachers, students, and families have adapted to the new learning environments
and expectations. We recognize people may be experiencing “COVID Fatigue” with
trying to maintain as much normalcy in life, but experiencing the stress of the health
precautions and the frustration of not being able to have a “normal” school year. The
District encourages everyone to help themselves and our students to develop the
needed coping skills. Some recommended steps to fighting off stress include exercise,
talking about concerns to others, constructive thinking, gratitude, and mindfulness. We
do want to share our gratitude for all you do for your children and our school district.
We will maintain our level of education at Tier II or Yellow for the week beginning
September 14th. The metrics used to determine our level of education held steady this
past week. If we make any adjustment in our tiered educational planning, we would
provide students, families and employees appropriate time (approximately two to four
days) to make plans for different tiered protocols. Please note we have a notification bar
at the top of the district website denoting the level of educational protocol for the week.
Today, students and staff across the district celebrated Patriot’s Day to remember and
honor the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001. Students learned about
the tragic story of this day and we honor the unmatched bravery of our Nation’s first
responders. We also celebrate those who, in the days and years following the attack,
answer the call to serve our country and continue to risk their lives in defense of
freedom.
Remote Learning families will be receiving a form from their students’ school about
continuing remote learning or returning to the classroom for the next grading period.
There is no open registration for remote learning as this process was completed in early
August. Students may move from remote learning back to the classroom at the end of
the grading period. Students can only change from in-person to remote learning for a
medically-verified reason from a licensed physician or therapist.

Due to the newest Directed Health Measure, the school district is asking that if
anyone in your household presents with the following COVID-19 Symptoms to
please keep all of your children home from school until the household member with
the symptoms either has a negative test or an alternate diagnosis. The symptoms
include: shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or sudden onset of cough. We thank
you for your assistance with this.
We will continue to provide our remote learners with the opportunity for homework
assistance during the evenings. Building level administration has provided
communication for the process for elementary, middle, and secondary students to
access support through a live Google Classroom Meet. Staff is available to help with
such items as homework questions, figuring out difficult answers or solutions, and help
with navigating assignments within Google Classrooms. This is a drop-in session for
Remote Learners, where students should require approximately 10-15 minutes of
support. Once support is complete, students are asked to exit the Google Meet to allow
other learners to receive instruction. This time is not used for device difficulties.
Technology support is available during the school day from 7:30-4:30 by emailing
tech@bennps.org from your student’s Bennington email account. Attached you will find
the Remote Learning Responsibilities Document as a reminder of both the student and
family’s responsibilities during this time.
Today marks the middle of the first quarter, which means Fall Parent Teacher
Conferences are approaching. Building a connection between home and school is
extremely important for the progression of our students. We understand these unique
times bring challenges for families seeking involvement in the school setting. We want
to assure you that the administrative team is developing a plan to offer virtual
conferences scheduled for Tuesday, October 13 th and Wednesday, October 14 th . We
value the opportunity to share student achievement and strive to develop a partnership
with the families we serve. Look for more information pertaining to Fall Parent Teacher
Conferences in the weeks to come.
If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse,
relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or
emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline
connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available
24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if
you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.
We are mindful of the stress students, staff, and families are under and encourage
everyone to fight the “COVID Fatigue” by getting out and enjoying the weekend. The
administration would like to commend students, families and employees for following

the safety guidelines and protocols. With adherence to the safety protocols in place, we
have had very few positive COVID-19 cases in school and less than two percent of our
students in quarantine at one time. Keep up the good work!
Stay Badger Strong!
 

9/4/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:

We have been in school for over three weeks now and are very impressed with how teachers, students, and families have adapted to the new learning environments and expectations. The District recognizes what many consider “school” is not what is being experienced this year. We continue to thank our parents for sending children to school or helping them study from home. We truly appreciate all you do for your children and our school district. You all deserve a long weekend and we hope you enjoy your time and have a chance to fully unplug.

We will maintain our level of education at Tier II or Yellow for the week beginning September 7th. The metrics used to determine our level of education held steady this past week. If we make any adjustment in our tiered educational planning, we would provide students, families and employees appropriate time (approximately two to four days) to make plans for different tiered protocols. Please note we have a notification bar at the top of the district website denoting the level of educational protocol for the week.

Fall activities started hosting contests this past week. Several protocols were implemented to help lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19. The high school administration published guidelines for limited fan participation at our activities. In brief, we are limiting fan participation to participants, school personnel, and immediate family. Please be aware that anyone not on this limited list will be turned away at the gate.

We continue to appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we make necessary adjustments to our plans to maintain a safe environment for in-person education. The District continues to believe that implementing safety protocols such as symptom checks before leaving your house, face coverings, personal hygiene, social distancing and classroom sanitation/stagnation will lessen health risks for students and staff and increase our opportunity to maintain in-person education.

Starting next week Remote Learners across the District will have the opportunity to receive homework support after school hours. Building level administration has provided communication for the process for elementary, middle, and secondary students to access support through a live Google Classroom Meet. Staff is available to help with such items as homework questions, figuring out difficult answers or solutions, and help with navigating assignments within Google Classrooms. This is a drop-in session for Remote Learners, where students should require approximately 10-15 minutes of support.  Once support is complete, students are asked to exit the Google Meet to allow other learners to receive instruction. This time is not used for device difficulties. Technology support is available during the school day from 7:30-4:30 by emailing tech@bennps.org from your student’s Bennington email account.  Attached you will find the Remote Learning Responsibilities Document as a reminder of both the student and family’s responsibilities during this time.

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

We appreciate everyone's cooperation as we started school this year. The District implemented many new procedures and protocols ranging from entering school to Google Classroom this fall. We understand some of these educational changes have caused families to make changes at home as well. The administration would like to commend students, families and employees for following the safety guidelines and protocols. With adherence to the safety protocols in place, we have had very few positive COVID-19 cases in school and less than two percent of our students in quarantine at one time. Keep up the good work!

We wish everyone a happy and healthy Labor Day weekend.

 

 

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Notice of Non-Discrimination Bennington Public Schools
 
Students, their families and potential employees of the Bennington Public Schools are hereby notified that the Bennington Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, religion, veteran status, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, or other protected status in employment, career or technical programs and activities as set forth in compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations. Any persons having inquiries concerning Bennington Public Schools compliance with Title II, Title IV, Title VI, Title IX, ADA and/or Section 504 may contact:

Dr. Terry L. Haack, Superintendent · 11620 North 156th Street · Bennington, NE · Phone: (402) ­ 238­-3044
Email: thaack@bennps.org
 
Bennington Elementary · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2690 · fax 402­-238­-2185
Bennington High School · 16610 Bennington Road · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2447 · fax 402­-238­-2950
Bennington Middle School · 11201 N. 168th Street ·PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3082 · fax 402­-916­-5823
Anchor Pointe Elementary · 17007 HWS Cleveland Boulevard · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2166 · fax 402­-885­-8604
Pine Creek Elementary · 7801 N HWS Cleveland Blvd. · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2372 · fax 402­-238­-2416
Heritage Elementary · 9950 Rosewater Parkway · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2095 · fax 402­-238­-3351
District Office · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3044 · 402­-238­-2185