District Communication (Feb. 26 - March 14)

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

I want to thank you for your continued patience and support during this unprecedented situation. We have received many questions about the details of our school closure. Will these days have to be made up? How will this impact our seniors? Will events be rescheduled or canceled completely? Is flexible instruction/remote learning still a possibility? How long will this closure last? 

All of these questions are valid. However, most of this is beyond our control at this point. We are working quickly to get as much clarity from the state as possible. In the meantime, we are taking this situation one day at a time and will continue to make decisions with the information we have available and the best interest of our school community in mind. 

Right now, the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community is the priority. My immediate focus is on ensuring our school community has the necessary resources during this time. 

Did you know 44% of our students are eligible for free and reduced lunch? Of that population, several hundred children depend on our schools for breakfast and lunch. Some participate in our free dinner program and even take a backpack full of food home on the weekend. 

We have been approved by the state to continue food service for all Butler Area School District students during our closure. If your child (or children) need breakfast and lunch, please click the link below to complete the order form. You will have the option to pick up the food at either Center Avenue Community School or Emily Brittain Community Partnership and Demonstration School. If you are unable to pick up food for your children, delivery is an option. At the end of the day, we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our children are not hungry during this school closure. 

Food service order form: https://forms.gle/Xf2NtW4fBMCUhQXU8 

We will also be able to continue the Kids’ Weekend Backpack Program as of this Friday, March 20. More information will be shared directly with those families. 

In addition, I have been informed of several other resources that may become available in our community. For some of our families, loss of wages during this time will be devastating. PA 2-1-1 Southwest has many resources available for those in need. To contact PA 2-1-1 Southwest, dial 2‑1‑1 or 1‑888‑553‑5778 or visit their website: http://pa211sw.org/.

Several parents have asked about picking up their child’s personal belongings, including medication, from school. All of our schools will be open for parents or students to pick up any personal belongings on Monday, March 16 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. 

I have sent a lot of communications regarding the coronavirus and its impact on our operations. I haven't really spoken about the impact on our students. On Thursday, I had the chance to stop in to rehearsal for our musical. It was excellent. I also had the unfortunate task of sharing with our students that the musical would most likely be delayed, because we were being asked to cancel mass gatherings. It was very emotional.  Watching students who have worked so hard for months suddenly being told the show won’t go on as planned was tough. I am sure that many of our students are experiencing these same feelings as they relate to their academics, athletics, arts and activities. At this point, all I can say is that I am sorry. I hope some normalcy returns soon so we can try to reschedule these very special opportunities.

Finally, I encourage everyone to think about how you are talking to your children about COVID-19.  The Child Mind Institute has provided some excellent thoughts for parents to consider throughout this crisis.  I have included the article from the Child Mind Institute below my letter.

We have created a section on our website dedicated to communication about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and how it is impacting our school community. Right now we are closed. However, if we get approval and move to flexible instruction/remote learning during our closure, assignments and other information will be shared on this website. You can also find all of our district level communication, the food service order form, and resources such as 2-1-1 and how to talk to your child about COVID-19 on the website

http://www.basdk12.org/administration/110 

I want to thank you all once again for your support, patience and flexibility during this time. The Butler community is truly remarkable. 

 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 13, 2020 (9:00 pm)

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

As we were announcing our plans for the next two weeks based on information we received from the state earlier today, Governor Wolf made the decision to close all K-12 schools for a two week period. 

Governor Wolf has stated that only essential personnel may report to work during the next two weeks. Given this development, we will be unable to deliver flexible instruction to our students. 

At this time, school will be closed from Monday, March 16 - Friday, March 27. Effective as of noon on Saturday, March 14, ALL activities, athletics and events at Butler Area School District are canceled and all facilities are closed to the general public. Please note the SAT scheduled for Saturday morning will still take place. 

We are in the process of making plans to

ontinue food service for our students in need. More information on that is forthcoming.  We will continue to work this evening and through the weekend make plans.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 13, 2020 (4:00 pm)

Dear Parents and Guardians:

As we were announcing our plans for the next two weeks based on information we received from the state earlier today, Governor Wolf made the decision to close all K-12 schools for a two week period. 

His announcement is below. 

March 13, 2020

Governor Wolf Announces Closure of Pennsylvania Schools

Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16. The administration has been working with school districts as well as state and local officials to gather input on this decision. The Wolf Administration will continue to monitor Covid-19 in the commonwealth, and at the end of 10 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.

Governor Wolf made the following statement:

We understand that these are trying times and recognize the impact of the coronavirus on our students and communities.

First and foremost, my top priority as governor – and that of our education leaders – must be to ensure the health and safety of our students and school communities.

As such, I am ordering that all schools in the commonwealth close for the next two weeks.

Be aware that no school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.

The Department of Education will work with intermediate units and other stakeholders to support school districts with any continuity of learning plans they may be pursuing.

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced today that it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve meals to low income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during this closure. We will also work with schools to assist them with those plans.

We appreciate your collaboration as we work together to deal with this difficult issue.

This means that our schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 - Friday, March 27. Our previous plans to provide flexible instruction/remote learning are no longer relevant at this time. We will continue to monitor direction from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and keep you informed. 

Thank you for your patience as we work through this situation. 

 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent

Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 13, 2020 (3:00 pm)

** Please note this message is no longer relevant given updated guidance from Governor Wolf. **

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and the impacts it will have on our schools. This morning, our administrators participated in a webinar with the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Health. We have also been collaborating with our local health care professionals. 

At this point, we have been advised to limit large gatherings of 250 people or more in one place. For our secondary schools, a typical lunch period includes 500 people in a cafeteria. The state has also recommended "social distancing" and limiting unnecessary gatherings of people whenever possible. 

In light of this information, we have designated Monday, March 16 as an ACT 80 Day. This means our faculty and staff will report to school, but our students will NOT have school on Monday. On Monday, our faculty will continue to plan for flexible instruction and remote learning for our students. 

On Tuesday, March 17, we will begin using Flexible Instructional Days (FID) for the remainder of next two weeks. This means:

Monday, March 16

Act 80 Day -- No School for Students

Tuesday, March 17

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Wednesday, March 18

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Thursday, March 19

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Friday, March 20

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Monday, March 23

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Tuesday, March 24

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Wednesday, March 25

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Thursday, March 26

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

Friday, March 27

Flexible Instructional Day/Remote Learning

 

On Wednesday, March 25, we will assess where we are, review all recommendations from our local health care professionals and make a decision on how to proceed for the following week. 

Please be aware, this is not a “school closure.” Our faculty will continue to plan lessons and be available during school hours while students continue to learn at home. 

Effective as of noon on Saturday, March 14, ALL activities and events at Butler Area School District are canceled and all facilities are closed to the general public.

All employees will receive a communication over the course of this weekend. Please be patient as you wait for that correspondence.

We will continue to communicate with you and keep you up to date. 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent

Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 12, 2020

March 12, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

As we continue to work out the logistics of possible contingency plans, we have received many questions regarding whether or not we plan to close our schools in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Just this afternoon, Governor Wolf closed all K-12 schools in Montgomery County. However, no such directive or recommendation has been made for Butler County. At this point, we do not have the authority to close our schools due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) without direction from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Secretary of Education will be addressing all school superintendents on Friday via a webinar. At that time, we hope to receive additional information and guidance. 

We have postponed our 7th grade trip to Gettysburg that was scheduled for this weekend. We are in the process of evaluating other field trips and student travel.

In addition, we will continue to put possible plans in place, should a school closure become necessary.  

Family Connectivity Survey -- Grades K-4
If you are a parent or guardian of a student in grades K-4 and you have not already turned in your family connectivity survey, please return it to your child’s teacher as soon as possible.  We are working to develop a plan for students who do not have access to the internet, a device or both.

Student Logins -- Grades 7-12
Students in grades 7-12 have their own Butler school email address. Many already know their login credentials. However, just in case students are unaware or have forgotten, their email address and password are being sent home with them. Some students received it today and others will receive this information on Monday. Please encourage your student to keep this information in a safe place. If we would need to use alternative learning plans, teachers would communicate with secondary students via their school email address. 

Student Logins -- Grades K-6
Students in grades K-6 will be using Clever as their information portal. Students in grades K-6 will bring home information either today or on Monday that includes their “Clever Badge” and steps for accessing the portal. Please keep this information handy on behalf of your child so that your family can access Clever should we need to use this as a way for teachers to send links to elementary students.

Learning Materials
In addition to bringing home login information, students will be asked to carry some school learning materials back and forth between school and home. 

  • K-4: Math and ELA materials

  • 5-6: Math, ELA, and Social Studies

  • 7-12: Materials will vary depending on the courses students are taking

Please note, we do not expect you to do anything extra with these materials at this time. This is simply a precaution so that students are prepared should we be directed to close our schools in the future. 

Once again, we do not have any plans to close our schools at this point in time. 

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we work through the logistics of our possible contingency plans. 

 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent

Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

As I’m sure you are aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is still being covered in just about every media outlet. I want to reassure you that we are collaborating with Butler County leaders, Pennsylvania Department of Health officials, Butler Health System and other health care providers to discuss updates, share information and, if needed, coordinate a response.

At this time, we have NOT received any guidance or recommendations that we should be closing our schools. We will continue to operate on a normal schedule as we monitor the situation. 

We are, however, working through the logistics of possible contingency plans, should they need to be used. One piece of that is finding out how many of our families have access to the internet at home. Students in grades 5-12 completed a survey in school earlier this week. We also ask that parents of students in grades K-4 complete the survey that will be coming home with their child today and return it to school tomorrow (Thursday, March 12). 

Although we have no plans to close our schools at this time, we are taking preventative steps to help mitigate the risk. We are continuing to work on improving and intensifying the cleaning methods and strategies in our buildings, particularly in high traffic areas. Our teachers have been educating our students on the importance of washing their hands with soap and warm water. In addition, we have built extra time for hand washing into our daily schedule so that students can wash their hands more frequently and thoroughly.  

We also ask that you keep your child home from school if he or she is sick. If you are unsure whether or not your child is well enough to come to school, please check with your family pediatrician or contact the school nurse at your child’s school. Here is their contact information: https://www.basdk12.org/administration/6

Thank you for your continued help and support.

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Butler County Superintendents -- March 4

Parents/Guardians,

The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities. With the recently elevated discussion regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news, we want to take a moment to reinforce preventive safety measures and reference our process and communications.

While there are NO confirmed cases at the District level or in Pennsylvania regarding coronavirus, we are continuing to closely monitor updates and are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations in proactively planning should measures need to be put in place. All Butler County Superintendents/Executive Director and School Nurses are maintaining regular contact with Butler County leaders, Pennsylvania Department of Health officials, Butler Health System and other health care providers to discuss official updates, share information and, if needed, to coordinate any response. We are committed to collaborating in this effort and making the best possible decisions for our students, staff and families.

In all districts, we are working with our custodians and cleaning companies to ensure that we are very diligent in our cleaning practices. As a best practice for overall health in cold and influenza season, the CDC recommends that individuals receive the influenza vaccination and engage in everyday, preventative measures to reduce the spread of germs and avoid illness, including:
 

Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 

  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. The CDC recommends that individuals remain home for a minimum of 24 hours after you no longer have a fever. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • Take any anti-viral medication prescribed to you as instructed. 

Any specific health concerns should be directed to your family physician or healthcare provider. Anyone who will be traveling in the coming weeks may also want to take note of the CDC’s travel advisory at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. More information on the coronavirus is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Our districts will provide more information as it becomes available or in the event that the situation changes. Thank you for your continued support in keeping our students and staff safe. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Alfonso Angelucci, Superintendent 
Slippery Rock Area School District  

Dr. David Foley, Superintendent 
South Butler County School District

Mr. Eric Ritzert, Superintendent 
Karns City Area School District 

Mr. Thomas Samosky, Superintendent 
Moniteau School District 

Dr. Wesley Shipley, Superintendent
Mars Area School District 

Mr. Kurt Speicher, Executive Director
Butler Co. Area Vocational-Technical School

Dr. Tracy Vitale, Superintendent
Seneca Valley School District

Dr. Brian White, Superintendent
Butler Area School District

 

A Message from the Superintendent -- February 26

Dear Parents and Guardians: 

The school year is in full swing -- and unfortunately so is cold and flu season. However, there are preventative measures you can take as a line of defense. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following actions to help people stay healthy this year: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when sneezing or coughing. 
  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Eat healthy foods and drink a lot of healthy liquids (avoid sodas). 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that could be contaminated. 
  • Get your flu shot.

Both the common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses that are caused by different viruses. You can learn more about both from the CDC’s website. 

Common Cold (https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html

Influenza (flu) (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm)

There has also been a lot of talk about the Coronavirus this year. According to the CDC’s website: “The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.” 

Coronavirus (https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Yesterday, Nancy Messonnier, a director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated: “You should ask your children’s schools about their plans for school dismissals or school closures.” 

I would like to be clear that closures of school due to the Coronavirus would only be considered at the direction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  This is not something that we decide in isolation.

In the event that we are directed to close by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our closure plans would be the same as if there was a cancellation for a snow day. We would either cancel a school day and make it up at a later date or have a Flexible Instructional Day.  

It is my hope that a school closure will not be needed. We will continue to monitor the CDC’s updates on the Coronavirus and follow their recommendations for schools. 

We also ask that our families do their part to help maintain a healthy environment in our schools. 

Please do not send your child to school if he or she has experienced:

  • A fever of more than 100 degrees within the last 24 hours. Students must be fever free without medication for 24 hours before returning to school. 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea within the last 24 hours. 
  • Continuous coughing that is not relieved with cough medicine. 

In addition, please do not send your child to school if he or she has been advised by a doctor to refrain from attending school for any medical reason.

The goal of keeping our schools healthy involves us all! Thank you for your cooperation. 

 

Sincerely, 

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
Butler Area School District