BCSC updates plans for first day of school Thursday

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. students have their first day of school Thursday.

Here are a few last-minute reminders for families and community members.

Reopening plans

The BCSC school board approved a 2022-23 reopening plan at a recent meeting.

“We plan to return to in-person, full-day instruction with no COVID-19 restrictions for the upcoming school year,” said Superintendent Jim Roberts. “…We’re basically starting next year as we ended the last year. So masks and specific social distancing, all those kind of very specific things that we put in place are not necessarily a part of the plan.”

“However, we still stress the handwashing pieces, and we have all the sanitation areas available for washing hands. And all of the things that we put in place over a couple of years’ period of time to be more safe than we were before will continue as a normal part, now, of our processes and procedures.”

According to school officials, masks are optional in all situations, including school buses.

Director of Health Services Kelli Thompson said that students should stay home if they have COVID symptoms or have tested positive.

More information about BCSC health policies, including immunization requirements and recommendations, is available at bcscschools.org/healthservices.

eLearning

BCSC continues to offer a remote option for students via its Columbus Virtual Pathway.

“There is no official deadline for enrollment, however, we encourage BCSC families considering transferring to CVP to complete their transfer request within the first two weeks of school to ensure a smooth transition and a successful start to the school year,” said CVP Director Josh Giebel.

CVP enrollment is for a minimum of one semester. Students and families can transfer at semester breaks with administrator approval from both CVP and their home school.

More information on the pathway and how to enroll is available at bcscschools.org/cvp.

Stop arm cameras

As the school year begins, BCSC will now have stop arm cameras on all of its buses, said Director of Transportation AJ McKeand.

In the event of a stop arm violation, the bus driver will report the incident. The video will then be pulled from the bus, and a document will be created with relevant vehicle information. This information will then be forwarded to a school resource officer and later the prosecutor’s office.

In Indiana, it is illegal for motorists to pass a bus that is stopped, with red lights flashing and the stop arm extended.

This applies on all roads, with the exception of highways divided by a barrier, such as a cable barrier, concrete wall or grassy median drivers on those roads only have to stop if traveling in the same direction as the school bus.

“We do just like for the public to be on the lookout for the school buses and watch out for stop arms and just be vigilant around students standing outside, waiting for the buses, so that way everybody can get to and from school safely,” said McKeand.

Free and reduced meals

The federal pandemic aid that allowed for universal free meals ended on June 30. Parents who want their students to receive free or reduced meals will need to fill out an application. Forms can be found on BCSC’s website and will also be available at open houses, schools and the transportation and maintenance building.

According to Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Director of Food Services Nancy Millspaugh, families should file their applications as soon as possible so that the department can process them as quickly as possible.

More information on the food services department is available at bcscschools.org/foodservices. To find 2022-23 income guidelines and applications for free and reduced meals, click on “Meal Prices and Payment Options.”

Communication

As the school year starts, BCSC will begin using a new platform for family communication. The app, ParentSquare, will replace BCSC’s previous e-alert system. More information is available at bcscschools.org/parentsquarelaunch.

BCSC’s 2022-23 calendar, as well as its three-year calendar, may be viewed at bcscschools.org. The school board approved changes to the three-year calendar last October. In addition to adding more professional development days for staff, the update included slightly earlier starts to the school year and winter break, as well as a later start and end to the spring semester.

“As you plan for the upcoming year, involvement matters,” advised Director of Elementary Education Laura Hack. “Start by reaching out and introducing yourself and your child to your new teacher, support your school by volunteering to be a part of your school’s family organization, and enhance your child’s learning by reading together at home each night. We look forward to seeing BCSC families on the first day of school, Aug. 4th.”