Dear BTC Families and Friends,
Like all of you, we have been monitoring the ongoing public health crisis very carefully, following all the research and updates. BTC students come from near and far, from Westchester, the Rivertowns, from Croton through Yonkers, and also from Rockland County, New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We’ve read over a dozen school district reopening plans for September and seen them evolve even this week.
At BTC, we are running our full schedule of classes.
For BTC’s September start of school year classes, our plan is for grades K-6, as well as Adult class sections, to start the year remotely. We have had extremely successful summer sessions conducted online. The faculty has continued to refine what we’ve learned about teaching performing arts virtually, and feel very confident about our remote teaching engagement.
BTC plans to start grades 7-12 with in-person classes, in conjunction with an online option for remote learning. We intend to utilize our backyard, as much as possible, for one class at a time – something BTC can only accomplish with our 7-12 grade course structure. The yard is being prepped with studio flooring and a plan to protect from the elements. Most classes will be limited to 10 or fewer students. All students will wear masks and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart. All items (chairs, ballet barres, etc.) will be disinfected between uses. If for some reason the backyard studio isn’t feasible, we may consider using our Main Studio, with all doors and windows open to maintain airflow. BTC is a historic landmark building that will need to use venting fans to continuously remove air from the studio and pull in the fresh air from outside.
We are announcing our joyous, 4-12th grade, Fall Combined Ensemble Musical: The Wizard of Oz! Ensemble will be held in a hybrid fashion: Generally, it will be Zoom on Fridays, with smaller rehearsal groups scheduled at BTC for in-person sessions on Saturdays. (In addition to 7-12 graders, Ensemble members grades 4-6 will also have the option to be called for specific outdoor sessions.) The show will be presented virtually at the end of the semester.
We are still in the process of purchasing our building and the building next door, and in a few months we hope to have a renovated rehearsal hall specifically designed to allow small groups of people to work together.
Through lengthy discussions and analysis with our team, carefully reviewing the CDC guidelines and the state’s safety recommendations, these are the measures within state compliance for our building type and student capacity that BTC can safely fulfill. We know that this is only a temporary solution, as the weather will eventually necessitate a switch to indoor sessions. At that point, we will assess whether it is safe to meet in person in limited numbers or switch to Zoom.
Here are some other elements of our reopening plan:
State regulations require we keep the density of people in the building to a minimum. We ask that you make an appointment if you need to come to the office. We have found most business can be handled over phone or email. Only with a scheduled appointment, or as a registered student during their designated onsite class time, will anyone be allowed to enter our premises.
Student Temperatures will be taken upon arrival. We ask you to keep any students home (and to alert us right away) if they exhibit symptoms, if any family members are showing symptoms, or if they have been in contact with anyone unwell.
Students attending in person will be required to wear masks.
Handwashing and hand sanitizer use at the start of class will be encouraged.
We intend to stay current with all developments. We must be nimble together in keeping up, and we thank you in advance for understanding as changes need to be made to the plan for everyone’s safety.
We understand that all our students have missed coming to class in person. We’ve missed all of them too! If circumstances change and it looks like we can safely convene all grade levels in person, we will be ready to do so.
We hope you will consider supporting BTC and joining us for classes this school year. We promise a wonderful, enriching experience with all of your friends and teachers – whether online or in person.
With warm wishes,
Jason, Fiona, Heather, Lauren, and the entire BTC Team