The Bement School is actively monitoring new developments with the novel coronavirus, COVID. We will regularly update the Bement community through email about the school's preparation and responses. Those emails will also be posted here. Please continue to check this page for current updates.
Our campus remains closed to the general public, and staff as well as visitor access is restricted. Please call the business office at 413-774-7061 Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. for any assistance, with any questions, or if you need to schedule dropping off or picking up any items. Thank you for understanding.
For more information about the above events, and for information about event cancellations, please see the Bement calendar.
- What is COVID-19?
- How is COVID-19 spread?
- What are common symptoms?
- How can I prevent from getting COVID-19?
- What should I do if I think I've contracted COVID-19?
- What do we do if we have household members who are vulnerable?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. This new infectious disease was unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019and has the potential to cause severe respiratory illness in some people.
Content source: World Health Organization
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Content source: World Health Organization
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The following recommended everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- See CDC’s Handwashing website for more details.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Current information suggests that COVID-19 is not a large threat to our students. However, students may have family members whose health systems are compromised and/or are medically fragile. We ask each family to evaluate their own level of risk and respond accordingly. People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.
- We STRONGLY recommend families have all household members, including children, develop the routine of washing hands upon arrival at home.
- School is temporarily closed for the remainder of the academic year, now what?
- How will on campus events and visitors be handled during this time?
- Is anyone on campus if I need to reach someone?
- My child needs their books or musical instrument from their cubby or their dorm room. How can we get them?
- What will happen for the 9th grade musical?
- What about the secondary school process?
- Are Bement’s summer day programs still happening?
- What steps is Bement taking to keep coronavirus (COVID-19) from campus?
- How will students be screened to return to campus after the distance learning period?
The health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. In accordance with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s order of April 21, 2020, Bement’s campus will be closed for the remainder of the academic year. However, school is still in session! We have transitioned to distance learning for all of our students.
It is with great concern for the health and wellness of our community that we have made the decision to cancel all on campus events for the remainder of the academic year. We are disappointed that we are unable to offer these programs; however, social distancing and avoidance of unnecessary travel are important in the context of this global health crisis. Please note: The Admission Office plans to conduct interviews with prospective students via Skype and information sessions for students and parents through Zoom during this time.
In accordance with local and state guidelines and restrictions, the Bement campus is closed to students, faculty, staff, visitors, events, informal gatherings, and use by non-Bement groups. Healthy and asymptomatic faculty and staff who need to return to campus must contact Dylan Korpita to make arrangements to enter campus. If you have specific questions, please reach out via email to the following people:
Terry Shields: any boarding related questions
Kim Loughlin: any admission/enrollment-related or international student visa questions
Amie Keddy: any upper school curriculum pr programming questions
Emily Lent Hemingway: any lower school curriculum or programming questions
Jennifer Boyden: any billing or Smart Tuition questions
Dylan Korpita: any operations questions
Chris Wilson: all other questions
Given the latest guidelines, we are not allowing students and parents to return to campus. Your teachers will understand that you may or may not have access to some of your books, school materials, or instruments, and the remote learning work they design will not require these items.
To arrange for the pick-up of musical instruments, please contact Dylan Korpita.
We are working on a plan to retrieve belongings or make arrangements to transport them to secondary schools for use next school year. We will share that information once we have coordinated a plan to do so.
Jeff Pilgrim, Director of Secondary School Counseling, continues to be ready and willing to support our students and their secondary school decision process. If you have any questions about this, please contact Mr. Pilgrim directly.
At this point we are still planning for the summer program offerings, which include Junior Camp, Adventure Camp, a Counselor in Training Program, and Digging Into Nature at Pine Hill, to all occur as scheduled.
Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel the English Language and American Culture (ELAC) and Bement in Shanghai (BIS) summer programs.
We continue to closely monitor updates from local, state, and national officials, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and from the World Health Organization (WHO). We are also in communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, with peer schools, and with colleges and universities in Massachusetts.
Following travel guidelines/recommendations
We are guided by the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and public health officials and taking extra steps as considered necessary to protect our community. The CDC continues to adjust its advisories.
Preventative measures on campus
We are working with our cleaning services across campus to prevent the spread of germs. We have posted signs on our main doors indicating that campus is closed and are reminding any authorized employees to wash their hands. We will not be serving lunch to staff during this time, and necessary campus staff are working on a rotational basis on site and from home when possible. We have cancelled all service provider / vendor visits to campus except for necessary maintenance and repair.
In order to ensure the health and safety of our community, we will be in touch with families about the screening process we put in place before their child is returning to campus. We will follow local and state guidelines and precautions. All students must complete the Travel Form as part of this process.
- What will students need to participate in remote learning?
- What if my child does not have access to a device or high speed internet at their current location?
- What are the expectations for students during this time?
Students will need access to an Internet-enabled device, a reliable Internet connection, and time to complete assignments. If your family is unable to accommodate a remote learning environment for your child, please contact either Emily Lent or Amie Keddy, who will work with you to ensure that all students have access to the resources that they need.
Students will have access to a full Bement curriculum online starting on Friday, March 27. Each week’s content will go live on Google Classroom the Friday before (i.e., students can access lessons for the week of March 30-April 3 starting on Friday, March 27). Many of these lessons can be done asynchronously (at any time) and independently, without the need for materials like textbooks, which not all students will have access to. If your child is not able to access Google Classroom, please contact Ms. Keddy or Ms. Lent right away so they can can curriculum materials to you in another way!
Students should check Google Classroom a few times a week, but they do not need to be online every day during normal school hours. Teachers will check in frequently with students and parents and will be available to provide guidance, support, and answers to questions.
Students in grades K-2 have access to a variety of online tools, but they have not used Google Classroom before. Your child’s teacher will invite you to join their Google Classroom site so that you have full access to the class materials, some of which can be printed out if that is easier for you. Students in grades 3-9 are familiar with Google tools and know their usernames and passwords to log in to Google Classroom. If they need to reset their passwords, please contact Barak Blackburn, Bement’s director of technology.
- Resources and Updates on COVID
- Prevention of Coronavirus
- Travel Information
- Talking About COVID With Children
- Parent Resources
- Yoga with Ms. Crosby
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- For Parents: Articles and Recources
- Fun Links
- Parent to Parent
- Parents and Kids in Nature
- Local Resources
- Time.com: The Secret to Keeping Your Kids Happy, Busy and Learning if Their School Closes Due to Coronavirus
- NPR: Tips For Homeschooling During Coronavirus
- Education Week: New Warnings on Screen Time, as Students Nationwide Move to E-Learning
- Child Mind Institute
- Lynn Lyons Podcast: A Mom's Retreat
- Social Emotional Learning Resources
Draw Every Day with JJK (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)
- Some Bement parents have implemented student schedules at home. Here are examples of two fifth graders' schedules - where the students helped to develop the schedule
If you have ideas to share with other parents, please email them to The Bement Family Association.
A Message From Jill Craig:
Reduced stress, enhanced cognitive abilities and increased academic performance are just a few of the myriad benefits to going outside. What your time outside looks like can vary from highly structured scientific studies to an unstructured romp through the woods. Either way, as we face a whole lot of time together at home, getting outside is more important than ever. Below is a list of activities your children can do to engage in nature. Remember, you don't have to know the answers to their questions, just wander and wonder together, make up names and answers together!
Purely Unstructured Fun
Make a Fort: Find a place to build with fallen sticks and leaves, really anything and make a fort.
Make a Fairy House: Gather little things from nature and build a small space for fairies.
Puddles: Put on your wellies and splash away! Find things that float/sink, make mud potions, play with cups and spoons.
Any Way You Like It...
Go for a Nature Walk
Make a list before you go of all the things you want to find. For younger children limit to 8-10, older children 10 or more. Check each item off as you find it and write down anything you found as a surprise! Discuss why you weren't able to find some items (weather, season, location, time of day, etc.). Expand upon this idea and make a list of things you could gather together. Take those items and use them to do an afternoon craft, make a leaf man, use the items in your fairy house, etc.
For younger children, find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Close your eyes and count on your hands how many sounds you hear. For a twist, grab a piece of paper, pencil and try to map out what you hear and where it's coming from! For older children, work together to create a map of the space, be sure to include points of reference (back porch, house, shed, garage, large oak tree, swings, etc.). Now close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature. Can you identify what you hear and mark them down on the map?
Go for a rock hunt and collect rocks of a certain kind (flat, round, sharp, square, etc.). Wash them off and when dry, paint them. Make insects, animals, write letters or numbers on them with a sharpie and enjoy!
Below are some community resources for local families.
Support our local businesses! Now, more than ever, it is important to support our local businesses. Below is a list of businesses that are open, are offering curbside pick-up and/or delivery in the following areas:
Click here for a list of local farms and markets that are offering grocery delivery and curbside pick-ups.
Bement's ballet and yoga teacher, Lesley Tunstall Crosby, is offering on-line yoga classes to Bement families. Each 20-minute class holds a short meditation, yoga postures to ground and mudras to help cope with anxiety and poses to bring a smile. Yoga mats are great, but not necessary. Below are the classes:
Topic: Introduction to Yoga, access code: IVEw09
Topic: Sun Salutations, access code: IXbg73
Topic: Cultivating Well-Being, access code: W2&h18@3
Topic: Balancing Poses, access code: pKfXu8
Topic: Hip Openers (great for athletes), access code: u8&TuT!7
Topic: Spring Detox (no access code)
Topic: Meditation with Three Part Durgha Breath
Topic: Invigorating Flow Yoga (Intermediate, one hour class)
Topic: Three quick and easy exercises to do at your computer, releasing stress
Topic: Awakening Morning Flow
Topic: Using yogic breath (Ujjayi) to support and nourish your practice
Topic: The Joy of Back-Bending, especially for children