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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – During its Monday night meeting, the Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors approved COVID-19 protocols for indoor sports for the rest of the school year.

The approved measure "strongly encourages" all BASD student-athletes and coaches to receive the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the winter sports season, scheduled to start Nov. 19.

Vaccinated student-athletes are not required to wear masks during athletic participation. In addition, vaccinated student-athletes will not be required to participate in COVID-19 testing if they provide "sufficient proof" that they are fully vaccinated against the virus.

The district will require unvaccinated student-athletes "to wear a mask at all times during athletic participation." In addition, they will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing while participating in their indoor sports. The district will provide the testing at no cost to the students or their families.

During his report to the board, Superintendent Joseph Roy said COVID-19 cases in BASD were "moving in the right direction." He added, "We're starting to see that downward trend."

Other business

In other news, the board accepted the Pennsylvania Department of Education's approval to refinance the district's 2021 bond series with a reimbursement rate of 15.62%. The amount of the bond issue is $28.1 million.

The board also approved a measure that will allow BASD to submit what is called a "Targeted Support and Improvement" ("TSI") plan, which explains how the district will use additional COVID-19 funds allocated to Freedom and Liberty high schools. The money will be used to support their school improvement plans and to provide "equitable services and opportunities to vulnerable student populations."

In other business, directors approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and the Children, Youth, and Families divisions of Northampton and Lehigh counties for transportation services for foster care youth enrolled in BASD.

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