Weekend Update - 10/8/21

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Staff:

The weeks roll on and it seems like just yesterday that we kicked off the year under some fairly difficult conditions. These are certainly conditions that we did not predict as we left last spring. I continue to thank staff, students and families for staying the course and helping us work our way through this. It is much appreciated. While the state hit an all time case count high yesterday, our Supervisory Union did not have to quarantine any classes. Here are the latest numbers from yesterday, October 7, 2021:

287 new cases reported, with 35 hospitalized (8 in the ICU)
2.6% seven-day test positivity rate
Most recent death reported on October 6, totaling 328 deaths statewide
88.4% of eligible Vermonters are partially or fully vaccinated

We continue to work with the Vermont Agency of Education on suggested guidelines and protocols.  The “Test To Stay” (TTS) program that I outlined in my previous emails is getting a lot of attention by school districts across the state. This is the program that utilizes a 7-day Antigen Rapid Test that allows a close-contact student to stay in school as long as they do not have symptoms.  I referenced the Massachusetts model here.   It appears that this program is labor intensive and there is no state support for implementation - except for providing the tests. We must have the capacity to administer these Rapid Tests in a confidential manner and that could be quite challenging if there are a number of students over a seven-day period. We would be required to administer the tests outside the building as the parent(s) wait, because if a test reads positive, the student must go home and could not enter the building. I am meeting with our nurses and administrators next week to see if we have the capacity. Because this testing has not rolled out yet, we have time to consider the pros and cons. If you are interested in the controversy statewide, you may want to look at this article from the Rutland Herald.

  1. Surveillance Testing: This is still on hold for now. We hope to pilot a version of this testing in a week or so. Once we are ready, we will send out an email alert. As I stated before, both staff and students can consent to this Testing Program by clicking here. You must be registered to test. Parental permission is required for students.

  2. COVID Testing: I want to remind anyone that needs a COVID test that Mt. Ascutney Hospital is open for testing between 12 noon and 4:00 PM. You simply go to the Health Vermont site here.  Once there, select the “COVID 19” tab on the left.  Click “Testing Sites” and you will see Windsor listed in alphabetical order as a Vermont town with a test site (MAHCC). Click “Make an Appointment” and follow the prompts.  We appreciate the hospital bringing this testing closer to all of us. What a great resource to have in our Supervisory Union.

  3. Quarantining: Just a quick reminder that if your child needs to quarantine from school, then that quarantine is an actual 24/7 quarantine. Again, we can’t control what goes on outside of school, but the purpose of quarantine is defeated if a student and/or staff member goes out in public during the quarantine period.

  4. Vaccinations: We are partnering with the Springfield Office of the VT Department of Health to offer vaccine boosters at the Windsor High School gymnasium for those who are now eligible. The dates are as follows (all dates are on a Friday): October 22, November 19, December 17, and January 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. As soon as I have a formal announcement from the VDH I will send it out.  To register for a vaccine booster within the state of Vermont (including Windsor High School), please click here.

  5. Pediatric Vaccinations: Many of us are still waiting for emergency approval of a vaccine for those children under the age of 12. We hope to partner again with the VDH to offer a Point of Distribution at our schools. In an effort to plan for that endeavor, would you please fill out the following survey as soon as possible. Here is the link. Please note that the survey does not require you to identify by name.

  6. Backpack Drive: We want to thank everyone who participated in the Backpack Drive. We collected enough materials to disseminate 22 backpacks full of supplies. Here is a visual:
     

    Again thanks to all who donated. We may try it again in the second semester. Thank you to Brittany Preston who coordinated the effort.

     

  7. School Board Reminder: Here are the dates of the remaining board meetings this month:

                            Weathersfield ~ Tuesday, October 12th 6:00 p.m.
                            Virtual Link: https://meet.google.com/nfo-qttm-bgg

                            WSESU Meeting ~ Monday, October 25th 6:30 p.m.
                            Virtual Link: https://meet.google.com/nbd-gstm-tsk

  8.  Fall Soup for Clothing Swap:  The Windsor School Health Office and the Windsor High School Student Council are holding a "Soup for Clothing Swap."  The event will be held on October 23rd from 9-2 (with a weather date of October 24th) at Windsor High School. They will have free clothing for all ages along with winter sporting goods.  This event will also kick off the Student Council’s annual food drive.  The donation of canned goods would be greatly appreciated but not required to attend! They would love for this community event to be advertised as widely as possible - so tell your neighbors, your friends and anyone you know that might be able to donate clothing or food!  Please email Elizabeth Martens (elizabeth.martens@wsesu.net) or Charlene Dana (charlene.dana@wsesu.net)  with any questions or donation inquiries. 

  9. Autumn Moon Festival: What a great event for our region. It was so good to see so many of our families from all our communities at the event. A big thank you to our local Windsor Rotary Club for sponsoring. The net profit for the event amounted to almost $6,000 dollars. As I stated in a previous email, the Rotary Club is good to our graduating seniors and they expend a fair amount of scholarship money. Thanks to all who attended and generously donated. A big shout out to the vendors and corporate sponsors.

  10. Powerschool: We often get questions about progress reporting in PowerSchool. Parents want to know how to navigate that Student Information System so they can keep an eye on their child’s progress. To that end, our fine Tech Department created an instructional video. You can find a link to that video here.

  11. Stay well and stay safe!


    Dr. David Baker
    Superintendent
    Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union

    I think that is it for now. There is no school on Monday (October 11) in celebration of Indigenous People’s Day. Enjoy the long weekend. It is supposed to be great fall weather.