Dear Parents, Caregivers and Staff:
As you may have heard, the Secretary of Education, Dan French, stated that the new state guidance will align with the general community guidance and it will be recommended that masks be optional after March 14th. We still do not have any specific details related to this guidance, but the Supervisory Union School Board, in an effort to consider this new guidance in a timely fashion, has moved their special meeting to this Monday, March 14th, at 6:30 p.m. The Board will review the current mask mandate and all of the data we collected over the last few weeks. We know there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, and parents are certainly welcome to attend the board meeting on the 14th. You can find the link to join the meeting here.
Please keep in mind that until after the meeting on March 14th, masks are still required indoors at our schools. If the Board decides to follow the state guidance and a decision is made to make masks optional, I will release a robocall on the morning of March 15th stating so. We are very appreciative of all that our parents, staff and community have done to follow the established protocols to date. We have dedicated board members and they will make the right decision. I ask that you please be patient until the meeting on the evening of the 14th.
So that we are all on the same page, I want to share the data that the school board will look at on the 14th. They will be looking at a variety of indicators including vaccination rates, CDC County Case Rates (which are updated here), stakeholder surveys, and our local positivity data for the last two weeks. You can find all of this data in the PDF attached to this e.mail.
It is so important to look at the many differing opinions on this issue. We are entering a new phase with this virus. If the Board lifts the mandate and makes masking optional, we know that some students and staff will continue to wear masks. The staff has been preparing the students for this possible outcome. The mask, unlike vaccinations, is such a visible representation of our personal concerns for health and wellness. We must respect each other's decisions. Our communities should be proud of the way they responded over the last two years. We worked respectfully and we can continue to do this as we move forward.
One final important note - if the Board makes masking optional, I want to let our parents know that our staff will certainly support any decision that parents make to keep a mask on your child. But, it is important to note that the staff will not be expected to discipline a student who refuses to wear a mask if the parent requires it. Parents can certainly let their classroom teacher know that they want their child masked and teachers will make casual reminders. But the ultimate enforcement will remain between the child and the parent.
Just a couple of other items:
1. Board Meetings: The remainder of our March Board meetings this month are listed below, including dates and links. They are both Supervisory Union meetings. March is a time to reorganize after elections. We decide on chair, vice-chair, clerk, signer of the manifest, and the SU representatives (three from each town). The dates for upcoming meetings along with location and link can always be found on the website. Usually there are not many changes in those dates and times once set. Here are the links for the remaining meetings in March:
WSESU School Board Meetings
Monday, March 14, starting @ 6:30 p.m. (Reorganization and Masking Protocol)
Virtual only - Google Meet link (March 14): https://meet.google.com/tdb-
Monday, March 28, starting @ 6:30 p.m.
Virtual only - Google Meet link (March 28): https://meet.google.com/mcw-
WSESU School Board Site: https://www.wsesu.net/
2. New School Board Members: We want to welcome two new school Board members. In Hartland, we welcome Heather Vonada. Heather will be taking the place vacated by Scott Richardson who served on the Hartland School Board for several years. Weathersfield welcomes Nichole Gagnon to their school board and thanks Kristen Bruso, the exiting member of their board, for her time and dedication.
3. The COVID Vaccine Clinic scheduled for Saturday, March 11, at Weathersfield School has been canceled due to the expected inclement weather. We will let you know if the clinic will be rescheduled in our next e.mail blast.
4. Daylight Savings Time: Please be reminded that this weekend, clocks will be moved forward one hour due to Daylight Savings Time. This officially occurs at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12. Please be sure to check any clocks that may need to be changed. This is a sure sign that spring is on its way.
5. Athletics: High school teams at Windsor did very well. The Girls Varsity won in the State Championship at the Barre Auditorium last Saturday. The Boys Varsity upset lost in the Quarter Final game last Friday night at Hazen Union High School. They fought a tough battle. Our Bowling Team participated in the state finals last Saturday morning. They made it out of the first bracket but did not place in the finals. We had some excellent bowlers. Great job to all of our High School teams. One final time I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Harry Ladue & Don Swinyer on their retirement after 39 years of service to the boys basketball program. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Finally, congratulations to our Junior High and Elementary students. We had some of the highest number of participants during the winter season. A successful high school program depends on a robust feeder program. Thanks to all the coaches and AD’s for making this work. Students are currently registering for spring sports at all of our schools. Parents should get information from their local school.
6. Equity Audit: The Supervisory Union approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) to conduct an Equity Audit in all of our schools. We will look at policies, procedures, curriculum, materials, and hiring practices to see where we have strengths and weaknesses. We are parenting with Springfield School District to make the Audit more efficient. Each community will get their own results, but the RFP will go out under both names. The RFP is going out this Friday. We will use some of our ESSER money to conduct the audit. It is critical, as we continue on our equity path, that we have all the information.
I think that is it for now. Stay safe and enjoy the upcoming weekend. It looks like we are going to get a good drop of snow. Never put those snowblowers for shovels away until June. Don’t forget to look at the attachment below that includes all the data we collected this week.
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union