Dear Staff, Parents and Caregivers:
I just wanted to give you a quick update about our plans around the COVID-19 virus. Currently there are no changes in our practices or protocols. Our Facilities Director, Jim Taft, has directed all staff to maintain what we call a "deep clean" which requires the wiping of all surfaces multiple times throughout the day. We are using cleaners that are recommended by the Vermont Department of Health and the AOE. I applaud Jim and his staff for their diligence.
We are keeping a very close eye on travel restrictions. We did cancel all high school trips outside the continental United States and we continue to examine those trips within the United States. We also ask all staff and all families to notify either the superintendent or the building principal if there is any plan to travel outside the continental United States. We would also ask you to report any contact with any persons who have traveled outside the continental United States. We have been directed by the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC to be particularly careful about travel to and from South Korea, China, Italy, Japan, and Iran. Travel in and out of these countries have special quarantine restrictions. That is why we need to be aware of all travel especially with the April vacation coming up reasonably soon.
There is also a lot of rumor around school closure. To date, any school that closed in Vermont had very specific indications that there may be a localized threat. We will monitor this in our locations. Over the next week, we will be piloting capability to provide distant learning should the need arise. Many of our teachers use some form of online instruction already. But we want to test our capability with all faculty and all students. This will be particularly challenging with our little ones. We will work through those challenges with those specific teachers and parents. You may find a simple lesson or assignment that is being required to be completed at home and submitted electronically. I would suggest that we do not say anything that will add anxiety to our young people. The media frenzy is already enough and they don't need the additional anxiety. We want to make this online pilot just part of their regular day.
The Agency of Education will give clear directions if they feel a closure is imminent. They have encouraged us to pilot and test our distant learning capability. I am very proud of our technology department and all of the work that has gone in over multiple years to provide excellent access both at school and at home. If parents think that online access will be an issue, please let your building principal know.
We are doing our best to stay on top of all notifications from the Vermont Health Department and the AOE. We will keep you updated as time progresses. I appreciate all the support and cooperation that we are receiving from our faculty, staff, school boards and communities.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for your time,
Dr. David Baker
Superintendent of Schools
Windsor Southeast SU