Dear Staff, Parents and Caregivers:
NOTE: This information is current as of today (Friday, March 13th) at 1:00 pm. The Governor is planning a press conference at 5:30 pm this evening. Of course, I will Email any changes or updates throughout the day or weekend.
In an effort to keep our school community updated about the COVID-19 virus and the school implications, I wanted to share the following information:
- First and foremost, as of the writing of this Email, there is no direction from the AOE or the Governor's office to close schools statewide. So, please keep in mind that we operate under the direction of State government and we cannot independently close schools for an extended period of time without their permission;
- As of Friday, March 13th, 2020 at 5:30 pm all school-based community and public gatherings will be cancelled until further notice. This includes all public events scheduled in our schools. School Boards will hold meetings in non-school locations and those meetings will continue to be publicly warned. This is a cautionary measure and is being followed by almost all of our Southeast Regional Superintendents;
- In addition, out of an abundance of caution, our Supervisory Union will be cancelling ALL after school activities (After School Programs-Bridging the Gap included, Athletic Programs-including tryouts, practices, sports banquets, general meetings, staff meetings, outside group meetings, etc.) until further notice. There will be no weekend or night access to our buildings. To be clear, all buildings will be locked on nights and weekends (5:30 pm every day). We will reassess this decision on an ongoing basis and update as new facts present themselves. Again, we feel we need to control access and we need to have access to all areas for our maintenance staff to continue the daily deep cleaning;
- We will allow only contracted staff in our buildings during the school day. Any speakers, assemblies, performances that involve outside individuals are cancelled until further notice;
- We are also asking all employees and students that are sick to stay home until all symptoms subside;
- I have asked all principals to restrict circulation of parents an/or public to our classrooms. There should be a central point for Parent Pick-Up and Drop Off. I know this is already the case in most buildings. For all other parent & guardian business, parents, guardians, caregivers and the general public will go no further than the school front office;
- Our school bus company, Student Transportation of Vermont, assures me that they have been Deep Cleaning the buses every other day for the last 10 days. I have instructed them to do it after every run starting today;
- Our maintenance department continues to Deep Clean all of our buildings, wiping all surfaces, during the school day and after school;
- Our IT department is making a concerted effort and has already provided extensive IT resources, physical and otherwise, to teachers, students, and principals to facilitate online/remote learning in the event of an extended school closure. We will share more specific information to what that entails when we feel, or it has been decided, that school closure is imminent;
- With respect to actual Health concerns, there are two (2) identified cases of COVID-19 in Vermont (neither located in our County) as of the writing of this Email. We are in direct contact with Mount Ascutney Hospital and the Vermont Department of Health. We have been assured by both entities that we will know if there is anyone who tests positive and has a relationship to our school community. We have a great partnership with both agencies;
- We have been informed that there are COVID-19 test kits available in our region and they are accessible to all who have the appropriate travel history and/or are experiencing symptoms. You need to call your personal health provider if either of these exist. They are suggesting that you not simply show up in the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 Test. If you can't reach your provider, call the Emergency Department. If you are connected to the school, please notify your building principal or school nurse if you have been approved for a COVID-19 Test.
In the event of an actual directive for a statewide or regional extended school closure, information will be available a number of ways. First, the local news media will obviously cover the event and the announcement. Second, we will send out an Email like this one and a phone call similar to a snow day school closing. Finally, we will post the information on our website, https://wsesu.net, on which you can easily find information by clicking on the red letters at the top of each web page that say "Click here for COVID-19 Updates" as well as our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
Here are some additional links to the CDC, which you may find helpful at this time:
I want to let our entire school community know that student, staff, and family safety come first. To that end, we are staying on top of all developments as they unfold and we will communicate with you as soon as new information that affects our supervisory union becomes available.
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union