July 28th Message from Superintendent

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

I appreciate the responses to the recent survey that was attached to our reopening plan. We had a great return rate. We will be reaching out to parents who did not respond and take them through the survey questions. We want an almost perfect rate of return on the survey. Much of our future planning will be based on the responses. This is the first of a series of emails to address some of the questions and concerns expressed in the survey. I completely understand the family anxiety around school opening. The staff and administration is feeling that same anxiety. Because of this anxiety and concern, I want to address one of the major questions that repeatedly came up on the survey and subsequent emails.

Families want to know if there will be a fully remote option should a parent/caregiver decide that they want to keep their children home. So I want to assure our families that our administration and our school boards are committed to offering a fully remote option. We hope to have more specific information out to parents in the next week or so. Once we get that information out, we will ask parents one more time to indicate their preferred option. The plan will be very accessible. There will be no cost to parents. Our teachers worked hard to provide on-line learning last spring, but we want this new remote option to be an upgrade. I do want to emphasize that remote learning does not equate to more "screen time" and we did hear concerns from parents that the increased screen time was of concern. While there has to be some screen time in a remote environment, we hope our program will have a good balance.

Stay tuned for more information and regular emails outlining more details about our plan. I appreciate the supportive emails that we received from our community. And we completely understand those who have expressed concerns. Please remember that this is our reopening plan and is based on our best judgement around our initial opening. If we are successful with our opening or if the transmission rates stay very low, then we will be able to adjust - possibly offering a longer day. It will depend. Finally, I am proud of our staff, task force, and school boards for their careful thought around all of this. I noticed that the Governor recently ordered that no school in Vermont start in-person instruction until after Labor Day. Our Task Force had already made that decision so I applaud the courage and forward thinking. It is a good team and they have the health and safety of your children as their first priority.

I hope you and your family are enjoying the summer. We look forward to seeing our students this fall - we miss them.

Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union