Dear Parents and Caregivers:
I wanted to give a brief update this weekend. We continue to appreciate your cooperation during these difficult times. We are seeing an uptick in the number of COVID cases in Vermont, New England, and the United States. This causes some anxiety. It is important to note that the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has determined from the recent research that the increase in spread is not due to attendance in school. Rather, it is due to social gatherings where the proper precautions are not being met. It is critical that we follow all guidelines.
Governor's Executive Order
You may have heard, the Governor has added an amendment to his original Executive Order. The order and the November 12th addendum can be found here. For our purposes it strictly prohibits social gatherings of multiple households. The addendum took effect on November 13th at 10:00 PM. This is certainly a tough time of year for this pronouncement, but it makes our decisions about Holiday traveling and entertaining easier to determine. Essentially, in accordance with the Executive Order, the Thanksgiving Holiday is limited to the immediate household ONLY. Therefore, any family travel or entertainment that conflicts with this mandate will result in an automatic quarantine from school. For the safety of all our students and staff, we ask everyone to abide by the Executive Order. If you have any questions or have emergency travel plans, please let your school nurse know. This directive has no exceptions and no excuses. I appreciate your compliance.
November 23rd and 24th
I want to remind all parents that November 23rd and 24th are dedicated in-service days. There is no school for students. This will allow staff time to plan for the remote week that follows Thanksgiving and any subsequent remote days that may be due to increased infection rates. Teachers will be working with parents to outline the schedule for the remote week. The staff is committed to maintaining integrity of instruction during that time, but we completely understand that not every household has the same capacity for remote learning. It is essential that you communicate with your teacher(s) if you have any concerns. Even with the new travel and entertaining restrictions we want to keep this remote week so that we can improve remote learning in anticipation of an extended remote time at some point. It will be great preparation. We look forward to your feedback at the end of that week.
The Governor's order also postponed any recreational sports until further notice. This order did not pertain to school sponsored activities, but our administration is continuing to err on the side of caution. We are postponing all school sponsored K-8 Athletics until further notice. The AOE and the Vermont Principals Association has allowed the start of 9-12 athletics as of November 30th. But again, in an abundance of caution, we may delay the start of high school sports until January 2021. We will make a final decision, based on the health and safety of our students by the end of next week.
I think that is it for now. We have had success in fighting this virus in Vermont because we stand together and we follow basic directions. Our staff and parents deserve great credit for the work that has gone into the reopening this year. There is news of a vaccine on the horizon. Let's stay strong as we move forward. We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is about protecting each other and the most vulnerable in our communities. Again, thank you for your support. Stay well and be safe!
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union