Dear Parents and Caregivers:
The summer vacation is winding down. While we have certainly had the heat this August, it has been a beautiful month. School starts on September 7th. I am sure our students are ready to come back. I am just so happy that we can provide in-person learning. Our goal, as I said in my last letter, is to make sure that we keep our kids in school and we quarantine as little as possible. We are ready for the challenge. Just a couple of updates for everyone:
- Vaccines: We have been asked about establishing a vaccine clinic in our area. Our nurses are working on this. If we can establish a clinic in one of our schools, I want to be clear that no student would ever be vaccinated without parent permission. You can get all the information needed about vaccines here.
Many parents have asked for the email addresses of our school nurses so they could forward a copy of their child's COVID immunization record. Here are the email addresses and fax numbers for each building if you choose to fax. Or you can also drop them off when you drop off your child on the first day of school.
Windsor: (802) 674-9803
Weathersfield: (802) 674-9963
Albert Bridge: (802) 484-5105
Hartland: (802) 436-2091
- Proof of Vaccination: For students who are vaccine eligible (12 and up), if you have not provided your school nurse with proof of vaccination then please do so as soon as possible. We need to maintain complete student and staff records on vaccinations so that we can determine our percentage and begin to lift restrictions as we approach the 80% rate in each building. If you do not provide proof of vaccination, we will have to assume that your child is not vaccinated. The nurses tell me that the easiest way to provide proof is to simply Fax or Scan your card to them. We are also requiring that all visitors, including parents, have proof of vaccination if you have to enter for an appointment. Remember, all appointments have to be scheduled ahead of time with the school administrative assistant. If we can accomplish the business virtually, we would prefer that option for now.
- Surveillance Testing: We will be participating in the Vermont Surveillance Testing program as we begin the year. You can find all the information at this link. When you go to the consent link please note that the drop down is by District, not Supervisory Union. So look for Hartland, Weathersfield, and Mount Ascutney.
- Masks: Nothing has changed since my last email. All persons need to wear a mask when entering the building or riding a bus. Weather permitting, we will try to be outside with students as much as possible. There are no mask requirements outside as long as we can keep PODS separate and grade level separate.Remember, masks need to be 2-ply if cloth and must sufficiently cover the nose and mouth. Our children did a great job with this last year. Remember, the mitigation for transmission goes in this order: first, if eligible, get a vaccine; second, stay home if you have symptoms; and third, wear a mask when indoors. Remember, our goal is to stay in person.
- Food Service: First, I want to give a shout out to our food service program. They provided excellent meals all summer. I continue to be amazed at the quality of the food. While not as much as last year, we are going to keep our students isolated by grade level or pod (especially under 12 years of age), while eating lunch. The young children will continue to eat in their classrooms. The principals will set up a reasonable schedule for the older children to occasionally access the dining hall. We want to avoid everything pre-packaged and sealed. While this food is still good, it is always better when served off a line. The principals will work with our Food Service Director to establish a safe protocol.
- COVID Compact: Please make sure you sign this year's COVID compact and return that to school if you have not already.
- Drop Off and Pick Up: Your schools will give out the details on this, but it is critical for you to stay within the window of drop-off and pick-up given in my last email.
- Snow Days: Funny to talk about that now, but I did want to remind folks that the first few snow days will be the old fashioned snow days - stay home and play in the snow. To avoid having to go too late into June, we may have to have a couple of Remote Snow Days if needed. I will keep you posted.
I appreciate all the feedback that I received on the protocols as published. I do not create these protocols in isolation. We have an active COVID Task Force that relies heavily on information from the CDC, VDH, AAP, and our local network of medical providers. We also keep our school boards in the loop. If you have a building specific question, reach out to principals. But, always feel free to contact me at any time. I will make every effort to get back to you as soon as possible.
Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union