May 1, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
With the first week back to our new routines behind us, I wanted to extend my hope that you had time to recharge during our pause in online learning; perhaps by venturing outside to enjoy some of the first signs of spring. I wanted to officially welcome you all back to online collaboration. I continue to be impressed by the resourcefulness of our staff and the connections creatively fostered by our students. We hope that these remote communities, while not the same as being together in person, add a bit of consistency and reliability to your days while the current circumstances remain in flux. Please see more detailed updates below.
Continuity of Learning
Online learning resumed Monday, April 27 in the same format it was in before spring break. Please keep your eyes open for specifics from your individual school principals and students’ teachers. The District’s Continuity of Learning Plan (CLP) for the school closure period this spring continues to be driven by the Guiding Principles outlined by the Vermont Agency of Education.
Safety of our Schools and Personnel
Our District facilities team has been critical to our effort to keep our schools sanitized from the beginning of this pandemic. They have been following protocols outlined by th CDC and Vermont Department of Health. In addition, all employees have been notified that they must complete training on mandatory health and safety requirements as provided by VOSHA by May 4th. A complete list of these additional safety requirements as outlined by Governor Scott can be found here. The District will need to appoint a health and safety officer to be on-site to monitor and have the authority to stop or modify activities to ensure compliance with these mandatory health and safety requirements including temperature checks. Masks will be required when in our facilities for the foreseeable future.
Thanks to the work of our EL educators, translated materials continue to become available. You can find the latest materials in addition to regionally sourced resources here.
Over the April break, our dedicated Nutrition Services team, along with countless volunteers worked to provide 9,800 meals to our students! This was a huge feat given that bus delivery and in-person pick-up occurred only two days during that week. Thank you all! The regular meal delivery schedule resumed Monday, April 27. In addition, if you have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19, this letter contains information regarding how to ensure your family has access to healthy foods during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
The school board held their regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, April 29 where they unanimously approved the revised proposed FY 21 budget. City Clerk Donna Kinville informed us that the Board of Civil Authority decided to hold the May 28 vote as close to “normal” as possible; which means that regular polling locations will be open with numerous safety procedures in place. However, we are strongly encouraging people to utilize the absentee ballot option. You can request one through the Vermont Secretary of State's website. As the details of voting day are solidified, there will be advertisements in The Other Paper and updates on our website under the Budget tab. You can also watch the budget discussions we have had via RETN. They continue to livestream our meetings although they are being held remotely for the time being.
Mental Health Resources
In a collaborative effort, SBSD staff have compiled a Mental Health Resources for Families document. This will be updated regularly with additional links we have found helpful and hope you do too!
Physical Distancing Remains Crucial
Although Vermont’s COVID-19 curve is beginning to flatten according to the latest data from the Vermont Department of Health, we must remain vigilant in our physical distancing and mask wearing. I am so proud of our entire community for coming together and adhering to precautions. We will get through this together and every single one of us has an important role to play.
A reminder that Ramadan began at sundown April 23. I wanted to take a moment to recognize our families who celebrate. For staff, please see this article that discusses ways you can support your students as they observe this holy month.
Happy spring, keep in touch, and always know we are here to support you!