July 22, 2020
I am writing to provide you with an update on our plans to reopen our school buildings and need your feedback. You will receive a separate email with instructions and the link to the Parent Portal to complete the 2020-2021 Re-opening Enrollment and Transportation Survey.
To start the school year, all schools in the South Burlington School District, along with all 16 school districts covering Addison, Chittenden and Franklin Counties who are members of the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA), will implement a hybrid instruction model that will include both in-person and remote learning. This plan to return to school is student-centered, focused on the social-emotional and physical health and safety of our students and staff, and designed to keep our students learning at a high level. Here’s how the South Burlington hybrid model will work.
All Students in Prekindergarten-12th grade will:
- Be divided into two groups.
- Attend school in-person two days a week, either Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays.
- Wednesdays will be used to provide individualized support to students, engage in professional learning and planning for our staff, and deep clean our buildings.
All students and staff attending in person will wear masks and practice physical distancing. Groups will be thoughtfully created so they best support families, including grouping family members together whenever possible. We are working on scheduling and will have that information to families as soon as possible.
While we all agree that nothing compares to the benefits that students receive from in-person instruction, after extensively reviewing the guidance put forth by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), evaluating how to operationally implement those recommendations in our schools, we feel the hybrid model described above will best address the health and safety of our students and staff given the current health data available at this point in time.
Having fewer students in the building at a time will help reduce contact with others and allow for better distancing. The smaller groups will also allow teachers and staff more time to assess the academic progress and needs of our students. With fewer students in the building, we can better help them adjust to new expectations while fostering healthy routines throughout the day, such as regular hand washing. In these pandemic conditions, it is also imperative that we continue to improve our remote systems so that we can be ready to adapt if health data requires a shift to full remote learning again.
We acknowledge the hardships that hybrid and full remote models may place on families, including our own faculty and staff. By working together, openly communicating, and being creative and flexible, we can overcome these challenges together. That said, please understand there are many moving pieces to these plans, and we will need to adapt as the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves and we receive further guidance from the AOE and the Department of Health.
Finally, in addition to academic work, I want to assure you that our teams will work tirelessly to support your child’s social and emotional needs through this transition. The opening of school is going to be different this year, and we know all of our students will need support. We are here for your children and for your family.
Note: a follow-up email with instructions to complete the 2020-2021 Reopening Enrollment and Transportation Survey was sent to families subsequent to this message to be completed by July 29
Superintendent of Schools