September 6, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
It’s hard to believe that the new school year will begin this week! After nearly six months of being away from our students and staff, we look forward to building upon our existing connections and fostering new relationships. We are excited to be able to return to part time, in-person learning through our hybrid model and I am filled with hope as we enter this unique year together.
I want to take a moment to thank our school reopening task forces, both at the district and school building levels. They put in many hours of work over the summer to help us make the safe transition back to school a reality. Thank you all!
Masks, Health, and Safety
Aside from physical distancing, wearing masks is one of the most effective strategies for decreasing the spread of COVID-19. As I have been noting throughout the summer, face masks will be required in all of our schools and on our buses this year as well as outside where 6 ft of physical distancing cannot be maintained. Please see this newsletter created by our school nurses that answers many health related back to school questions. Also, within the newsletter, is a health Q and A video put out by nurses Kara Cassani, Kerry Farrell, and Michelle Cannon along with special guests Dr.’s Valerie Riss and Benjamin Lee from the University of Vermont Medical Center.
The first iteration of bus transportation routes have been posted on our District website. There, you will find routes organized by school, days of attendance, AM / PM, stop time, and stop location. As more parents and guardians request transportation, we may need to adjust times, rearrange trips, and add routes. Due to the splitting of the student body into two cohorts, these routes and bus assignments look somewhat different than in past years. Correspondence was sent to families September 4 to provide clarity on student assignments in case they were not obvious, by the school of assignment, days of attendance, and location information. For our students from the Islands and Georgia, routes will look very similar to last year. The Islands and Georgia schedule are posted on the same webpage.
Please know that we will be doing the best we can, in the safest way possible, given the rapidly changing situation and uncertainties we face. We thank you in advance for your understanding. Again, due to health and safety guidelines that require physical distancing on our buses and the subsequent pressure that puts on capacity, we are asking that if you can drive or walk your child(ren) to school, that you please do so. If you have questions around transportation or the needs you indicated on the transportation survey have changed, please contact Gary Marckres at email@example.com or Kathy LaRock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to Meals
All children in South Burlington under the age of 18 will be fed free of charge through December 31, 2020 or as long as funding remains available. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend several flexibilities that allow summer meal programs to continue into the fall months.
For the week of September 8th, delivery of meals via bus will not be taking place. Instead, the District Nutritional Services team will operate a drive through pickup location (with masks and physical distancing required) on the FHTMS property at 500 Dorset Street (follow signs for exact pickup location) from 9-10:30 am. This pickup site can be accessed by anyone under the age of 18 in our community and signup is not required. Breakfast and lunch will be picked up together.
Starting Monday, September 14th, in addition to maintaining the pickup site referenced above, we will begin bus delivery of breakfast and lunch, Monday-Friday, between 10 am and noon (lunch for that day and breakfast for the following morning), to students engaged in remote learning. The meals for delivery will have to be ordered via an online survey that will be emailed to all parents the week prior. The delivery option will also be extended to the community, but individuals will need to contact Rhonda Ketner at email@example.com or 652-7160 to be added to the delivery list. These individuals will also need to order in advance.
Health Screening App
Parents/guardians will be responsible for conducting health screenings of their child(ren) at home prior to boarding our buses and/or dropping their child(ren) off at our schools. In order to facilitate this process, we have been working with a health screening app provider, RUVNA (sbsdvt.ruvna.com). The District implementation of the health screening application will be ready for testing early in the week during orientation days with plans for full implementation on our first regular school day September 10th. We are asking all staff and parents to conduct self-screening for COVID symptoms and self-temperature checks prior to entering school until the app is fully functional. We will be conducting on-site temperature checks beginning Tuesday September 8th.
Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns as the school year gets underway. We will inevitably face challenges and will need to be nimble as we navigate them together. I hope you have a safe and relaxing Labor Day and we look forward to seeing you this week.