October 23, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
What an extraordinary late October day! I hope you had an opportunity to get out in the sunshine today. We continue to be pleased with how well our students, families, and staff have adjusted to the increase in students in our elementary schools. We were excited to mark the second week of our PreK-2 students being back to in-person learning four days per week and as you can see from the videos posted on the Rick Marcotte Central School Twitter page, our students feel the same way! Next week, we’ll welcome back Grades 3-5. See more below.
We will be welcoming our Grades 3-5 students back to four days per week of in-person learning beginning Monday October 26. Wednesdays will remain at home learning days. Please note there will be no school Tuesday, November 3 due to voting. Look for details specific to your child(ren)’s school from your principals. Schools are anticipating a higher volume of traffic next week due to the return of all elementary students to four days of learning. Please be patient and anticipate a longer wait at arrival and dismissal time. You may want to plan for extra time for drop off and pick up.
In last week’s letter I mentioned conversations that continue around the desire to bring back more of our students to in-person learning. These circumstances are not ideal and while we would ultimately like to have both our middle and high school students return to more in-person instruction, we currently face challenges, particularly around physical distancing requirements, that impede this desire, given the state’s current Strong and Healthy Start Guidelines.
Translated COVID Information
The Vermont Department of Health has recently added translations of important COVID information. Please feel free to share.
Reminder on Travel and Hosting Guests
As holidays and vacations approach, families and staff may be considering traveling out of the area. This is a gentle reminder that the care and safety of our school community depends upon all of us following federal and state travel guidelines. Prior to traveling, be sure to check the cross state travel map from the State of Vermont which is updated every Tuesday. Areas that are in yellow and red require quarantines upon return to Vermont. Please plan your getaways accordingly. You can find more detailed information about travel and quarantine at the Vermont Department of Health website. In addition, the CDC recently released a helpful guide for safely celebrating upcoming holidays.
In addition, families and staff may be hosting guests from out of town in the coming weeks. The Vermont Department of Health offers guidance on how to approach this. “If you are hosting travelers under quarantine in your home or lodging, you do not also need to quarantine. If you are sharing space, stay at least six feet from the people under quarantine. People under quarantine should wear a mask in common spaces. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces and check for symptoms for 14 days."
All employees who plan to or who have traveled out of state are expected to fill out this FY21 Covid Travel Notification Form.
Nutritional Services Update: Free Meals Through End of School Year
Great news! Free meals will now be provided to all PreK-12 students through the end of this school year! The announcement was made by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue last week. The USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time.
National school lunch week was last week! Thank you to our district nutritional services team who have kept our students well nourished through this ever changing time. From delivering food via bus, during vacations, and on site, our dedicated staff has and continues to be a crucial part of our work. Check out this slideshow on our district website to see some of the delicious meals our team is serving up this year!
Important Information About your Property Tax Bill From the City
Given the later than expected passage of the school budget August 11, final, revised 2020-2021 tax bills were recently mailed to homeowners by the City office. These replace the green colored interim tax bills. The bills reflect that the residential tax rate has been adjusted by the State of Vermont to reflect the approved school budget August 11, 2020. If the updated education tax rate caused a remaining balance due from the September 15, 2020 installment, that amount has been divided equally and added to the December 15 and March 15 installments. If you have further questions, you can contact the South Burlington City Deputy Tax Collector Martha Lyons at email@example.com or (802) 846-4109.
Last weekend, an incredibly inspiring antiracism event was held on our very own Munson Field in collaboration with the UVM Student-Athletes of Color and South Burlington and Burlington High School Athletic Departments. This event SOLD OUT! The evening involved numerous speakers to share their experiences and perspectives of being people of color in Vermont. The evening concluded with a “Fight Racism” girls' soccer game vs Burlington High School. The inspiration for the game came from SBHS junior and varsity soccer team member Josie Oliveira! If you missed the event, you can check it out on the Burlington School District Athletics Facebook page.
In addition, a food drive at SBHS to benefit the South Burlington Food Shelf will begin October 26th and run until Thanksgiving break. The drive is being organized and sponsored by the Coalition for Community Service. Josie Kummer and Hiba Ali are the club leaders and Food Shelf board members. Student Marina Prikis helped with advertising and Erin Randall and Christine Lundie serve as the club advisors. While there is a competition element involved for high school students (with prizes!) community members can also participate by dropping off food curbside at the high school 8:00-9:00 am weekdays beginning Monday. Chamberlin School’s annual food drive is also launching October 26th and will run through November 18th.
At FHTMS, the Student Affinity Group began meeting Wednesday, October 21st over Zoom. This group is open to any student who identifies as Black or a student of color and is led by Giulia Gennari, a graduate of FHTMS and current high schooler. This is a video from Giulia that includes more information.
At Rick Marcotte Central School, Principal Kathleen Kilbourne wants to hear from you! Kilbourne has launched “Design A Principal.” “Design a principal is something I have done when I have come to a new school and community. It is one way for all stakeholders to have voice and input on priorities, then I know what to aim for and where to put my energy,” Kilbourne wrote. This project is for staff, families, students, and community members. Fill out the survey by October 30th! In a November "Family Friday Focus" newsletter, the top five most selected characteristics will be shared. Then, in February, the list will go out again to gain feedback on how well the top prioritized characteristics are being met and implemented.
Gertrude Chamberlin School students have been doing a great job following the “3 Be’s” Be respectful, Be responsible, Be safe and were rewarded with an all school celebration! Enter, wacky outfit day! Check out this photo compilation video to see all of the creative ensembles.
At Orchard School, the reading continues! According to Library Media and Instructional Technology Specialist Donna Sullivan-Macdonald, “Between 500-600 books are checked out of the library EVERY WEEK! When books are returned, they are placed into quarantine to ensure our students' safety.” On Orchard School’s Twitter, you'll see how book quarantine looks in their library.
Students in grades 3-5 will be picked up at their normal bus stops at the same approximate times they have been on the days they were previously coming to school, either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday. We still encourage parents/guardians to drive their child(ren) or have them walk or bike to school whenever possible. Please communicate any questions or concerns to Kathy LaRock at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 652-7479. If unable to reach Kathy, please contact Christa Chambers in the Office of Operations and Finance at email@example.com or (802) 652-7053 for assistance.
Thank you all for your continued support and have a wonderful weekend.