November 13, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
After an amazing stretch of unseasonably warm temperatures and sun filled days, classic November weather has returned to Vermont. With the drop in temperature, comes more indoor activities both at our schools and in our homes. Our schools are doing a fantastic job keeping our students and staff safe, but we all have a role to play. See the latest guidance on gathering and travel below.
Having all of our elementary school students back in our classrooms 4 days per week has been such a gift! Thanks to our students, families, staff, and community for making this possible. In addition, due to the current Strong and Healthy Start Guidelines that indicate the continued need for 6 ft of physical distancing for students in grades 7-12, we cannot currently reopen our middle and high school to additional in-person learning days safely. Thank you for your understanding.
Travel Guidance: Mandatory Quarantine and Multifamily Gatherings
This week, Governor Scott announced in his November 10 press conference that all nonessential travel to and from Vermont now requires a quarantine. For more information, see the latest travel and quarantine information from the Vermont Department of Health. In addition, the cross-state travel map which had previously been updated every Tuesday, has been suspended due to increasing COVID case counts in Vermont and in our region.
Governor Scott also announced November 13 that a ban on multifamily gatherings, both inside and out, whether in public or private spaces is now prohibited. The rationale for this decision is that many of the recent COVID outbreaks and clusters can be traced back to private social gatherings. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine has repeatedly implored people not to travel for the upcoming holidays and to take care to keep one’s social circle small.
Keeping our schools open, which we worked (and continue to work) so hard to collectively accomplish this September, will largely be influenced by the individual decisions we make every day. I know that deciding whether or not to travel or gather with loved ones is a highly personal decision, but as you make these choices, please consider the following:
1. Decide if the risk is worth it for your family.
3. Quarantine when you return.
Nutritional Services: Meal Pickup Site has Moved
If you have been accustomed to picking up student meals at the concession stand at the Munson Field, please note that the pickup location has moved to the lobby of FHTMS. Individuals should drive up to the front of FHTMS and go to the door where they will be greeted by a staff member who will bring the meals out to them. Individuals will not be entering the building.
As a reminder, meals will be available vacation week, November 23-27. Five days worth of meals will be delivered together on Tuesday November 24, via bus or pickup. There will not be any individual daily meal choices other than vegetarian or gluten free meals. The holiday meal delivery deadline is Friday November 20 at 1 pm.
The FY22 budget development process has begun and we want to hear from you! This year, in lieu of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC), we will be holding a series of community forums via Zoom as a way to hear from as many community members as possible. Our first forum took place November 10 and will be followed by two additional sessions December 8 and January 5. You can also check out the regular school board meetings to hear budget conversations and ask questions. Regular school board meeting minutes and agendas are posted on the school board page of our district website. There is an option to participate via Zoom or watch live via RETN’s Facebook page (or on the RETN website afterward). We look forward to hearing your questions and insights. You can also find the latest budget information including the November 10 presentation on our District budget website. Additional information and presentation will be posted there as it becomes available.
Accolades from Niche
We are proud to announce that the South Burlington School District has been named the best school district in Vermont by Niche.com and SBHS has been recognized as the 2021 number one ranked public high school in Vermont. Grades were released this year in mid October (typically they are released in August, but this year they were delayed due to COVID). This is a true testament to our outstanding students and staff!
First, big congratulations to the SBHS girls soccer team who, last weekend, secured their first D-1 Championship since 2010. We are so proud of you all! Especially, right on the heels of helping to organize and participate in the (sold out!) Stand up to Fight Racism event and subsequent soccer game. Nice job!
As we noted last week, most winter sports (no wrestling or indoor track) are a go based on the Winter sports guidance from the state. According to the guidance, winter sports practices can start November 30 and currently, that is when we plan to begin. Students may register for winter sports until December 18 and games can begin January 11. As a reminder, no spectators will be allowed at any games, practices, or events (the NFHS Network will cast all games) and face coverings will be required for all.
Parenting in a Pandemic: Video Resources
You asked, we answered. Today, elementary school principals (virtually, of course) created a two part video series along with Psychologist Joelle Van Lent. A questionnaire was sent to families and the responses received helped inform the content of these videos. Check out the answers to some of your questions (and perhaps others you hadn’t thought of!) in the following videos: Parenting During a Pandemic Part One (11 minutes) and Part Two (14 minutes). Thanks to IT Educator Kristen Courcelle for her assistance! Well done all!
Ugly Mask Rotary event to benefit SB Boosters
Are you a fan of the annual SB Rotary Ugly Sweater Run? Like so many things in 2020, due to COVID precautions, the event has been reimagined as an Ugly Mask Contest! As in years’ past, the SB Boosters will be one of the beneficiaries. There are elementary, middle/high school, and adult categories. See rules and submit your entry here from November 14-28. The top designs will be posted for voting on the South Burlington Rotary Facebook Page!
FHTMS Spirit Week November 16-20
Grab your PJs, stripes, and plaid and get ready for FHTMS’ spirit week! Beginning, Monday, November 16, students and staff are invited to show their spirit by coming to school in pajamas on Monday and Thursday and dressing in similar colors and patterns by grade (6th: blue and gray, 7th: stripes and white, 8th: plaid and black) on Tuesday and Friday. There will also be a slide show during lunches of students from both the Blue and Gray Packs, so students can see friends and teammates they have not yet seen in school this year!
Shout-outs to FHTMS administrators and staff who organized this event as well as the student appreciation days that occurred this past week: Karsten Schlenter, Dave Hyatt, Kelly Tivnan, Donna Lemay, Matt Guyette, Carly Brassard and Yvette Amblo.
The Orchard School Thankful Giving Project
Orchard School has had a tradition for years, through their annual Thankful Giving Project, to match families who could use some support during the holidays and winter season with families who have extra to share. This year, in order to keep everyone as safe as possible, gift cards are being collected instead of physical gifts themselves. While the food card collection concluded today, department store gift cards (to help with the purchase of clothing, toys, and essential items) will continue to be accepted until December 4. Gift cards can be sent into school in one’s child’s backpack in an envelope labeled “Front Office” or a card can be dropped off at the school by driving up to the front and calling the main office and someone will come out to get it. If you want to donate a gift card, see the Orchard Thankful Giving sign-up sheet. Thanks to Orchard’s home school clinician Melissa McConell for organizing!
Chamberlin School: The Buzz is Back!
Have you heard the buzz? Gertrude Chamberlin School’s assembly program “The Buzz” is back! The program used to be held in the school’s gym with all students present to hear interviews from special guests including students. Thanks to the creativity of Tina Brown, Kerry Farrell, Lisa Finlayson, and Lisa Rundle, students had the chance to watch an episode of "The Buzz" simultaneously in their individual classrooms this morning! More to come.
Rick Marcotte Central School Students Make Music in Person and Virtually
Music teacher Erika Rito is excited to have students back to school 4 days per week; settling into both new and old routines. Ms. Rito has shared that the RMCS Music website has been updated to give families a better idea of what and how students are learning in music class this year. At-home music learning options are provided in interactive PDFs (separated by grade levels) where clicking on objects in the rooms, such as a microphone or xylophone takes students to a video resource on a given theme. With parent/guardian permission, Ms. Rito will be posting at-home music making pictures, videos, and links. We can’t wait to see all of the creativity!
As we head into the weekend and consider outings, let’s please remember: masks on faces, 6 ft spaces, uncrowded places. As Dr. Levine said today, “We may need to be apart more, but we are up to the challenge together.”