April 16, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
These April showers and the brief return to seasonable temperatures can only mean one thing: spring break is upon us! I am glad to know that many families, students, and staff will have an opportunity next week to enjoy a break from school obligations and can take some time to recharge. Last year, when we were in the midst of the Stay Home Stay Safe order, the state released a document full of ideas for student engagement over spring break. I’m including it here in case you find them valuable. In addition, with the increase in vaccinations and loosening of some restrictions, I know some of you may decide to travel next week. Please see important guidance below and remember to stay safe!
I wanted to let you know I have spent a good portion of my week meeting with administrators, reading parent/guardian feedback around reopening our schools to more in-person learning, and having conversations with my fellow Champlain Valley Superintendents. I have now had a chance to review the recently released Strong and Healthy Year Guidance. The safety of our students remains my top priority. We are currently planning for a May 10 return of elementary students to 5 days of in-person instruction. We will continue to watch the data before, during, and immediately after spring break and will communicate any changes as careful planning continues. This date is subject to change should cases continue their upward trajectory.
Plans previously communicated for alternating Wednesdays at the middle and high school are continuing for now. The schedule change at the middle school began Wednesday, April 14 and brought students back into the building by cohort. After students return from break, the high school will follow a similar schedule to the middle school.
As spring break approaches and step one of the state’s recently released Phased Reopening Plan began April 9, I wanted to provide some updates and reminders. Thank you for following guidelines to help keep us all safe.
CROSS STATE TRAVEL:
If you plan to travel to another state, quarantine is not necessary upon return to Vermont.
WHEN TO TEST:
Unvaccinated Vermonters must be tested within 3 days upon return to the state (though families may want to consider testing on the day they return to VT).
Unvaccinated people, including students, who travel internationally need to quarantine. See more detailed information here
The CDC continues to recommend delaying travel until a person is fully vaccinated and suggests seeking safer travel ideas found here.
In terms of gatherings, please continue to follow this guidance:
People who are fully vaccinated may gather with other people who are vaccinated.
COVID VACCINE: High School Students Can Register Early!
While eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine opens to all Vermonters age 16 and above April 19 at 6 am, Governor Scott announced today that 16-18 year old high school students will be able to register to get the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer only for 16 and 17 year olds) beginning tomorrow morning, April 17 at 10 am. Governor Scott said he was motivated to open up eligibility two days early for this group of students since they have made many sacrifices over the past year and his ultimate hope is to be able to have students experience in-person graduations. That is our desire as well and we are planning on a June 12 graduation ceremony at the Essex Fairgrounds! More details to come.
Nutrition Services: Summer Meal Delivery Survey
South Burlington School District’s Nutritional Services Department is committed to continuing to offer healthy, nutritious meals, free of charge to all children (18 & under) in our community, through September 30th, 2021
Please fill out this brief survey before April 30th, to assist with planning and preparation for our meal service over summer vacation. This is NOT an order form; it is for planning purposes only. Thank you for your time and support.
School Calendar for 2021-2022 Now Available
Our school district calendar for the 2021-2022 school year was approved April 7 and plans for a return to in-person learning for all students.
SBHS One-Acts to Be Produced
SBHS drama is back! Get ready to be wowed by one acts this spring! Five seniors, Jacob Davis and Paige Brownell (co-directors of The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon), Mollie Allen and Jade McGahey (co-directors of Beauty, Brains, and Personality), and Elsa Althoff (director of One and All) will be directing 3 one-act plays. SBHS French teacher Karine Poulin, who is overseeing the production, reported that informational meetings were recently held and that production will shift into high gear upon the return from break. Stay tuned for details!
FHTMS’ SOAR Organizes Black Out Days
SOAR (Students Organizing Against Racism) held two Black Out Days this week. According to social studies teachers and SOAR advisor Christie Nold, the first Black Out day at Tuttle happened in the spring of 2016 and was initiated by Peer Leadership (this was prior to SOAR). Black Out Days are a way for students and staff to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Nold noted that the first Black Out day of 2020-2021 was initiated by Shayla and Tayla Smith, two eighth grade students who have been active in SOAR for the past three years and provided wonderful leadership during SOAR’s summer actions. There have been several additional Black Out days, which have been heavily supported by Amelia Lutz who has helped initiate a t-shirt sale in the middle school as well.
Gertrude Chamberlin School Spirit Week
It has been a fun week at Chamberlin School where spirit week has been taking place! Students and staff dressed up like their favorite book characters, embodied the decades, wore their GCS gear, and capped it all off with a very special Buzz assembly this morning where Mrs. Farrell and Mrs. Brown along with their 5th grade co-hosts led classes on a scavenger hunt throughout the school. The best part? Every student received a prize! Water bottles with the South Burlington Gertrude Chamberlin School logo! Check out fun photos from their events in Principal Rouelle's family newsletter.
Rick Marcotte Central School Artists Make Waves
Art teacher Kelsey Lewis’ Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders have been working on a project inspired by the iconic woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai entitled The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Lewis wrote that “After hearing the story The Great Wave by Veronique Massenot, students learned about Mt. Fuji, and woodblock printing before learning how to draw their very own 'Great Waves'. Drawing a wave can seem tricky and overwhelming, but just like with most challenges, when we break it down into small steps, we can achieve our goals. These 'great waves' are a symbol of the great things we can do.” See photos of these inspiring pieces on the RMCSArt Facebook page.
Orchard School Celebrates National Poetry Month
Library Media and Instructional Technology Specialist Donna Sullivan-MacDonald reported that April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of National Poetry Month. The entire school is reading CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR by Irene Lathem and Charles Walters as this month's selection in their year long initiative, "Reading to Raise Anti-Racists." Sullivan-MacDonald wrote that, “In the book, students Irene and Charles end up as partners for a poetry writing project and they slowly and bravely begin to explore how the issue of race affects their lives through poems that they write.” You may read more about the book in this interview with the authors.
In addition, students in grades 2-5 have been enjoying reading and writing poems in many different forms. Some classes have even "broken out" by solving poetry-related puzzles in Breakout EDU! Be watching Orchard's Instagram for students' creative efforts. Also, Orchard will be celebrating National Poem in Your Pocket Day! Thursday, April 29th, so parents/guardians, be sure to check those pockets for a literary surprise!
Thanks for reading and have a good break!