August 6, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Welcome to August! It feels like we’re finally getting to enjoy a little sunshine and warmth. I know you are all awaiting guidance on what the upcoming school year will look like and while we have not solidified all of the details, I did want to share that COVID-19 Prevention Measures Guidance was released by the Vermont Agency of Education August 4. You’ll notice that this document is far shorter (2 pages vs. 40) than the Safe and Healthy Start Guidance under which we opened last school year. Absent from this document, are some of the mitigations measures, such as physical distancing, we implemented last year. It has been indicated that rather than comprehensive guidance from the state, advisory memos such as the one above will be issued regularly as conditions shift. Since its release, I have had a conversation with my fellow Champlain Valley Superintendents and will continue to do so as we determine the most appropriate next steps for our respective Districts. Personally,I want to take some time to evaluate the data and meet further with my administrative team before releasing additional information mid next week.
If you would like to hear more about this new guidance, it was reviewed in brief at Governor Scott's weekly press conference August 3. As noted in my letter last Friday, we are planning on a return to in-person, five days per week, full day learning for all of our students. As noted, while details specific to the SBSD are still being ironed out, please see some of what I know below.
Consistent with what I have shared previously, everyone can expect that all students and staff, both vaccinated and unvaccinated will be masked indoors as we begin our school year. This includes on our buses where all drivers and passengers still need to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines for travel on public transportation. Masks will not be required outdoors.
Vaccination and Surveillance Testing
Vermonters 12 and over can get a FREE Covid-19 vaccine at a number of sites statewide including field days, farmers markets, and beaches. School districts will also be taking part in this effort, with vaccine clinics, once again being hosted on site prior to the start of the school year. I will communicate the details of the SBSD vaccine clinic as soon as we solidify the details.
In addition, as we did last year, we will be participating in COVID-19 surveillance testing through the Vermont Department of Health. We will also continue to participate in contact tracing as requested by the Health Department and will follow this guide for triage evaluation, testing and return to school.
Finally, it is my job to keep our students, families, and staff safe. With the science indicating that the Delta variant is highly transmissible, among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike, I am concerned about the rising cases in Vermont. I, like you, want our schools to be able to not only open full time in late August, but to stay open because we have all done our part to get vaccinated, mask up, stay home when sick, and continue universal precautions.
Thank you for your support and understanding and look for more details from me next week,