COVID-19

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union High School has been contending with a spike in COVID-19 cases — a total of 10, all involving students — since Oct. 14, according to the Addison Central School District’s coronavirus reporting dashboard. See the online dashboard at tinyurl.com/enpr9pyb. Five of the MUHS cases were reported on Oct. 15, according to the district’s dashboard. On Monday, school administrators said the COVID spike had not required any changes to school schedules, nor any suspension of classes. “Most of these cases (likely all but one) are connected, and it is most likely the spread...
  The Vermont Department of Health today, Wednesday, Oct. 20, is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 in Addison County since yesterday, for a total of 1,435 cases since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Addison County has logged 53 positive COVID-19 tests during the past two weeks, underscoring the continuing surge in virus activity since the Delta variant surfaced this summer. Officials with the DOH and CDC are urging the unvaccinated to get a shot, as the Delta variant has shown itself to be more contagious than the regular strain of the disease and, in many cases, less lethal when it...
I just returned from a truly glorious weekend in Stonington, Conn., where I went for a funeral. “Always go to the funeral” is a piece of advice someone gave me a long time ago. This wise person said, “Many people avoid funerals and avoid grieving people because death and grief make us uncomfortable. But don’t let those difficult feelings stop you from showing up for people who have suffered a loss.” These words came back to me when I saw my friend Ruth’s face in the crowd at my mother-in-law’s memorial service many years ago. Her presence in that room full of people made me feel supported and...
Vermont opened COVID-19 Pfizer booster registration to all eligible people Friday, including one newly announced category: Vermonters age 18 and older who are Black, Indigenous or people of color. Those eligible for the booster shots also includes all Vermonters age 65 and older, adults with high-risk conditions and adults at risk of exposure from their job (see list below). Booster shots are currently available only for people who got their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. There is no booster shot available for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID...
MONTPELIER – Gov. Phil Scott announced that starting today, Friday, Oct. 1, many more Vermonters can now schedule and receive their Pfizer vaccine booster shots. “We know vaccines are safe and effective, and these additional doses add even more protection. So, I encourage anyone who is eligible to register for your booster today,” Scott said in a press release. “At the same time, we continue to urge those who have not yet gotten their first dose to get vaccinated. The data shows we are now in a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, friends and family...
VERMONT — Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE), the unprecedented COVID-19 response program that provides meal assistance to Vermonters in need while supporting local restaurants, farmers and food producers, has received an extension to continue programming through the end of December. Program managers had previously anticipated that the program would end on Thursday, Sept. 30, but Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development this week extended the program contract through Dec. 31 to mitigate the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that continue to challenge the state’s hard-...
Since the pandemic began I have felt lucky to live in the state with the highest vaccination rates in the country. However, the present surge in cases in Vermont, partly due to the Delta variant, is troubling, and I believe preventable. I recognize that Vermont is offering multiple sites for testing and vaccinations, which is laudable; however, this is not currently enough to slow the COVID rates down. The current rates of illness — and deaths in Vermont — are at or near an all-time high. Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing. Phil Scott’s philosophy seems to be, people are sensible and...

NURSE KELLEY LANDWEHR, who heads up efforts to stop COVID-19 transmission in Addison Central School District schools, stands in front of a tent erected outside Middlebury Union High School where educators can teach classes outdoors this fall and students can take a break from wearing a mask for awhile. Independent photo/John Flowers
ADDISON COUNTY — The start of the school year always sees a mixture of trepidation and excitement. For primary and secondary school students in Addison County, that jumble of fear and exhilaration was intensified this year as both pupils and educators were coming off the pandemic year when COVID-19 forced profound changes in schools. So with a year of lessons on how to teach and learn in a pandemic, many people returned to schools this fall with hopeful optimism, despite the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and despite the fact that children under age 12 could not get vaccinated against...
As Congress grills the Biden administration on its troubled withdrawal from Afghanistan, as small businesses throughout Vermont and many parts of the nation struggle to hire enough employees to keep their businesses open, as housing prices rise and millions of Americans can’t find affordable solutions, as the climate crisis magnifies, or as any other of a number of issues arise, there’s one pressing issue that dominates all others if you are a parent with children in school: whether your school and state will do what’s necessary to keep students safe from the coronavirus. Specifically,...
Late Wednesday, the state mandated its masking policy continue for all schools through Oct. 4. That extends the previous policy that had called for masking in schools through the first two weeks. The extension is sound: the Delta variant is extremely contagious and students under 12 are not yet vaccinated, so the risk of spreading the variant throughout the state’s schools is high. And we know that masking works to limit the spread of the virus. Furthermore, what should be paramount this year is keeping students in a classroom environment. Socially, we know that is better for students and...

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Addison County Independent