MUHS and MUMS return to in-person classes at last

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury-area secondary school-age students on Monday, May 3, will begin attending in-person classes four days a week, instead of the current two.

Addison Central School District Superintendent Peter Burrows announced the transition in a Wednesday, April 15, email to the school community. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, middle- and high school students have been attending in-person classes on either Mondays and Tuesdays, or Thursdays and Fridays, with the balance of their studies conducted online.

Now those students will attend in-person classes each day of the week except Wednesday, when virtual learning will occur.

The ACSD serves children in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.

Burrows explained the return to classrooms is based on Vermont’s revised “Strong and Health Year guidelines” that provide an opportunity for more in-person days at the secondary level. Vermont's elementary school children have had four and a half days of in-person learning since last fall.

“We’ve shared throughout this year the challenges of the pandemic on our learners, especially those who excel at in-person learning and have struggled with so many remote days each week,” Burrows wrote in his email. “Our move to increase the number of in-person days is aimed at serving all students, and supports our directive as a public institution to close the opportunity gap that is present and persists in our schools. For many students, especially those that require additional support, remote learning has been a barrier to closing this gap and supporting both academic and social/emotional wellness.

Burrows said more back-to-school specifics are imminent from both Middlebury Union Middle School and Middlebury Union High School.

Burrows warned this latest return to normalcy is dependent on continued good news about COVID vaccination rates and Vermont Department of Health directives.

“We realize that we need to remain vigilant and responsive, and will continue to do so as we navigate what we hope is the final phase of this pandemic,” he said.

The district will continue to offer the option for full remote learning.

• Masks will continue to be required of all students and staff at all times, except when eating and drinking or when outside and able to provide more than six feet of distance between individuals

• Classroom furniture will be arranged so as to provide a minimum of three feet of distance between students; additional distancing will be maintained as student numbers and room size allows.

• Students will have six feet of distance between them while eating lunch, with dining to occur outside as weather allows.

• Teachers will be bring classes outside as much as possible.

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Addison County Independent