reopening

MONTPELIER — It’s been a week since Vermont lifted all COVID-19 restrictions — and the skies didn’t fall. On the contrary, as Gov. Phil Scott emphasized in Tuesday’s press conference, new case numbers continue to decrease throughout the state, Vermonters continue to get vaccinated and things just might be looking up. COVID-19 cases fell under 5,000 in New England this week, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic, despite all six states having fully reopened. Vermont saw only 38 new cases and has only recorded one COVID-related death in the past five weeks. Scott said he anticipates...
MONTPELIER — For nearly 15 months, Gov. Phil Scott has led Vermont through the COVID-19 crisis, relying on immense executive powers granted through the declaration of a state of emergency. Since March 13, 2020, Vermont’s emergency status has served as a vehicle for Scott to implement drastic measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus — limiting Vermonters’ travel, shutting down in-person business operations, directing residents to quarantine and issuing a statewide mask mandate. Over time, the governor has rolled back restrictions, slowly reopening the state. But as virus cases...
VERMONT — “We have roughly 90 to go, 90 days to stay united so we can get back to normal,” Gov. Phil Scott said at his Tuesday, April 6 press conference. After July 4, Scott said he anticipates the state will only issue guidance — recommendations rather than requirements — for safe business and social practices. “We now have three safe and effective vaccines in our toolbox, which gives us a level of predictability we didn’t have before,” he said. “Based on vaccination rates we’re now able to forecast when we expect to reach key milestones.” Specifically, Scott outlined three steps for a...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE STUDENTS study outside with masks in front of Mead Chapel earlier this fall. The college’s plan to loosen up COVID-19 restrictions this month hit a snag when the state kept some mass gathering restrictions in place longer than anticipated. Photo courtesy of Sarah Ray/Middlebury College
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College officials had hoped the campus community could transition to the third and final phase of the fall reopening plan this month, but that is not going to happen. “Given current conditions and state of Vermont limits on gathering sizes and physical distancing requirements, we cannot move to Phase 3 as we conceptualized it,” wrote President Laurie Patton, Provost Jeff Cason and Acting Dean of Students A.J. Place in a campus-wide announcement Tuesday. “When we formulated our plans for the phased opening of the Vermont campus, in July and August, we imagined that we...
VERGENNES — Addison Northwest School District’s two elementary schools next week will take the first steps in what will be — if all continues to go well — a three-week phase-in to return all ANWSD pupils from kindergarten to grade 6 back to fulltime, in-school learning. It is also possible, but by no means set in stone, that by later this year the district’s older students — and those in neighboring districts — could join them in a return to five-day, in-school schedules, according to ANWSD Superintendent Sheila Soule. But the first task, Soule said, is to make sure the transition goes well...
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District announced on Friday that it would move from its hybrid model to full in-person learning, five days a week, for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade next month. Pre-K through second grade will make this shift on October 12; third through sixth grades will begin the new schedule on Oct. 19. The decision was prompted by Governor Scott's announcement earlier in the week to move the state to Step 3 of the Healthy Start Guidelines that direct how schools operate within the constraints of the pandemic. "We also continue to look at data and...

VERMONT SECRETARY OF Transportation Joe Flynn cuts the ribbon before the ceremonial first train traveled through Middlebury's new rail tunnel on Friday. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — More than four years of planning, dozens of often contentious meetings, a 10-week burst of around-the-clock construction and $72 million in state and federal funding all came down to a seven-minute train ride on Friday, Sept. 18, that ceremoniously signaled the completion of a massive new rail tunnel and the reopening of downtown Middlebury. Scores of facemask-wearing spectators lined the route of the “first train” with eight rail cars that hosted various municipal and Middlebury College dignitaries; representatives of Kubricky Corp., VHB Engineers and the Vermont Agency of...
ADDISON COUNTY — Tuesday’s announcement by Secretary of Education Daniel French that Vermont schools would move on Saturday into Step 3 of their pandemic reopening will not necessarily mean immediate changes, but schools will have more options on the table that could soon be put in place.  The most immediate effect will be the resumption of interscholastic sports competition this weekend. The most dramatic impact over the next few weeks could be a push to return kindergarten through 6th grade to full-time, in-person learning.  In his televised remarks, French emphasized the decision to do so...
On Friday morning, a ceremonial first train took the inaugural journey through the brand-new rail tunnel in Middlebury, marking the end of the 10-week shutdown of downtown. The Addison Independent's digital editor Megan James covered the event live.   Afterwards, Middlebury selectboard chair Brian Carpenter spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Main Street, and a small parade of firefighters, ambulances and other service workers followed.  
Middlebury’s Return to Campus Guide can be found online here. MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College welcomed students back to campus in late August will host residential students this fall as long as it is safe to do so. Upon their arrival students were immediately tested for COVID-19 and then tested again one week later. The college will test at least 750 students, faculty or staff every week, and will increase that number if necessary. Middlebury’s Return to Campus Guide describes the institution’s phased approach to reopening and details health and safety guidelines every member of the college...

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