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...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury-area parents have been looking ahead to the start of school on Sept. 8 with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Returning to campus will represent a return to “normal” for many families, even if it’s only for two days each week, with the other three days involving online studies. But there’s also been some anxiety about how children will be protected from COVID-19, and what will happen if a wave of the pandemic surges through the student body. The Addison Central School District (ACSD) late last week released a document that gives parents some answers. The 66-...
District leaders began releasing plans last week for bringing students back this fall. But their proposals for reopening the state’s preK-12 schools diverge in significant ways, and some fear Vermont’s uncoordinated approach will require officials to go back to the drawing board. “Under the guise of local control and the need to respond flexibly to the differences in each district, leaders were told by state officials to basically go figure it out,” Harwood Unified School District Superintendent Brigid Nease wrote in an open letter that has caught fire on social media. “Many superintendents...

Local school superintendents, clockwise from top left, ANWSD's Sheila Soule, Mount Abe's Patrick Reen, RNESU's Jeanne Collins and ACSD's Peter Burrows
UPDATED to include the new opening date for Vermont schools. ADDISON COUNTY & BRANDON — It will be “back to school” in the truest sense of the phrase in Addison County this fall, albeit with a few twists. The Addison Central, Addison Northwest and Mount Abraham unified school districts confirmed on July 22 that they’ll use a “hybrid instruction model” this fall that will see students return to their respective campuses for two days of in-classroom instruction each week, while learning remotely the other three days of the week. All three will also offer all-online learning options for...
BRISTOL — Mount Abraham Union School District released its plans for the fall reopening yesterday: Read them here.
ORWELL — The Slate Valley Unified Union School District (SVUUSD) on Tuesday announced students would return to Orwell Village School this fall.  It is part of a school re-entry plan in which students in kindergarten through 8th grade will attend classes on their respective campuses, and students in grades 9-12 will see a combination of virtual classes and in-person classes at Fair Haven Union High School. The SVUUSD board voted 11-4 in favor of the re-entry plan, with the caveat that it could change during the coming weeks depending on state and federal guidelines pertaining to the COVID-19...
I don’t know who needs to hear this. Apparently, our leaders will not. How do you justify opening the college or schools when you are holding all of the planning meetings virtually? Does it make sense to anyone that our local government is not open for business as usual, that our democratic processes are conducted at a distance, that many of our local businesses cannot fully reopen, but we are allowing hundreds of students to be together in one place? Clearly, Capitalism is at play here because none of this makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s usually about money.  Andrea Galiano...
As schools in Vermont and across the country prepare to reopen, it’s clear that children who do get the coronavirus are far less likely than adults to get severely ill. What is less well understood is the role they play in passing COVID-19 along to others. A growing — albeit still quite limited — body of evidence offers hope, and suggests younger children are unlikely to be the culprits in spreading COVID-19. In a commentary published in the journal Pediatrics, two pediatric infectious disease specialists from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine looked at studies out of...
VERMONT — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and Food Connects recently received U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grants totaling $153,767. The grants will help Vermont farms increase their sales to local schools and promote lifelong healthy eating habits among Vermont’s students, according to the office of Sen. Pat Leahy, who announced the grants. “Our current health crisis has shown us how important it is that our children learn to eat and love healthy, nutritious food and that we support the farms that produce that food,” Leahy said in a press release...
Vermont’s K-12 schools will open for in-person instruction this fall, state officials announced Wednesday. Students and staff will undergo a health questionnaire and temperature checks every day, and the state will prepare alternatives for remote learning if schools need to close. “We’re learning more every day” about controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus, said Vermont Gov. Phil Scott at his regular COVID-19 press conference. “We know more about this virus now and have the tools to help prevent the spread today that we didn’t have three months ago, which helps us prepare for this...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100