schools

ADDISON COUNTY — There were more empty desks than usual in county classrooms after this past week’s Thanksgiving break. School officials said there were two reasons for what Addison Central School District Superintendent Peter Burrows called a “slight uptick” in absenteeism in his district. Some families chose remote learning until they could assess whether the vacation would have the effect of worsening the COVID-19 outbreak, as many health experts feared.  Others followed school officials’ requests not to send their students in if they attended mixed-household gatherings over the break....
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Monday’s Addison Independent newsletter and was updated Wednesday morning for the print edition. ADDISON COUNTY — Though the Vermont Agency of Education has given them the option to do so, officials in Addison County’s three biggest school districts will not be questioning students and staff about their holiday activities when they return to school this week, and will not necessarily insist on quarantine for those who have participated in multi-household gatherings or traveled out of state. The Agency of Education (AOE) updated its guidance to...
The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and Vermont Medical Society join Governor Scott and the Vermont Department of Health in calling on Vermonters to refrain from any social gathering in order to protect and prioritize essential services like schools, child care, and health care as we see rates of community transmission of COVID-19 rise.  The new restriction on multi-household gatherings is based on epidemiology or systematic observations of how the virus is spreading in our communities. Since October 1, 71% of cases associated with an...
As in-person instruction goes on at area schools despite a raging pandemic, Vermont is tracking COVID cases among K-12 students and teachers. But the state’s data, provided in a weekly report, can be hard to read, and doesn’t include some of the most recent cases announced separately by schools and districts themselves. VTDigger set out to create a tracker that allows parents and others to see what schools are affected in their community. See the VTDigger map here.
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...

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Addison County Independent