Our Shared Community Commitment

Every Village School of North Bennington (VSNB) family and staff member was asked to read the COVID-19 Community Commitment that was distributed on August 19, 2020 and explained in the Reopening School Update letter to families.  Families were asked to acknowledge their understanding of the critical role each individual person plays in maintaining the health and safety of our community during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
All student(s) will be expected to follow the health, safety, and hygiene rules and practices at VSNB during the 2020-2021 school year and will be excluded from attending school in person if not following these rules and practices.
The guidelines are from the Vermont Agency of Education’s (AOE) “A Strong and Healthy Start: Guidance for Vermont Schools” (Revised 8/11/20). You can read the complete guidance for schools at: https://education.vermont.gov/sites/aoe/files/documents/edu-vdh-guidance-strong-healthy-start-school-health-updated-8-11.pdf.

Daily Health Screening

All students/their families and staff are expected to conduct daily monitoring for COVID-19 exposure and symptoms. Everyone will be asked daily health screening questions and whether they have had exposure* to COVID-19. Our school will conduct a temperature screening of students and staff at the first point of contact each day. Students who have COVID-19 exposure, or signs/symptoms of COVID-19 must not come to school and, if they show signs upon arrival at school, they will not be admitted into the school and will be returned to their parent/caregiver as soon as possible.
*Exposure is defined as: close contact with a person who has had COVID-19 within the last 14 days. Based on our current knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.


COVID-19 symptoms include the following:

• Cough

• Fever (100.4 or greater)

• Shortness of breath

• Chills

• Fatigue

• Muscle pain or body aches

• Headache

• Sore throat

• Loss of taste or smell

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea (diarrhea is defined as frequent loose or watery stools compared to child’s normal pattern)


Stay Home When Sick: Exclusion/Inclusion Policies

Students and staff will be excluded from in-person school activities, if they:

• Show symptoms of COVID-19, such as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell

• Have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days

• Have a fever (temperature higher than 100.4°F)

• Have a significant new rash, particularly when other symptoms are present

• Have large amounts of nasal discharge in the absence of allergy diagnosis

If above signs and symptoms begin while at school, the student or staff member will be sent home as soon as possible.

•Students and staff will be excluded from school until they are no longer considered contagious.

•Students and staff with fever greater than 100.4°F and no specific diagnosis should remain at home until they have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g., Advil, Tylenol).

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should self-isolate according to guidelines set forth by the Vermont Department of Health. If a student or staff person has been identified as a close contact to someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, they should self-quarantine: stay home. Please refer to the Health Department’s website for what it means to be in close contact and for instructions for isolation, quarantine, and self-observation. The school office and student’s teacher should be notified immediately in such cases.

Healthy students and staff with the following symptoms/conditions are NOT excluded from in-person school activities (and it is suggested that you provide the School Nurse with a medical note regarding your student’s condition):

• Allergy symptoms (with no fever) that cause coughing and clear runny nose may stay if they have medically diagnosed allergies and follow medical treatment plans.

• Well-controlled asthma


Travel and Quarantine Expectations

If a family or staff member(s) travels to a location other than those counties with low rates of active cases, and/or if a family or staff member has contact with visitors from a location other than those counties with low rates of active cases, it may be necessary to quarantine to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our state and school community. A detailed map showing the counties with low rates versus high rates of active cases is available on the State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development website: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel.

VSNB students, families and staff should adhere to the Vermont Department of Health’s travel and quarantine guidance: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/traveling-vermont


Facial Coverings and Personal Protective Equipment

All students and staff are required to wear facial coverings while in the building. They must
also wear them when outside of the building if adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends facial coverings in settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Adults doing drop-off and pick-up should wear facial coverings. Instructions for making, wearing and washing facial coverings can be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

The following stipulations are for students, as well as staff, where applicable:

• Facial coverings are developmentally appropriate when children can properly put on, take off, and not touch or suck on the covering.

• Students who have a medical or behavioral reason for not wearing a facial covering will not be required to wear one, if this is determined by the health care provider and school nurse.

• Facial coverings with ties are not recommended for young children as they pose a risk of choking or strangulation.

• Facial coverings may be removed during outdoor activities where students and staff can maintain physical distancing and have ready access to put them back on as needed when activity stops.

• In some situations, teacher and staff may prefer to use clear face coverings (such as hard-of-hearing face masks that cover the nose, mouth, and wrap securely around the face).

• The use of clear facial shields that cover the eyes, nose and mouth is less preferable, but allowable for adults. They must meet all of the health guidance of the Vermont Department of Health. Face shields should extend below the chin and to the ears laterally, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece. 

• Students’ cloth face coverings should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ face coverings may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.

• Face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.


Visitor Policy

Parents/guardians, outside visitors, and volunteers will NOT be permitted into the school building, except for employees or contracted service providers for the purpose of special education or required support services, as authorized by the school or district.