Dear Families,

First, a quick reminder that TOMORROW, Friday, January 21 is a HALF DAY, and dismissal will be at 11:30 a.m.      

In this week’s eblast, we want to acknowledge that there is, understandably, some confusion around the different testing programs that are being made available to schools. We would like to explain what our school can and can’t do at this time, and what our plans are going forward.

You may be aware that the “Test at Home” program is the latest of the test programs being rolled out  by the state of Vermont. Presently, it is only being offered at public schools, and the Village School is not eligible to participate yet. 

The programs that we are participating in at this time are Surveillance Testing and “Test to Stay.”  The Surveillance Testing still offers a level of protection in that it can help us identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases while we still have the opportunity to limit the spread. 

The Test to Stay program is relatively new for our school. We appreciate that many families have already filled out permission forms for their students to participate in Test to Stay (if you have not done so yet, please click on this link for more information and to register your student).

Thanks to your help, we have run the Test to Stay program successfully for several classes so far, but our ability to continue doing this depends on having enough antigen tests on hand. Unfortunately, the closure of the Kindergarten and Second Grade classrooms on Tuesday was an example of not having enough tests available to respond to the Covid positive cases in those grades—and then, we were pleasantly surprised to receive an unexpected shipment of antigen tests that afternoon. Receiving the additional antigen tests enabled us to invite the Kindergarten and Second Grade students to return. 

We placed a large order for antigen tests as soon as the opportunity was available, and we are still waiting on its fulfillment in entirety. We are trying our hardest to keep students in school as much as it is safely possible. You all have been unbelievably supportive, and we are asking for your continued patience and support through what may be the most challenging COVID-19 phase yet (arguably since the original school closure). We are wrestling with difficult decisions that need to be made quickly in the face of continually changing science, news, and public health recommendations. 

We hope that between the growing population of vaccinated students, your widespread consent and support for Test to Stay, and the forthcoming Test at Home program, we will be able to provide in-person instruction to your students as much as possible—provided we have the supplies.

We are all in this together, and we are grateful for your extra patience and understanding in these trying times. 

Tim Newbold