Village School classes honored Veterans Day in many different ways this year. Without our traditional community-wide assembly, teachers got creative and resourceful: some met with veterans via Zoom and learned about their experiences and others made cards for veterans. The second graders gathered at Veterans Park to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing America the Beautiful (see the photo above). Teaching students about the courage and commitment of veterans and thanking them in meaningful ways was an important part of yesterday’s classroom lessons.
In the evening, our school had a Virtual Family Forum. It was recorded so that those who could not join the forum due to Veterans Day or other commitments would have the opportunity to watch it. >> Click here to access the recording and use this passcode: =nuw6UUH.
The main purpose of the forum was to inform families of what we are experiencing in our school and community in terms of COVID-19 and to provide a look ahead at what may be coming down the pike with the availability of the low-dose Pfizer vaccine for children, as well as possible new initiatives like the “Test to Stay” program that you may have heard about in the news.
Community transmission of the virus is at an all-time high, with our school’s age group (5- to 11-year olds) being affected most significantly. The Delta variant is a lot more contagious than anything we were seeing last year. Fortunately, this week’s COVID-19 “Safer at School” surveillance testing program yielded all negative results, and we have one of the highest participation rates in Vermont. I appreciated Village School parent Jenny Boully’s comment during the forum, when she thanked our school for taking the time to do this testing. She said it helps her feel better about sending her kids to school, and it gives her peace of mind.
We have more questions than answers about how to move forward amid the rapid changes and developments around COVID-19. I anticipate that things will get harder before they get easier. It will be up to families to decide for themselves, and in consultation with their primary care doctors, what is best for their children in terms of vaccinating or not vaccinating them.
Personally, I am excited about the vaccination for our children. Vaccination of the population, particularly now focusing on children, is expected to significantly decrease the prevalence of the virus and it reduces severity for those who contract the virus. Yet, our school understands and respects that getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a very personal decision. We recognize there will be a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated students for a long time ahead, especially with preschoolers (who are not eligible for vaccination) as part of our school community.
In the coming weeks and months, we will have to grapple with what forthcoming changes and developments will mean for us as a school. Some of the questions we will be asking are how things will change at school for vaccinated and unvaccinated children if there is a COVID-19 positive case in a particular class. Will we change how we are responding, and will the change be based on a certain percentage of vaccinated students? If unvaccinated students need to quarantine, how can we still provide students the best education we can at home?
On Friday, November 19, a half day for students, our faculty and staff will meet in the afternoon, and we will discuss these questions and the challenging issues facing our school community. This will be a first step in our exploration. Our hope is to reach some decisions before the Winter Break around what changes, if any, will be made to our school’s policies and procedures.
One parent asked in the forum whether our school’s masking policy will change for vaccinated versus unvaccinated students, or across the board, and this is one instance where I can provide a definitive response that students and staff will continue masking indoors for the remainder of the academic year, because of the proven protection and defense that masks provide.
Another important item is that the COVID-19 Surveillance Testing during the week of Thanksgiving break will take place on Monday, November 22, instead of Wednesday. It’s not too late to sign your student up for surveillance testing. Click here to read more and sign the consent form.
Enjoy this week’s featured Class Notes to see some wonderful interdisciplinary learning and fun “hatchlings” that took shape in writing and sculpture in the fourth grade classroom.
Last but not least, a tremendous thank you to our Business Partners in Education for 2021-2022. Please take a moment to click here to see the many local businesses helping to support our students and staff. We value their commitment to our school community.
Have a good weekend,
Picture Retake Day is Wednesday, November 17th
If you would like your student to retake their picture, please return your student’s original picture package to your student’s teacher in advance of or on November 17.
Half Day – November 19
Students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m., while faculty and staff have in-service in the afternoon. Bagged lunches will be available for order and the After Care program will provide coverage for those who sign up for After Care next week and/or for the half day only. Click here to register your student for After Care.
MAYAA Basketball is having a season this year for students in first through sixth grade. Registration is happening online now at http://www.mayaabasketball.com. There will be an in-person registration on Wednesday, November 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ramuntos. The cost is $50 per player with a maximum of $80 per family.