Dear Families,

The BIG news this week is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized the low-dose Pfizer vaccine for use in children after it was already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine, authorized for 5- to 11-year-olds, is a smaller, more diluted dose than the vaccine for those 12 and older. This news couldn’t be more timely with the number of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported to be at an all-time daily high yesterday.  

I understand there are mixed reactions: some families are jumping for joy, while others are more hesitant. My third-grade son, for instance, wanted to sign up for the first available appointment (following in the footsteps of his older sisters, who got vaccinated this summer). 

Governor Scott said in a statement Tuesday evening, the CDC’s approval is “an enormous step forward and a significant opportunity for parents and caregivers to help their kids and communities.” At the same time, we recognize that COVID-19 will still be an ongoing challenge for a long time to come. 

Given the length of time it will take before the impact of the vaccinations take effect, there will not be any immediate changes to our school’s COVID-19 health and safety policies, practices, and mitigation efforts. We will continue to stay the course, as these efforts have kept school spread to a minimum and are contributing to the protection of our school community.

I am planning to hold a virtual family forum on Thursday, November 11, from 7-8 p.m. to discuss how our school has been responding to the challenges of COVID-19 and how it will continue to respond in the near future. This will also be a good opportunity for me to hear your thoughts and to answer any questions you may have.  I will send out a Zoom link via email and text on November 11, and the forum will be recorded for anyone who is interested but cannot attend in real-time. 

Regarding the children’s vaccine, I encourage you to reach out to your child(ren)’s pediatrician or doctor to learn more about it. The Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is also hosting virtual family forums with local pediatricians throughout November and December. Click here for the dates and meeting links for these conversations. Dr. Rebeca Bell, president of the Vermont chapter of the AAP, said: “We unequivocally recommend this vaccine for every Vermont child age eligible…we believe the benefit of this vaccine will provide protection for every Vermont child.”

For those who are ready to sign their children up for vaccinations, state-run clinics are being set up throughout the state. You can get more information and schedule an appointment at healthvermont.gov/KidsVaccine or by calling 855-722-7878.

Have a good weekend,

P.s. This week’s Class Notes features a student who earned the opportunity to be “Assistant Head of School” and the Pre-K’s participation in the award-winning Start with the Arts program.