Dear Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this stressful time. The Village School will reopen for in-person instruction tomorrow (Monday, September 13) for Pre-K and Grades 1, 2, and 3. The grades impacted by COVID-19 (K, 4, 5, and 6) will continue to do remote learning based on their required period of quarantine.  

We waited until today to make our decision to give families as much time as possible to contact us regarding the health of their students. To this point, we know of four positive COVID-19 cases. These members of our community are doing well and, thankfully, experiencing mild symptoms only. We are keeping them foremost in our thoughts.

Reopening for a few grades was not an easy decision, but after conducting contact tracing and consulting with the Vermont Department of Health and the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, we determined that this is a reasonable step and there is no basis for thinking that COVID-19 has spread beyond the grades identified.  

The school building has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and we are further increasing our mitigation efforts. We were already following the best practices of the DOH and the Vermont Agency of Education; and, now, we will go above and beyond the guidance to bring back some of the measures that helped protect our bubble last year. These include:

1. Daily health screenings for your student(s): Please log onto your TeacherEase account before school each morning to report that your student is feeling healthy and well (and is not taking a fever-reducing medicine, such as those that contain aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen) and that your student has not had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. 

a. From the Teacherease App:

i. Select your student’s name

ii. Select “More”

iii. Select “COVID-19 Tasks”

iv. Hit the plus sign next to your student’s name

v. Complete the questionnaire and save

b. From www.teacherease.com

i. Log in

ii. Select your student’s name

iii. Select “COVID-19 Screening” from either the Miscellaneous menu or the quick links

iv. Click  “Create COVID-19 Screening”

v. Complete the questionnaire and save

We understand that these responses are to the best of your knowledge and there are asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, but we are asking for everyone’s help and support to do their utmost in protecting our school community and particularly our students, the majority of whom are unvaccinated. 

2. Mask-wearing outside and during recess: Even though the guidance does not require this measure, we will return to it as an added safety precaution.

3. Reducing the number of students who are eating lunch together and spreading students out even further than the guidelines recommend. We will return to having some grades eat in the classroom so that there is less crossover between grades and students have more space between each other when eating. 

We are hopeful that we can keep school open for in-person instruction for Pre-K and Grades 1-3 tomorrow and throughout the week, and then reintegrate our quarantined classes as appropriate. It is important for you to know that we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully, and if we find that other classes are regularly being impacted, then we may need to proactively close the whole school and go to a period of remote learning to protect everyone. As we have seen with the pandemic at each step of the way, conditions are continually changing, and I thank you for your support as we try our very best to serve students and families well in the face of ongoing uncertainty.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at tnewbold@vsnb.org. 

Warm regards,

Tim Newbold