EMAIL VSNB
August 19, 2020

Dear Families,

Making the decision to reopen the Village School of North Bennington (VSNB) for in-person student learning in the time of a global pandemic is not a decision we have taken lightly. Tremendous thought and preparation on the part of many—from Village School employees and board members to state and federal health and education agencies—have gone into our reopening plans. 

At this time, we plan to open VSNB for in-person instruction. We expect to be able to accommodate full classes each day for the full school day, and each class will be its own cohort. There will be no mixing between the classes. 

Schedule
The first day of school will be September 8, and it will be a half day. We will have school in-person for full days from Wednesday, September 9 – Friday, September 11. 

The following week we will go into the “new normal” schedule:
School will be held in-person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday will be the designated day for all students to do distance learning starting on Wednesday, September 16.

The school calendar has been updated and is available on our website at https://vsnb.org/calendar.

If you have not yet registered your student(s) for in-person instruction or the distance-learning only option, please follow up on the registration email that we sent out or contact info@vsnb.org.

Distance Learning Accommodations
On distance-learning days and during times when distance learning is necessary, accommodations may be made for students with special needs and students within families whose caregivers are deemed “essential to the COVID-19 response” If you are a worker in a critical business (as defined by the Department of Public Safety at https://vem.vermont.gov/essentialpersons) and are working outside of the home and do not have other options for child care, please contact Tim Newbold at tnewbold@vsnb.org or 802-442-5955 so that the school can determine if in-person support can be provided. 

COVID-19 Considerations & Preparations
The school has been preparing for reopening throughout the summer and has invested significant resources to do its utmost to keep students and staff safe in the 2020-2021 school year. We are following the recommendations set forth by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) as published in A Strong and Healthy Start: Guidance for Vermont Schools, which was released on June 17, 2020 (and updated on August 11, 2020). You can read the complete guidance for schools at the Vermont AOE website: https://education.vermont.gov/documents/guidance-strong-healthy-start-health-guidance

Our Shared Community Commitment
Our ability to stay safe is only as strong as our shared commitment to each other. Our individual and community health depend on our choices and actions. We each have an important role to play in our mutual accountability and care for one another. The best way for us to maintain the health and safety of our school community is to do everything we can to prevent the virus from coming onto campus, and that is up to all of us.

We are doing our part to make the school as safe as possible, and now we are asking each of you—students, families and staff—to do your part and adhere to the COVID-19 health and safety best practices and guidelines put forth in our “Shared Community Commitment” document. We will email you this document as a Google form. Please read it carefully with ALL members of your household

We are asking each family to submit the Community Commitment as acknowledgement of your family’s understanding and agreement to the guidelines, policies, and procedures put forth in the document. In families with dual households, we ask that each household submit the document to VSNB. 

Students cannot be admitted into school on September 8th without having a parent or guardian acknowledge that their family will adhere to the school’s COVID-19 guidelines and protocols by signing the Community Commitment. 

Additional details about the start of school, as well as logistical information around drop-off and pick-up will be sent out next week. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to me at 802-442-5955 ext. 201 or tnewbold@vsnb.org. Thank you for helping us to safeguard the health of our community.

In gratitude,

Tim Newbold

Head of School

Mission

Children are at the heart of all we do. We nurture a child's curiosity, ignite enthusiasm for exploring, develop tools for inquiry, for invention, for achievement. We welcome families into a community-wide collaboration to help our children grow into their best selves - responsible citizens and stewards of the greater world, makers of the future.