November 20, 2020
Dear Friends and Families,
Thanksgiving Day is quickly approaching. No doubt we are all looking back on past Thanksgivings when we all joined around a big table, celebrating friends and family, and appreciating the time with one another. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into our plans, and now we all must consider finding ways to express our gratitude towards one another during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday while exercising restraint.
Here is what Dr. Levine from the Vermont Department of Health stated at a recent Press Conference:
“We know that social gatherings — often among trusted family and friends — are a driving force behind much of the virus’ spread right now nationwide,” Dr. Levine said. “Adding the element of travel to the mix only makes it more risky.”
So much is riding on Thanksgiving. Together with your support and strong efforts we can keep Covid-19 out of our HUUSD schools. It is clear that social gatherings, not schools, are causing the surge in cases.
One only has to hear a student’s account of how much they relish in person school days, whether in grade K or 12, to reaffirm what we already know. We need to keep our schools open. In order to achieve this goal, we must remain safe -- keep our staff and students safe.
Here are a few facts about our excellent track record in HUUSD:
While positive cases have been significantly growing in Washington County, the same has not occurred in our 6 towns. It is thanks to your diligent efforts, from Warren to Waterbury Center, that our HUUSD towns have very low COVID incidence rates and do not mirror the rest of Washington County. Superintendent Nease spoke at length at the outset of the Nov.18th board meeting about the COVID status in our towns and schools. Please watch that portion of the meeting for the specifics.
We will need to get used to positive cases showing up. That said, the data does not point to going totally remote at all. We plan to be in school on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The Vermont Agency of Education does not plan on closing schools preemptively.
Our teachers, staff and administrators are bending over backwards to keep our children/students safe at school. And these heroic efforts are working, as there is little to no transmission of Covid-19 within schools in Vermont.
Community members, it is now your turn. This last surge in positive cases is directly tied to Halloween and gatherings.
Gov. Phil Scott released a new executive order severely limiting gatherings and travel. We recognize that pandemic fatigue is very high and that these new orders are really hard for all of us. Despite the challenge we must make these drastic changes so we can keep our community safe and our children in school. We need our community to seriously think about the upcoming holidays and how we can keep our children, teachers, and schools safe and healthy. This is how we can keep our schools open. If you have other questions about prevention, safety and Governor Scott’s recent executive order prohibiting any social gatherings please look to this webpage for information. CDC guidance regarding the holidays can be found HERE
With warm regards and best wishes for Thanksgiving,
The HUUSD Admin Team
HUUSD Student Representatives
The Harwood Union Education Association (HUEA)
The HUUSD Board