Saturday, August 14, 2021
Dear HUUSD Students, Staff, Families, and Community,
Here we are watching summer coming to a close and welcoming a new school year. Our staff and administration are so very eager to welcome our students back! However, we had hoped that opening would nearly resemble pre-COVID day models, but we find ourselves developing implementation plans due to COVID once again.
Today, I am not able to provide you with every specific detail because recommendations from state agencies are changing and still being determined. Our administrative team will meet in retreat for two full days this week to unpack what we know, and to collaboratively make some additional decisions and fine tune others. Also, I have already met with some of our union leadership. We will publish another message to you next Friday, August 20th, or the following Saturday at the latest if more information is forthcoming.
We ask you to join our HUUSD teams in fully achieving our goals of:
In order to achieve these goals, we will need to carefully monitor the virus spread on the state, county, and local/community level, as well as implement the proactive, preventive measures we established as tried and true to not spread the virus/illness within our school community. Not everyone will agree with each mitigation decision. We are calling out for compromise, understanding, and patience. Families and school personnel all care deeply about our collective well-being. Individuals will make decisions that are best for them. Our decisions strive to carefully meet the needs of the entire community, and we promise to do the very best we can.
The success of our goals depends on maintaining robust learning environments all year where athletics, drama, and all co-curricular activities are not cancelled. They depend on not closing classrooms, teams, or schools. We know students and staff may contract the virus. Like last year, we stopped the spread within our schools then and we can do it again, but it will take everyone.
This year we will be unable to offer remote learning options.There are many reasons for that. But two of the most important are 1) the AOE has said we will maintain an open 5 day a week building at all times, so we do not have available staff to do both; and 2) we need to do everything we can to overcome and prevent further student learning loss and social/emotional stress.
Here is what I can share with you to date:
Here is the latest resource information:
From Secretary French and Dr. Levine, Advisory Memo: COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Fall 2021, districts are encouraged to review the Instructional Operations for Fall 2021 guidance from May 28, 2021.
Because Governor Scott’s Declaration of a State of Emergency ended in June, decision making responsibility for COVID-19 school operations has shifted back to local school districts. They are permitted to implement stronger mitigation strategies than the agency memorandum referenced above. 16 V.S.A. Section 834(a) states “Each school district and its employees owe its students a duty of ordinary care to prevent the students from being exposed to unreasonable risk, from which it is foreseeable that injury is likely to occur.”
A full list of clinics, clinic hours, and registration information can be found at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine.
Please stay tuned for more specific information as it becomes available.
Superintendent Brigid Nease