Beginning on March 12, Superintendent Obeng has directed the postponement of all community events. On March 13, he sent another letter stating that schools remain open but staff are preparing for school closures and parents should too.
Both letters are below and appear on our Coronavirus webpage along with previous updates.
Coronavirus Update 7, March 13, 2020
Greetings BSD Community,
I want to begin by thanking all of you who have reached out during this time. Thank you for your engagement, advocacy, and suggestions around closures of school and actions we can take, as well as the many of you who have volunteered to help those in need during this time. I will take these voices and suggestions with me today to my many meetings and conversations with the Department of Health, AOE, City and other officials who are making decisions. We are also looking forward to the Governor’s message today.
At this time, we continue to have no confirmed reported cases of Coronavirus in our School District. Considering our status and the guidance handed down by the AOE earlier this week, at this time we have been considering what the AOE is referring to as Preemptive Closure:
“Preemptive closure or dismissal is the type being considered early in this COVID-19 response. This type of closure is used in a community to decrease the spread of infection before many students and staff get sick. This decision is guided by the Department of Health and based on information about the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
While any closure decision is the responsibility of the superintendent in consultation with the Secretary of Education, any decision for school closure due to COVID-19 risk should be informed by guidance from the Vermont Department of Health.”
In Burlington School District, there are continued conversations around preemptive closure. The decision must be guided by Public Health and AOE. Considering the complexity and ramifications, it is not the sole decision of a superintendent. We will continue to advocate for preemptive action as soon as possible.
I have not said much about closing previously as I did not want to raise alarm. However, I want to assure you that our District has been planning for the last week and a half for the possibility of closure. We have been developing: virtual learning plans, backpack resources for elementary, and strategies to feed children while school is closed. And we have been identifying students with IEPs and special assistance, developing translated messages, and considering ways to support parents with childcare at the younger ages, etc.
Parents, please start preparing your families for the possibility of school closures, including the care of children if you need to continue to work outside of the home.
Please visit our website for resources and information.
If anything changes in my conversations today, I will let you know.
Updated Chart from Vermont Department of Health
|Vermont cases of COVID-19||2|
|Vermonters tested negative for COVID-19||97|
|Vermonters being monitored||212|
|Vermonters who have completed monitoring||70|
Coronavirus Update 6, March 12, 2020
Greeting BSD Community,
Re: School Community Gatherings
After consulting with the Department of Health and City of Burlington leaders, I have decided that beginning immediately we will be postponing all District-level school-community events. As an example, tomorrow evening’s Beyond Black History Month event will not happen tomorrow and will be rescheduled for a date to be determined at a later time. Please communicate with your local schools for school-specific cancellations.
I have also instructed our principals to begin practicing various forms of social distancing in our schools. In the coming days, Principals will be reducing the amount of nonessential large gatherings of students and staff. I have asked that they begin looking at things like assemblies and either reconfiguring their delivery or postponing the activity for a future date.
We are reviewing the possibilities of school closures on a daily basis with input from the Vermont Department of Health, as well as the Agency of Education. We realize that many local agencies, colleges, and universities have taken steps to close and/or change their operations in order to attempt to flatten the curve of the spread of this disease. We are seriously considering these measures and are planning accordingly in all areas of our district, from school to afterschool, to food services and beyond.
We will continue our consultation with the experts who are providing guidance during this time. Please stay tuned as we continue to communicate.