November 2, 2020
Hello BSD Families, Staff, and Community,
Thank you for your commitment to keeping our schools and our community safe throughout the fall. We have not had a single case of COVID in our schools this school year, and we need to keep doing everything that has led to this success and has kept our students in school. As I mentioned last week, Vermont has very specific guidelines regarding out of state travel and updates the Cross-State Travel Map each week. I want to remind staff and families that if you choose to travel to an area that is marked yellow or red, you must quarantine when you return to Vermont. This is for the safety of our whole community. Following these rules will be crucial to keeping our school buildings open as we plan to continue in our hybrid-model following both Thanksgiving break and winter break unless otherwise directed by the Agency of Education.
Our teachers and staff have done exceedingly well this year. We have not had the significant staffing issues that many of our neighbors and many districts across the state and country have experienced. I am asking staff who will be traveling to continue to be clear and upfront in their communication, and remember to use the appropriate type of leave for quarantine if necessary. More importantly, I’m asking that we prioritize staying local so our students can continue to be in school. Please reach out to HR if you have any questions.
I know we all care deeply about being able to remain in school. I know this will require sacrifice for many, including my family. On a personal note, my dad is having open heart surgery tomorrow and my family and I have made the difficult choice not to travel to be with him at this time. We are staying home so that he can be safe, we can be safe, and our community can be safe. Please do what you can to help keep Burlington a safe place to be.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, is also Election Day. This is a significant day for our country and for our democracy. I hope you have already voted or will take safe measures to do so in-person tomorrow. Many of our schools have had and will continue to have age-appropriate conversations about the local, state, and federal candidates and their platforms and issue stances. I encourage families and staff to have these conversations with students and each other, even if they seem difficult in the moment. We must be able to have an open and honest discourse with each other if we are going to grow as a community, as a nation, and as individuals.
Lastly, we continue to work diligently on getting BHS back to school in person. I sent a letter to BHS students and families today about our work in this regard. Please find a link to the letter and more information about this exciting announcement below. You’ll also find more District updates, including information on Thursday’s Special Board Meeting regarding long-term plans for the BHS/BTC campus.
Elections in our Buildings – Three of our schools will be serving as polling sites while school is in session. At these schools, we have taken steps to increase general safety protocols and COVID concerns; entrances to the areas for voting will be separate from student entrances, bathrooms for poll staff and voters will be separate from student and school staff bathrooms, physical distancing will be in effect, Central Office staff will be on-site at each location to offer support, and other additional safety measures will be in place as well.
Holiday Planning –
Hosting out of Town Guests – If you are hosting guests from out of town in the coming weeks, the DOH offers guidance on how to approach this. “If you are hosting travelers under quarantine in your home or lodging, you do not also need to quarantine. If you are sharing space, stay at least six feet from the people under quarantine. People under quarantine should wear a mask in common spaces. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces and check for symptoms for 14 days.”
Letter from Pediatrician Regarding Travel – This letter from a pediatrician to the Champlain Valley School District community resonated with me. While we all want to get back to “normal” and to see family and friends that we miss dearly, we must prioritize the safety of our schools and the ability for us as a district to operationally meet the learning needs of a wide variety of circumstances. If large amounts of teachers need to quarantine because of travel, or students or staff come to schools sick, we will not be able to maintain our current model of education.
Health Screenings – Today several schools began moving away from conducting health screenings for all students. Students who have returned the parent contract were able to bypass the screening and receive a temperature check. Those who have not completed the form were asked the health screening questions. This process will continue as we move forward, so please complete your screening contract and return it to the schools as soon as possible.
BHS Return to In-person on Wednesdays (Short-term Space Update) – I am excited to announce BHS students will soon begin attending one day of in-person classes on Wednesdays at the Edmunds Campus. This move will ensure students have better access to in-person instruction while we continue to work to identify an alternative location for all students to resume full in-person learning four days a week next semester. In the meantime, I am also happy to announce that we have come to an agreement to utilize just under 14,000 ft of finished space on the 5th floor of the Downtown Mall, above LL Bean. The space will be called the BHS Community Center and will serve many programs and purposes for the BHS community.
BHS Update and Thursday Board Meeting – On Thursday, November 5th, at 7 PM, there will be a special board meeting to continue to discuss our options for the BHS/BTC campus and make some decisions on how to move forward. The meeting will happen via Zoom and will include time for public comment. The meeting will also be live-streamed to our Facebook page and the full agenda will be posted to BoardDocs on Tuesday night.
Phone: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592
Webinar ID: 889 7084 8749
Family Meal Kits – The Burlington School Food Project has been preparing and distributing up to 450 meal boxes per week, every Wednesday and Friday from 3:00-4:30 at BHS, Champlain, and SA, as well as at Roosevelt Park/Boys and Girls Club from 5:00-6:00. Each box contains items or ingredients for at least 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 snacks, 5 suppers. Vegetarian boxes are available too! This equates to over 9000 meals per week to children in our community! These boxes are for any child, 18 or under. Children do not need to be present at pickup, and families can pick up for each other if transportation is a problem. There are no income guidelines, and everyone is welcome to participate.
Join Our Team! – We still have three major staffing needs in our District. Specifically, we are looking for custodial staff, substitute teachers, and short and long-term afterschool staff. Please share this with your family and friends, and visit our website to see all open BSD positions.