UPDATE: On Sunday, March 15, Governor Scott declared that starting no later than Wednesday, March 18, all schools will be closed in Vermont through at least April 6th, if not longer. BSD has been preparing for this; please see below for more information and resources.
BSD Remote Learning Community Needs Survey
The Agency of Education has asked us to survey families regarding their experiences with Continuity of Learning and access to education during closure. Our team has worked hard to design a survey that meets the AOE’s task and will provide insight into equity issues during remote learning and provide crucial information for planning for future instances of remote learning. Please take the survey today.
Social Media Safety Webinar Series May 21st and 28th
BSD’s most recent Climate Survey data showed that parents, teachers, and students were concerned about social media safety. Now more than ever children are not only allowed to spend more time online, but they are being asked to do so. As part of the work our District Climate Team has been doing, we have partnered with Winooski School District to bring Erin Walsh, of Spark and Stitch Institute, to your computer screens.
These presentations are free for all to attend via Zoom webinar (information coming soon) and are split into two presentations to address different grade levels. Can’t attend in person? We will live stream the Zoom webinar to our YouTube page where you will be able to access the presentation to watch when you are able. More information below!
Digital Safety and Wellbeing: Tackling Difficult Conversations in the Digital Age
May 21st, 6:30-8:00 PM: Presentation and Q&A focused on grades K-5. (Attend Via Zoom or visit our YouTube page during the presentation.)
May 28th, 6:30-8:00 PM: Presentation and Q&A focused on grades 6-12. (Attend Via Zoom or visit our YouTube page during the presentation.)
Children and youth today spend an average of 53 hours a week with entertainment media, more than any other activity but sleeping – and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no surprise then that young people today are navigating the ups and downs of learning, relationships, kindness, and cruelty in both offline and online spaces. In this interactive and energizing webinar, Erin Walsh will explain how technology is changing the ways that children and youth grow up, socialize, and make decisions. She will cut through conflicting messages and walk through the latest evidence on topics like cyberbullying, online cruelty and how to cultivate focus amidst a sea of online distractions. Participants will leave with practical tools and strategies for tackling difficult conversations, building trust, and being the media mentor that kids desperately need to make better decisions online.
Save the date and find more information in this post.
Curriculum Resources and Planning – Continuity of Learning
K-5, School Specific
Burlington High School
Burlington Technical CenterBTC Programs: Continuity of Learning BTC Weekly Learning Plans will be communicated with students directly from program instructors in: Auto Body, Auto Tech, Aviation, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Design & Illustration, Digital Media Lab, Health Sciences Academy, Human Services,Pre-Tech: Design Tech, Programming & Computer Science, and Welding.
Continuity of Learning Plan Details
Continuity of Learning Webinar with Superintendent Obeng and Curriculum Director Stephanie Phillips
BSD Continuity of Learning Plan Draft for AOE Consideration 4.8.20 (This plan was submitted to the AOE on April 8 and approved on April 13. The District has until April 20th to make additional changes.)
Power School and Unified Classroom Issues: Last week, a Powerschool customer service representative told us that they have seen a 400% increase in user access for Powerschool and Unified Classroom as districts around the country use their products during this time of closure. They are having a hard time keeping up with the demand and often have short periods of disrupted service. If you think you are experiencing issues, please go visit the Powerschool Status website to find out if there is an issue and learn when it might be fixed.
Curriculum Resources and Planning – Maintenance of Learning
The following curriculum resources have been developed by district staff to support students and families during the Covid 19 shutdown. Families should select resources on a daily basis that allow students to continue their learning.
Maintenance of Learning, Phase II, April 6-10:
Maintenance of Learning Part 1:
BTC: Program Learning Resources will be communicated with students via email directly from the BTC instructor.
BHS: Resources will be communicated with students via email and through the learning management system.
Access to Food – Free BSD Meals for Children Under 19
FREE Meals to all Children 18 and Under
Access to Food – Free and Reduced-Price Meals Application
The new stimulus package passed by the Federal Government features increased benefits for anyone eligible to receive free and reduced priced meals. Filling out the application can help you get extra money for food in addition to any other benefits you may already have or be applying for. Even if your change in pay is expected to be temporary you should fill this application. Even if you have already filled out an application this year, you should fill one out again if your pay is now different. You can find applications at all BSD meals sites or you can fill out the application online.
Below you can also find applications that you may print out and drop off at any BSD meal site.
Access to Food – 3 Squares VT
3SquaresVT is Vermont’s name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP). 3SquaresVT can help you stretch your food budget so you can put three healthy meals on your table every day. If your income has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, please apply today.
Not sure if you’ll be eligible? Hunger Free Vermont has created a great tool to show families if they might be eligible before going through the process of filling out the application. Try it today.
Resources for Child Care During Closure
BSD is offering child care for children PreK to 5th grade for essential employees as outlined by the Governor. If you need child care for this age range, please complete this survey.
Birth to 3
The State, with the help of Let’s Grow Kids, has developed a web form to more easily collect information to connect the families of essential workers with childcare in schools and licensed childcare programs that are operating to provide services now through April 6, 2020, while school dismissal and general childcare service closures are in effect. If you have a child from birth to 3, please complete this survey.
Free Library Books, Toys, and Toiletries for Burlington Children
Books: BSD and Fletcher Free Library have teamed up to offer free books to children while schools are closed. Books can be found at BSD meal sites around the city:
- Riverside Apartments
- Franklin Square
- North Avenue Alliance Church Parking Lot
- Sustainability Academy Parking Lot
- Bobbin Mill
- South Meadow
- Edmunds (Main St. entrance)
- Champlain Elementary Parking Lot
- Salmon Run
- Boys & Girls Club
Toys and Toiletries: Now, thanks to the generosity of WowToyz in Vergennes and Burlington Courtyard Harbor, and a strong partnership with Burlington’s King Street Center, those sites are also being utilized to distribute free toys for children.
o Riverside Apartments 9:30-10:30 am
o Franklin Square 9:30-10:30 am
o Edmunds (Main St. entrance) 9:00-10:00 am
o Champlain Elementary Parking Lot 10:30-11:30 am
o Bobbin Mill 9:30-10:30 am
o South Meadow 9:30-10:30 am
o Northgate 9:30-10:30 am
o Edmunds (Main St. entrance) 9:00-10:00 am
o Champlain Elementary Parking Lot 10:30-11:30 am
o Salmon Run 9:30-10:30 am
o Boys & Girls Club 9:30-11:00 am
E-Learning Guidelines and Opt-out Information
Technology: For questions about technology during digital learning, please consult BSD E-Learning Guidelines for Families and Community Partners. The purpose of this resource is to provide guidance for BSD families and community partners as they support their students while participating in distance learning in accordance with the district and State Guidelines for Vermont Schools . This document is intended to be used in an electronic format as it contains hyperlinks to related resources and will be modified to stay “current.” Highlights of this resource include video tutorials for Google Classroom, SeeSaw and Unified Classroom, best practices, student opt-out information for online meetings, access to BSD technical support, and resources for digital citizenship.
Information on Food
General Information – UVM Medical Center
General Information – Videos from VT Multilingual Coronavirus Taskforce
(These videos were shared with the BSD, not created by the BSD.)
Internet Safety Tips
Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens From the New York Public Library:
Personal Information. Don’t give out personal information without your parents’ permission. This means you should not share your last name, home address, school name, or telephone number.
Screen Name. When creating your screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.
Passwords. Don’t share your password with anyone but your parents.
Photos. Don’t post photos or videos online without getting your parents’ permission.
Online Friends. Don’t agree to meet an online friend unless you have your parents’ permission.
Online Ads. Don’t buy anything online without talking to your parents first.
Downloading. Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software.
Bullying. Don’t send or respond to mean or insulting messages. Tell your parents if you receive one. If something happens online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to your parents or to a teacher.
Social Networking. Many social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Second Life and MySpace) and blog hosting websites have minimum age requirements to signup. These are there to protect you.
Research. Talk to your librarian, teacher, or parent about safe and accurate websites for research.
For information on Internet safety and excellent resources to develop digital citizenship, you may like to check out the parent resources on Common Sense Media.
Superintendent Coronavirus Updates
May 22, 2020 Coronavirus Update 24 – Calendar Released
May 14, 2020 Coronavirus Update 23 – Digital Learning Survey, Social Media Safety
May 5, 2020 Coronavirus Update 21
April 28, 2020 Coronavirus Update 20
April 17, 2020 Coronavirus Update 19
April 7, 2020 Coronavirus Update 17
April 3, 2020 Coronavirus Update 16
March 30, 2020 Coronavirus Update 15 – Maintenance of Learning
March 26, 2020 Coronavirus Update 14 – CLOSED REMAINDER OF YEAR
March 25, 2020 Coronavirus Update 13 – Executive Order Follow-up
March 24, 2020 Coronavirus Update 12 – Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
March 24, 2020 Coronavirus Update 11
March 18, 2020 Coronavirus Update 10 – First Day of Closure
March 15, 2020 Coronavirus Update 8 – Schools Closing March 18
March 13, 2020 Coronavirus Update 7
March 12, 2020 Coronavirus Update 6 – BSD Gatherings Postponed
March 11, 2020 Coronavirus Update 5
March 11, 2020 Coronavirus Update 4
March 9, 2020 Coronavirus Update 3
March 4, 2020 Coronavirus Update 2
March 2, 2020 Coronavirus Update 1
Overview and Contact Info
In the Burlington School District, the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities. At this time, BSD leadership is proceeding with an abundance of caution regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As this is a rapidly changing situation, the Superintendent has established a District Health Team tasked with looking at on-going actions and communication regarding coronavirus. Our team has been in constant communication with the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) and the Vermont Department of Health, who has been monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the Center for Disease Control.
We will continue to work closely with public health officials at the local and state levels to monitor the spread of the virus and are committed to providing regular updates to our staff and parents. Please see below for a number of resources. If you have questions about anything here, please email the Superintendent’s office and we will respond in person and consider adding your question to an FAQ document in the future.
Internet Access for All BSD Students and Families
BURLINGTON TELECOM: Burlington Telecom is happy to partner with the K-12 schools in Burlington, providing families without Internet access connectivity to support remote learning. This program will be available during the school closures associated with the Coronavirus event (Covered Period). BT will provide free to student families:
- 25 Mbps, symmetrical Internet access
- Wi-Fi device
To schedule an installation, student families can reach Burlington Telecom by one of the following methods:
- Directly by phone at 802-540-0007
- By visiting the following custom webpage BurlingtonTelecom.com/Special-Remote-Learning-Program
- Given the evolution of the Coronavirus event, offices at 200 Church St or 1127 North Ave will not be accepting walk-ins for the safety of all.
COMCAST: “As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, Comcast is taking immediate steps to help connect low-income families to the Internet at home. New Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service, which is available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month plus tax.” This program has been extended to allow people to sign up until June 30.
The speed of the program’s Internet service has increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect automatically for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.”
FREE WIFI HOTSPOTS: The Department prepared amap of public buildings in Vermont where Wifi access is publicly available as a resource for remote learning and working from home. These sites are accessible at all hours from a parked vehicle on the road or parking lot. As a COVID-19 safety precaution, we discourage users from entering the premises or congregating outside. These sites should be accessed from within a parked vehicle. This information was compiled through an email survey of schools, libraries, and town offices conducted in March 2020.
Resources for Talking with Children about Coronavirus
Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread (Brains On! podcast)
Additional Resources (Gathered by Our Curriculum Team -apologies for any overlap)
Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing
The AOE and Department of Health have repeatedly provided the following suggestions and guidance:
“Many of the precautions that help prevent other respiratory diseases, like colds and the flu, can also help keep an illness like COVID-19 from spreading:
✔ Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Don’t forget thumbs and in between your fingers.)
✔ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
✔ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
✔ Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash.
✔ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
✔ Stay home when you are sick.”
Heads Up: Coping through COVID-19 – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health mental health webinar series
Community-based victim advocacy centers want to ensure folks know that advocacy organizations are up and running, just remotely. Victims of DV and sex crimes can rely on these resources. In addition to the county-based victim services agencies, there are numerous resources available for survivors at the local and national level. They include:
• Vermont Network website: https://vtnetwork.org/covid-19-update.
• Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395.
• Vermont Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273.
• National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233.
• If unable to speak safely: Log onto thehotline.org, or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Links to CDC, AOE, and Department of Health
Department of Health Updates
Department of Health Updates
Guidance for Maintenance of Learning
Please note that these documents provide guidance for the period of school closure prior to April 13, 2020, as schools are preparing their Continuity of Learning plans and transitioning to remote learning. This guidance will be supplemented and, in some cases, superseded by pending guidance on Continuity of Learning.
March 25 Transitioning to Remote Learning
AOE Updates – General
March 4, 2020 Weekly Feild Memo (Includes “Guidance for Schools” and “Use of Disinfectants in schools”)
February 28, 2020 Memo: COVID-19 Guidance for Vermont Schools
February 19, 2020 Weekly Field Memo
AOE Special Education Guidance
AOE Guidance for School Nutrition Operations
March 20 COVID-19 FAQs for CACFP Sponsors
March 15 Refer to COVID-19 Guidance: Limiting Cafeterias to 250 People for help complying with Executive Order 01-20.
AOE Guidance Regarding Child Care for Essential Persons
March 17 Supplemental Guidance for Superintendents: Child Care for Essential Persons (updated March 21) regarding Gubernatorial Directive: Provision of Services to Children of Essential Persons During Closure Period in Response to COVID-19
AOE School Closure Guidance for Other Programs