A Message From Superintendent Tracy Wrend
As is the case across Vermont and the nation, we are seeing an uptick in the number of positive cases in both the greater community and right here in LSUU. We are grateful for the community-wide efforts to keep our schools open for in-person instruction and thank you for your continued cooperation and support. It is due to this continued cooperation and our procedures that, even though cases are rising, we have been able to keep our school doors open for in-person instruction. Thank you for your diligence, support, and cooperation. Everyday that we have students in our classrooms we are grateful to you for your efforts.
With the rising number of active cases and additional regulations, we have updated our Family Health Handbook and Strong and Healthy Plan. Please take a moment to review the updated plans – changes have been highlighted. Together, I have confidence that we will be able to keep learning on track.
We are monitoring the air quality in all of our school buildings, and after receiving some concerning data are paying special attention to the upper levels at Stowe Elementary School. We will continue to monitor air quality throughout our schools and are working hard on finding a solution to the challenges at SES. If you have a student at SES, please stay tuned to communication on this matter in the next few days.
Finally, with the holidays rapidly approaching we understand that this may be a particularly challenging time to remain isolated. Please know that your adherence to the regulations matters. Your actions can help keep our kids in school and can save lives. Thank you for not traveling, for not socializing with people from other households, and for wearing masks.
Despite the difficult circumstances, I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving holiday.
Lamoille South Unified Union Board Brief
November 17, 2020
Three informative presentations were shared with the board: updates on school safety, happenings at our high schools, and special education services.
School Safety Update: Dr. Bob Arnot began by reminding us of the importance of wearing masks – single-layer masks provide 5% protection; three-layer masks provide 50% protection; surgical masks provide 67% protection; and N95 masks provide 97.6% protection. Please do your part to protect not only your health but the health of others.
Bob and Tracy reviewed HVAC systems across all LSUU schools given the updated guidance received from the State. Air quality was identified as an important strategy for COVID management last spring. The district has partnered with Efficiency Vermont and has been applying for, and receiving, grant funds to assist with on-going upgrades of HVAC systems. Each school has different components and different sets of complex upgrades.
The primary strategies for air quality management are ventilation, filtration, and controls (temperature and humidity). It is almost unanimous among experts that ventilation and fresh air is the best strategy for the mitigation of COVID. Air exchange of 4-6 times per hour is ideal – the upper wing at SES is currently at 1-2 times per hour, which has led to the need for grades 4 and 5 at SES to move to split attendance. The administration is working toward finding a short-term solution to allow for additional in-person instruction while the HVAC updates to that portion of the SES building are completed.
PA/SHS Updates: We received updates from Phil Grant and Gretchen Muller on happenings at PA and SHS. Both schools are currently offering in-person instruction two days per week and remote learning three days per week. During in-person learning students transition to four core classes per day, each lasting 75-85 minutes. Maintaining school culture is a challenge; however, students and staff are finding creative ways to continue traditions and clubs. Both schools are working to increase student engagement on remote learning days.
Our congratulations to the SHS girls’ and PA boys’ soccer teams on their State Championship wins, and to Angie Faraci, the first female coach to win a VT boys’ soccer championship.
Special Education Update: LSUU Director of Student Services Jessica Spencer reviewed for us the programs available to both general education and special education students who are identified as needing additional support. The number of LSUU students on Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) range from 7%-19% depending on the school of enrollment. Nationally, 14% of students are on IEPs and within Vermont 17%. Case Managers are reporting that hybrid learning is advantageous for smaller groups and more focus on individualized instruction, but also reduces opportunities for social engagement.
Family Survey Feedback: We would like to once again thank everyone who participated in our recent family survey. A summary of the feedback received is available for review.
LSUU’s E-Newsletter, including Board Briefs will be posted the Thursday following each board meeting at https://lsuu.org/category/news-announcements/. You can read it there, or receive it directly by email by subscribing at https://lsuu.org/subscribe/. More detailed information regarding Lamoille South Unified Union School Board meetings can be found in our board minutes: https://lsuu.org/board/#minutes-agendas-etc.