Dear Parents and Guardians,

These pictures show our scientists hard at work.  2nd graders did a liquid density experiment to see how heavy some liquids are and why some float on top of others.  4th graders are studying different kinds of rocks.

Since school reopened in September, the entire MES school community, students, staff, and parents have worked hard to learn new routines and comply with all the health and safety measures required during this pandemic.  Parents have done their due diligence by keeping current with communications and information, and contacting the school if a family member was sick or there was fear of a tertiary contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Parents are communicating with Jamie, our school nurse, on a daily basis.   This community teamwork has been successful so far, in that we still do not have a single positive case among any staff or students in LSUU’s seven schools. We are extremely grateful to you, our families, parents, grandparents, daycare providers for your adherence to all the safety guidelines and helping us all keep this virus at bay.

However, as we watch school closures happening all around us and the infection rate rapidly rising in Vermont, the reality is hitting home that this virus can affect any of us at any time. We have to be prepared to quarantine and close parts or all of the school when the VT Department of Health advises us to do so, or if a positive case of Covid-19 shows up in our school. Our students remain in very tight “pods” and all our staff are diligent in keeping daily Contact Tracing Journals, so in the event of an exposure to the virus, we hope to be able to keep our quarantine requirements to a minimum of people, and hopefully for short amounts of time, if they are needed at all.

In the meantime, teachers are preparing “Step 1 Plans”, so we are ready if a school closure is needed.  Every teacher has worked out a Remote Schedule and learning plan.  Teachers have been preparing the students since September and practicing the elements of remote learning with their devices in the classroom. If we have to go to remote learning, the goal is to have a seamless transition to ensure continuity of learning and keeping our social connections strong. It is our hope that students will be able to independently join their class for daily morning meetings, join a Google meet for individualized small group live instruction, and understand how to go into various apps and Seesaw for their on-line learning assignments. Of course, we also understand that younger students will need adult assistance, and we are sensitive to the burden a school closure puts on working families. 

We have also been working on a comprehensive MES Remote Learning Guide for Parents, which will be sent home if we need to close part or all of the school. We hope this parent guide offers advice, resources, and information to assist your child with their remote schoolwork. In the event of a statewide retreat to Step 1, full school closure, issued by the Governor, this remote guide may be slightly revised but will also serve for a longer term closure, if needed.

It is my hope that you, parents, are also thinking through some planning in case your child’s school or class has to close and go to remote learning. 

  • Do you have a daycare plan for your child if you have to be at work while they are at home, due to school closure?
  • Do you have a workspace prepared for your child where they can focus and be present with their teacher during live remote instruction?
  • Is there a person responsible for assisting the student with time management so they join their live Google Meets sessions promptly?

 As I’ve said to all our staff and faculty, as difficult as it is to think of a school closure, planning ahead will help us all feel less stressed and chaotic when and if it happens.

In the event that you receive a Brightarrow message (text, voicemail, and email) about a school closure, please watch your emails carefully, as teachers are prepared to send out letters to parents immediately, letting them know the most important information for your child’s continued learning.  The Remote Learning Guide for Parents will also be linked into all teachers’ letters.

Please email me with any questions. Again, we are all so grateful for the teamwork in our extended MES school community, everyone working together to keep our school safe, healthy, and open for in-person instruction as long as possible.

Sincerely,

Kate Torrey
kate.torrey@lsuu.org

LSUU Family Health Handbook for Covid-19, 2020-2021 (Revised 11/12/20)

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