Marlboro School Friday Note- 11/20/20
Please read the Memo below and the following note. We will need to know if you choose to travel during the holiday week and subsequently need to quarantine.
Vermont Physician Groups Call on Vermonters to Prioritize their Communities and Protect Schools for our Children
MONTPELIER (November 18, 2020) – The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and Vermont Medical Society join Governor Scott and the Vermont Department of Health in calling on Vermonters to refrain from any social gathering in order to protect and prioritize essential services like schools, child care, and health care as we see rates of community transmission of COVID-19 rise.
The new restriction on multi-household gatherings is based on epidemiology or systematic observations of how the virus is spreading in our communities. Since October 1, 71% of cases associated with an outbreak are linked to a private party or social gathering. Vermont is not seeing significant transmission in places where prevention policies are followed like schools and child care. That tells us that the prevention policies and mitigation strategies are working and effort should be placed on avoiding unnecessary gatherings so that essential services can remain open, including keeping kids in schools; adults in jobs; preventing infections; and minimizing deaths.
For families with children, this means cancelling playdates and other social gatherings. However, pods which have already been established for education or the care of children are allowable. This includes allowing carpooling for education/child care purposes and formal and informal child care. Safety measures like social distancing, handwashing and masking should be followed. The smaller the pod, the better. Activities should prioritize needs over wants.
Avoiding multi-household gatherings achieves two purposes:
1. It addresses the spaces and situations where we are seeing transmission of COVID-19 in Vermont
2. It limits activities that exacerbate inequities in favor of activities that address inequities like schools and childcare.
It's been more than two months since K-12 schools reopened and pediatricians would like to thank teachers, school nurses, administrators, and all school staff for their incredible work. Our patients tell us that their in-person days at school provide structure and routine and the opportunity to interact with their peers and teachers in meaningful ways. Many describe improvements in their mental health. Parents are relieved and grateful.
Keeping schools open is crucial because kids need consistent in-person learning. Children and adolescents exist on a different timeline than adults. Growth and development is measured in weeks and months. Development is rapid and exciting but that also means that when opportunity is missed or delayed, that lost time can be unforgiving for children. We saw this in the spring, when school closures led to regression of developmental milestones for our children with special health needs who missed out on much-needed services. Educators have been racing against the clock too, trying to catch students up and re-engage learners who have fallen behind. There are critical time periods for motor and sensory development, for social emotional learning, for academic progress. Kids can't afford to lose more time.
We have always known that there would be cases of COVID-19 in schools because schools reflect what is happening in the community. We continue to see that schools are not a main driver of transmission in this pandemic. The fact that there have been a number of cases where an infectious person has entered the K-12 learning environment and has not transmitted the virus highlights the effectiveness of the mitigation strategies we have in place in VT. But keeping schools safe is not the sole responsibility of students, teachers, and staff. Community rates need to be kept low. As the days get darker and colder and we enter the holiday season, following the guidelines will be more important than ever in order to keep kids in school. This is the responsibility of all Vermonters.
Vermont continues to lead the country in management of COVID-19. We continue to have a very robust and phenomenal contact-tracing program to find cases and prevent the spread of the virus. Despite that, we are seeing increased cases of COVID-19 and we are certainly not immune. Due to the increased rate of activity in Vermont, the Vermont Department of Health has broadened the testing recommendations to include more contacts of cases and anyone who has been at a social gathering. Within the next week or two, additional testing locations and testing through self-administered nasal swabs will be available 7 days/week.
Please do your part to keep COVID-19 out of the schools so we can keep our kids in school and our communities healthy.
We plan to be in-person after the Thanksgiving Break.
Some local schools have chosen to go remote after Thanksgiving as a precautionary measure to families traveling out of Vermont, however we are choosing not to. We believe that every day your child(ren) is in school learning and socializing is precious. Additionally, the research is very clear that many teens who are isolated during this pandemic are experiencing high levels of mental health challenges. Therefore, we will continue to do everything we can to remain in-person for as many days as possible.
Traveling during Thanksgiving:
Please inform Gail (office@marlboroschool) and your child’s classroom teacher as soon as possible, if you choose to travel out of Vermont for Thanksgiving Break.
Please see my attached Principal’s Report and Budget Presentation from last night's Board Meeting.
Have a great week and please visit us on Instagram (marlboroschool) for the latest happenings,
Letter from Wayne Regarding Canceling Winter Sports This Year.
Dear Marlboro School Families,
Here is an update on the Winter Sports program for this year. After a lengthy conversation between all Windham Central Supervisory Union principals, we collectively decided to cancel Winter Sports for this year. Here are the following reasons that informed this difficult decision:
We were concerned about the potential of school volunteers spreading COVID-19 within our school community.
Social distancing would be a challenge. Typically, students of all ages require some assistance with putting on their gear properly and depending on ski/riding ability, require close contact or hands on assistance on the hill.
We were not given absolute certainty that Mt. Snow would be able to effectively meet spacing guidelines when students suit up to ski and they do not have any clear protocols in place at this time.
We do not have enough buses to ensure adequate spacing. We could do multiple runs to get everyone to the mountain or skating rink, but time would be greatly reduced.
The skating rink is currently unsure if they will be open for public or school group skating and does not have any protocols in place at this time.
We would be exposing our children to instructors who also work with individuals living outside Vermont.
In order to have winter sports this year, many logistics would need to be figured out. To figure this out and then have schools move to remote learning was a gamble we were not willing to take at this time.
With only 4 days of in-person instruction, we do not believe it would be appropriate to replace one of these academic days with Winter Sports. Many students' supports and services could not be met with only 3 days of in-person instruction for 2 months of the year.
We understand that Winter Sports may have seemed like a safe option for this year and I hope this provides you with clarity for why we had to make this decision. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.
Important Notice of Changes to School Start Times
Now that we are in school with all classes Tuesday-Friday and have had a chance to observe how arrival with health screenings and physical distancing is working, we would like to make a small adjustment to arrival times. Pre-K and Kindergarten students arrive at 8:30.
Please do not drop off before 8:30 am
Arrival/Drop-off time changes
8:30 Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grades 5-8
8:40 Grades 1-4
Families dropping off students in multiple grades shall use the arrival time of the youngest child.
It is important that students arrive on time.
If it is after 8:45 please have your child come in through the front entrance and check in at the office.
Departure/Pick up times are the same:
2:15 Kindergarten - Grade 2
2:20 Grades 3-4
2:30 Grades 5-8
Please meet your child at the fence. Children should be accompanied by an adult in the parking lot during arrival & dismissal times.
Welcome to New Staff and Familiar Faces
While the circumstances are not excellent, and my own daughter already misses Rachel, I am delighted to be able to join Jesslyn and the other MES staff during Rachel's absence to support your Junior High kids on their academic journeys. Many of you know me, but I thought I would reach out with my teacher hat on to let you know that I am feeling extremely positive about stepping in at this time to work with the kids. Middle school is my absolute favorite age to work with, and Literature and Social Studies are my most beloved subjects - it is also where I have most of my classroom experience. I look forward to getting to know the children in the breadth of their capacity as thinkers, makers, and learners, and to embark on this period of discovery together.
I am aware that the process of bringing me on board - and in fact, many things these days - happened very rapidly, which might feel jarring to some folks. I am certainly scrambling to catch up to my own feet! My central goal while stepping in for Rachel is to be a positive, collaborative, communicative, grounded, and supportive presence in the school, even as my focus remains in the Junior High. I am maintaining my current commitments to the Vermont Wilderness School as a field program co-director and school liaison, and for that reason will not be available on Mondays, or on Friday afternoons. However, I am confident that I can be fully present for the staff, families, and children as much as is needed.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to reach out. I look forward to my time with the students!
Sarah Lavigne here. So I had a fun little adventure of getting to work for L&G since February. Mostly all remote. I met lots of great students and teachers. But it was like the country mouse moving to the city! This summer I had lots of me time and studied herbal medicine and took a print making class.
I am so happy to be back at MES.
Nicole Del Bene
Nicole Del Bene has joined our South El community as a teaching assistant. She comes to us from Austin Texas and just recently moved to this area due to a Marlboro connection. For much of her career, she was a ballet dancer and for the last few years taught ballet to all ages of children. We are very excited she decided to bring her warm, caring and calm demeanor to our community and work with our students.
Principal: Wayne Kermenski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Assistant: Gail Chaine email@example.com
Nurse: Sara Sherritt firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance Counselor: Tom Hudak "Mr. H" email@example.com
Special Education: Erin Crespo firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilities Manager: Aaron Walsh email@example.com
Food Service: Emily Falta firstname.lastname@example.org
Librarian/Technology Integration Rochelle Garfinkel: email@example.com