WCSU COVID-19 RESPONSE

WCSU & Vermont AOE Updates

Remote Education Resources for Special Education from the AOE

RemoteSpecialEdResourcesAOE.pdf

Wardsboro, Windham & West River MUED Food Distribution Survey

March 23, 2020 Families Update

March 23 Families Update.docx

Open Meeting Law Letter from the Vermont School Board Association

March 16, 2020 VSBA Letter to School Board Members

March 13, 2020

Dear School Board Member,

The VSBA is receiving inquiries about Open Meeting Law compliance in light of COVID-19. Please see the below guidance from the Vermont Secretary of State's Office (in green) regarding remote meetings.

Current law permits selectboard members, and other members of public bodies, to fully participate in meetings from a remote location, provided that certain requirements are met. Any member who participates remotely via electronic or other means must be able to hear and be heard throughout the meeting. This means that participating by speakerphone or Skype, for example, can be appropriate, while participation by email is not. Each member who participates remotely must identify himself or herself when the meeting is convened. Any vote that is not unanimous must be taken by roll call.

If a quorum or more of members will be participating remotely, the Open Meeting Law requires that the meeting agenda designate at least one physical location where a member of the public can attend and participate in the meeting. At least one member of the body, staff member, or other designee must be physically present at the location.

The above requirements do presume that a physical location will always be provided for members of the public to attend, participate, and express their opinions on matters being considered at public meetings. These requirements do not preclude, however, the ability of a public body to provide an additional means for members of the public to participate from a remote location, if members of the public so choose. Tools such as Zoom, Skype, or GoToMeeting can be used to maximize public participation and to provide community members who cannot physically attend with a way to make their voices heard.

The Secretary of State’s Office does not have any authority to amend or waive any portion of the Open Meeting Law. We do suggest that public bodies consider offering and encouraging use of electronic conferencing tools as an alternative, though not exclusive, means of citizen participation in public meetings.

VSBA strongly recommends that school boards consult with legal counsel for advice about options in handling specific scenarios.

Sincerely,

Sue Ceglowski

Executive Director

Vermont School Boards Association

(800) 244-8722 ext. 113

sceglowski@vtvsba.org

March 18, 2020 Letter to Families

March 15, 2020 WCSU Letter to Families
March 15, 2020 - close March 18.docx

School Dismissal Starting March 17

March 13, 2020 WCSU Letter to Families
March 16, 2020 - School Dismissal begins March 17th.docx

Information about Public Gatherings

March 13, 2020 WCSU Letter to Families
March 13 COVID-19 Activieis curtailed letter.docx

AOE COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR VERMONT SCHOOLS

*Taken from the AOE website. Visit education.vermont.gov for the most up to date information

15 MARCH 2020

Please note that this page contains information and guidance specific to Vermont schools and Supervisory Unions/Supervisory Districts (SU/SDs). Vermonters can find the most up-to-date and complete information on state and nationwide COVID-19 response, including information direct from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the Vermont Department of Health's COVID-19 website.

Background

The Vermont Department of Health (Health Department) continues to lead the State of Vermont’s response to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information and Vermont’s response, including directives for travelers which would apply to all school-sanctioned travel, please consult their COVID-19 website.

On March 15, 2020 Governor Scott issued a directive to all Vermont schools to conduct an orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020. This directive will last through, at the latest, April 6, 2020. Read the press release.

Information for Families

As you communicate with your communities about COVID-19, we continue to recommend that you emphasize common disease prevention measures as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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. This poster from the CDC contains the most important points:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you 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.

Translated Materials

Cleaning and Disinfecting on School Grounds

The Vermont Department of Health is asking schools to follow general preventative guidance from the CDC to help keep COVID-19 from spreading: Stay home if you are sick, use and reinforce routine cough and handwashing hygiene measures.

In addition, using third-party certified cleaning products, frequently clean areas that experience high traffic for both students and staff. Disinfect areas and frequently touched surfaces such as bathrooms, nurse’s offices, cafeterias, drinking fountains and door handles. Make sure that school custodial staff are trained in the proper use and handling of disinfectants. School custodial staff should be the ones using disinfectants, not teachers or students.

School Closure Guidance

On March 15, 2020 Governor Scott issued a directive to all Vermont schools to conduct an orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020. This directive will last through, at the latest, April 6, 2020. Read the press release.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

In an executive order dated March 13, 2020, Governor Phil Scott ordered that "no school superintendent or school board shall cause a student or parent to be penalized for student absences that are the result of following medical advice or the guidance of VDH or arising from the concerns of parents or guardians relating to COVID19." Read the executive order.

Guidance for School Nutrition Operations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you suggest we respond to rumors about the spread of COVID-19?

The best antidote to rumor is fact. When you communicate with your community, continue to remind them that the Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 website is the best place to find up to date information and guidance on the novel coronavirus, including guidance direct from the Centers for Disease Control. Vermont residents may also call 2-1-1 to discuss their specific questions about COVID-19.

Due to the community spread of the virus, when cases in our towns are identified, do you recommend school closure?

On March 15, 2020 Governor Scott issued a directive to all Vermont schools to conduct an orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020. This directive will last through, at the latest, April 6, 2020. Read the press release.

Will a letter be drafted by you to parents similar to the one to administrators on February 28, 2020 to discuss school closures, absences, etc.?

On March 15, 2020 Governor Scott issued a directive to all Vermont schools to conduct an orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020. This directive will last through, at the latest, April 6, 2020. Read the press release. Superintendents and independent school heads will have discretion to guide additional communications to their communities. Please make sure any information you share with families is grounded in written guidance from either the CDC or the Vermont Department of Health. Please avoid using third party sources of information (specific to COVID-19) wherever possible, and encourage your staff and boards to do the same. You are welcome to consult with the AOE’s Communications team if you have questions.

Why is the guidance we're receiving now different than it was before?

COVID-19 response in Vermont will be a rapidly evolving situation. There will be updates to guidance from the CDC, the Health Department and the AOE in the coming days and weeks, and the updated guidance will from time-to-time contradict and therefore supersede previous guidance. As the global and local spread of the disease changes, as state and local plans are put into place and enacted, and as our knowledge of COVID-19 itself becomes more sophisticated, we will work with oversight from the Vermont Department of Health to provide you the most up-to-date information possible.

We know that managing uncertainty is challenging and thank you for your partnership in responding promptly and appropriately to this situation as it unfolds.