VUHS E-News January 11, 2021

Vergennes Union High School


Many of you have contacted members of the administration over the past several days to express your concerns about the county-wide outbreak of COVID-19. Between this outbreak, and the case involving an individual who was in a school during their infectious period, many families are curious about what the schools are doing to address the situation and what we might be planning in the future.

First, a bit about what will be done before students and staff return tomorrow morning. Our custodians have worked all weekend to disinfect every single room in each building with our Clorox-360 electrostatic sprayer. The Clorox-360 is EPA approved and 100% effective at killing the COVID-19 virus in the air and on surfaces. This thorough measure is in addition to their regular cleaning and disinfecting, which also included a steam clean of the carpeting at FCS due to a non-COVID related issue on Friday.

Secondly, our nurses have done an incredible job communicating with parents and staff; answering questions, and, when necessary, keeping staff and students from coming to school until COVID-19 can be ruled out. Of the handful of positive cases in our school community that you are all aware of, there have also been hundreds of negative tests. The evidence demonstrates that people are taking this very seriously, and when in doubt they are being very careful. We will continue to pursue this with the same due diligence in the weeks ahead.

Many of you are asking how the administration evaluates our circumstances to determine our instructional disposition (in-person or remote). The data we are using to evaluate our ability to remain in person are listed below. We are also in frequent contact with the Health Department. They will advise us accordingly if or when we must shift to remote learning.

  • No or low COVID-19 activity in our school communities

  • Sufficient staffing to operate school

  • Sufficient student attendance rates

  • Ability to maintain compliance with the guidance from VDH/AOE

  • Routines are efficient, effective, assessed, and adjusted to meet the needs

  • Vermont Department of Health guidance and data supports the ability to remain in-person for instruction

Naturally, the situation in Addison County is unnerving, however, our data do not support a shift to remote learning at this time. It is critical that families monitor for symptoms or COVID-19 exposure and take the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of others in the building. We remind families to please keep your child at home with any symptoms or if they have had any contact with COVID-19 positive individuals. This single step is our greatest protection against the spread of the virus and helps to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of our learners through in person instruction. If new information becomes available we will communicate with everyone as soon as possible.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

We know this is worrisome and we appreciate the close contact with families. Please do not hesitate to reach out. See the Dept of Health document below for information about returning to school following illness.

A letter from the ANWSD Administrators

Dear ANWSD Community,

We are writing to acknowledge the considerable challenges we are experiencing as a country in response to the outcome of the presidential election at the US Capitol. As if we had not been challenged enough this year, due to COVID-19, what transpired in Washington DC on January 6th was shocking. As we face the aftermath of one of the most hotly contested presidential elections of our lifetime we continue to experience unprecedented challenges. We can expect the next several weeks will be filled with tension as the country proceeds through this transfer of power.

We anticipate that many in our school community (staff/ students/parents) will express different reactions in response to what we are witnessing in the news. Regardless of your own political viewpoint, this is a time for all of us to do what we can to convey respect and keep the peace. We have an obligation to uphold our responsibility to prepare our students to appropriately engage as citizens of our democracy and all that it encompasses. These challenges provide us with a unique learning opportunity. Let us model civility and facilitate appropriate discourse, while providing mutual respect and support for one another as we navigate these troubling times.

End of Semester 1 and Proficiency Recovery

This week marks the last full week of classes for semester 1. This school year has presented many challenges and even though we are all grateful that we are able to attend in person, the hybrid schedule presents additional challenges. Having in-person instruction only two days a week requires that students consider their remote days as school days and not as days off. The work that teachers assign and the resources they link in Canvas are intended to move the learning forward independently since face-to-face time in class is limited.

As we approach the end of the first semester, January 22, course scores for many students are concerning. You can help! Please check your child's JumpRope portal and review any work marked missing. Encourage them to meet with their teacher to develop a plan for completion. While we want students to be self-directed in their learning, they may need prompting. More than half of students in grades 7-12 currently have assignments missing. If an assignment is marked M, it is not affecting the course grade but if an assignment is marked N, the score carries a value of 0 which is lowering the grade.

As we did in December, students in grades 9-12 will have an opportunity to work with teachers on a day designated as proficiency recovery. Only students in cohort 1 who have been called back by their teachers will attend school on Thursday, January 21. Only students in cohort 2 who have been called back by their teachers will attend on Friday, January 22. We hope this additional time will allow students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency and complete the course successfully. Students who elect not to attend may need to repeat the course which may affect an on-time graduation.

All cohort 1 Middle School students will attend on Thursday, January 21 and all cohort 2 Middle School students will attend on Friday, January 22.

Monday, January 18 - No School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Tuesday, January 19 - No School For Students, Inservice for Teachers

Wednesday, January 20 - Remote Learning for All Students with Zoom Morning Meeting

Thursday, January 21 - Proficiency Recovery for 9-12 Cohort 1, All Cohort 1 Middle School Students Attend

Friday, January 22 - Proficiency Recovery for 9-12 Cohort 2, All Cohort 2 Middle School Students Attend

Monday, January 25 - Semester 2 classes begin

Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Conference Ambassadors

Every year, each high school in the United States may choose at least one 10th grade student to represent them at their state’s Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) Conference. This year, Vergennes Union High School’s HOBY Ambassadors are Avry O'Brien and Connor Raymond.

Avry and Connor were nominated and selected for this honor based on their demonstrated and potential leadership skills and traits. Avry and Connor will attend the HOBY Conference on May 29-30. Due to the pandemic, the conference will be held virtually this year. Ambassadors will participate in seminars and meet with leaders in the fields of education, government, and other professional careers to discuss present and future issues.

Congratulations Avry and Connor!

Take Out School Meals Sign-Up

See the flyer below for information about the continuation of take-out school meals available for all children under the age of 18 in our community to provide meals on the days they are not in school. These meals are free and include for each child 5 days of breakfast & lunch:

  • 5 breakfast meals (cereal, muffins, breads, fruits)
  • 5 lunch meals (3 Heat & Eat Meals & 2 Deli Meals - includes veggies & fruit)
  • 1 cup milk w/ each meal

ANWSD School Board Vacancy

The ANWSD School Board has an opening on the school board.

We are seeking individuals from the Town of Panton who

would be interested in serving on the School Board until March

2021. If you are interested in serving on the School Board as a representative for the Town of Panton, please contact Town Clerk/Treasurer Maggie McCormick at 475-2333 or email prior to the January 11, 2021 Select Board meeting to submit your name for consideration. Thank you.

Equity Supports

The Addison Northwest School District has been identified by the Vermont Agency of Education as eligible for equity supports as stated in Vermont’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan. Schools, supervisory unions and school districts eligible for equity supports have a significant difference in student performance between at least one historically marginalized student group and their historically privileged peers. Our school district was identified due to performance gaps across two demographic groupings. Specifically, we see measurable differences between students from lower socioeconomic and students receiving support services than those students who are not identified in either of these groups.

The Addison Northwest School District, along with guidance from the Vermont Agency of Education, will be providing technical assistance as we develop our Continuous Improvement Plan to address improving the outcomes for all students, including these specific groups. We will continue to address student needs as determined by the analysis of the data we collect. As part of that data, we look at parent survey results and other information we have collected from parents and the community. We thank you all for your feedback.

If you would like to be further involved in the development and ongoing implementation of our Continuous Improvement Plan, please contact us. Your support is instrumental in your child’s school success.

Best regards,

The Addison Northwest School District Administrative Team