THE SCHOOL BELL

Williston Schools /April 14, 2021

NO SCHOOL APRIL 19-23

A Message from the Administration

Covid-19 Case Increase - Update and Fact Check

by Greg Marino


What a beautiful day it has been to welcome some of our soon-to-be Kindergarteners and their families at Allen Brook School! Watching ABS Principal, Angela Filion, along with ABS faculty and staff, as they welcome these young ones with their parents outside has been a therapeutic and welcome reminder of days to come and the promise of a new school year and a hopeful return to some of the traditions we have missed over the last 13 months.

On a more present-minded note, I am sure you have noticed the significant increase in the number of positive cases our school community has experienced over the last three weeks as well as the corresponding increase in quarantines and remote instruction for certain teams. The questions and concerns that have come my way via email or phone in recent days are a good indicator that families would benefit from an update about what we are experiencing and how we are responding to the recent increase in positive cases.


Is Covid-19 spreading at school?

What we know about the cases relative to transmission trends is that our schools are a reflection of the communities we serve. When community spread ticks up, as we have seen in Chittenden County over the past month, we anticipate seeing a corresponding increase in cases coming into our school buildings. Fortunately, our mitigation efforts in our schools continue to prove effective at stopping the spread once it enters our buildings.

The Epidemiology Team at the COVID branch of the Vermont DOH looks at all school cases very closely, especially when there are multiple cases involved. They complete thorough investigations to determine if there is a possibility of in-school transmission. Currently we do not have any cases that have been determined to be in-school transmission, with one possible exception in the month of January. The cases so far have been linked to household transmission with the most common pattern being transmission from an adult to a child living in the same household. If an in-school transmission or an outbreak (3 or more cases linked together) was ever confirmed by the Epidemiology Team, the school is required to notify the families and take appropriate steps suggested by the Department of Health.


Do all close contacts have to quarantine for the same length of time? How come some individuals seem to be out for fewer days than others?

The timeline for quarantining has been established by the Vermont Department of Health based on current research and understanding of the incubation period of the virus and how it spreads. In Vermont, we rely on a team of contact tracers who interview the positive person and establish the individual timeline for each COVID case. Based on that individual’s timeline, our school team works with the Department of Health to determine what that timeline looks like in school and what the necessary quarantine, testing and remote timelines will be. Though each case is unique, all individuals identified as close contacts are required to quarantine for 7 days from the last day of possible exposure to the person who was potentially infectious (known as day zero), at which point they must take a PCR Covid test and remain in quarantine until negative results are received. These negative results must be shared with our health office before the individual is allowed back in school. Due to the particulars of a case, however, the exposure is sometimes not known until days after it occured which results in different amounts of school days missed. The quarantine requirement is consistently applied as directed by the VT DOH.

Here is a great visual about exposure and quarantine


What is the school doing to prevent transmission at school?

The School continues to be diligent with our protective measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and are pleased to see that the data reflects these measures have been effective.

  • All adults and students continue to wear masks throughout the school day (with a very few exceptions for students for whom mask-wearing is contraindicated in their individualized Education Plan).

  • Maintaining 3’ distancing between students and 6’ distancing between adults. Adults also try to maintain 6’ distancing with students, but this is not always possible. Faculty and staff are mindful about making interaction with students inside 3’ or 6’ brief.

  • Students are encouraged to wash their hands routinely throughout the day.

  • Students who present with symptoms at school are sent home immediately.

  • Additional hand sanitation stations have been installed and are used in all common areas of the building, as well as near the tents and play structures outside.

  • High-contact surfaces are sanitized frequently throughout the day.

  • Student groupings are established and maintained to minimize the number of close contacts should a positive case be identified.

  • Seating charts are maintained for all learning settings and the school buses so that accurate contact tracing can occur in the event of a positive case.

  • The school building remains closed to the public, including evening use.

  • Drinking fountains are disabled (bottle fillers remain functional).


What can I do as a parent to help?

  • Please adhere to all health guidelines published by the VT DOH, including recommendations for safe and responsible gatherings and travel.

  • Please do not send your child to school with any symptoms of illness.

  • Please be sure that your child has a number of comfortable masks that they are used to wearing. Send your child with a spare mask in the event that one gets soiled or wet. (Students will always be given a mask at school if they forget one or need a back up.)

  • Please let the school nurse know if you have any information about possible exposure to Covid 19 for any member of your household, or frequent contacts.

  • Please reach out with questions if you are not sure how to handle a covid-related situation or if you are worried or concerned about a recent case.


In summary, we share your concerns about the recent increase in cases, while remaining confident that the measures, systems, and procedures in place are doing an effective job of preventing the spread of this virus at school. We know how precious the opportunity is to maintain in-person instruction for all our students and will continue our efforts to minimize the impact of this virus on student learning. As always, I am grateful for our partnership and encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Be Tick Smart

Here is a link from the Vermont Department of Health that is full of good

information about ticks for you and your child. Please always contact your

pediatrician if you find a tick and what to do with it and for your child after

removal.


https://www.healthvermont.gov/disease-control/tickborne-diseases/prevent-tick-bites-tickborne-diseases

Kid’s Heart Challenge – Grades 1 and 2

Allen Brook Students will be participating in the Kid’s Heart Challenge to support the American Heart Association. The event will take place during their regular Physical Education class time. We will do a special activity in PE to acknowledge the work of the students. All students will participate in the activity.


Click here for more information and the permission slip

or email permission to Lyn Porter at lporter@cvsdvt.org

Date correction: registration deadline is April 30.

ABS - Reminder for Safe Drop Off & Pick Up

We are sending this out again, as we have been getting parent feedback indicating that this routine can at times be a safety concern. Please be sure to do your part during our arrival/dismissal procedures so we can ensure a safe environment.


● Please drop off and pick up your child at their team’s designated location ensuring that you leave space for the other team locations.

● Parents must remain in vehicles for drop-off

● Please arrive between 7:50 and 8:10

● Please drive attentively, slowly, and safely, following directions of school staff

● For safety, all students must exit the passenger side of the vehicle

● Temperature taking will happen once your child enters the school

● Your child must have their mask on when entering the school


Please refer to this map for the correct location to drop off/pick up your student:

Arrival /Dismissal Map / Diagram

ABS Reading is an Investment Logs Due

Saturday, May 1st is the deadline for the annual (optional!) Reading is an Investment college savings prize drawing.

All our ABS kids heard these 3 books during library lessons or could listen online.

Logs were sent home in January, and can also be printed at this link:

https://sites.google.com/cvsdvt.org/abs-library/reading-is-an-investment
ABS Library website

Reading is an Investment

All ABS Library books due by May 28th!

WCS Employment Opportunity

Williston Families,

We currently have a need for additional staff to help support our students now that we have them all back to 4 days a week of in-person learning at Williston Central. The position will start immediately and run through the end of the school year. The pay rate is $15/hr.


Lunch/Recess Aid: We have several lunch/recess blocks between 10:45 and 1:30 on M, T, Th, F. This position involves being part of a supervision team that oversees the lunch recess periods for each house. Days and times can be flexible depending on your schedule.


If you are interested in this position, please contact Greg Marino, at gmarino@cvsdvt.org

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New Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

CVSD Announces Our New Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Dr. Liliana Rodriguez

Hello Rad Jazz Cats, Epic Humans, and Snickerdoodles!

The ABS Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Committee is supporting staff and students in the use of gender-neutral language. In the Williston Schools, we believe that it is important to use language that is both inclusive and affirmative. In calling a group of students "boys and girls" or "guys," we are speaking to them based on assumed gender identity. In many instances, we may not know an individual's gender identity nor the gender identity of everyone in the group. Our goal is to be increasingly mindful about the words we choose when addressing groups of people, especially our students. See below for examples of some inclusive language featured on our "Bee Inclusive" bulletin board.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION

From our Williston Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coaches, Cara Clopton and Ryan Batche:

In the Williston Schools we believe that the work for racial equity and justice needs to be ongoing and continuous and cannot be limited to individual lessons or actions during a particular time of the school year. We offer these resources for families and caregivers to support the engagement in conversations about racial equity in your homes.


10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids about Race

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/teaching-and-talking-to-kids

Talking About Race

https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race

Superintendent Search Update

The search for our new Superintendent is well underway. We have updated headlines on the District's website to provide information about the process and current status.

Superintendent Search

Education Law Workshop for Families of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Students

April 17, 2021 3-5pm via Zoom


Are you the parent of a D/deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind school-aged child in Vermont? Have you ever wondered what your child’s school is required to provide by law? Does your child qualify for compensatory (make-up) services due to COVID?


Join Vermont Hands & Voices on Saturday, April 17th from 3pm – 5pm for this free workshop via Zoom to discuss these questions and more. Rachel Seelig, Disability Law Project Staff Attorney, Vermont Legal Aid, will be providing information on the educational impacts of COVID, ADA Title II’s effective communication mandate, and other information pertinent to a D/deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind child’s education. This workshop is focused on parents and families of school-aged children 3-22 years old, but professionals are welcome to attend. ASL interpretation will be provided, and CART can be arranged if requested ahead of time. Pre-registration is required at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9YCHY78 .


Do you have specific questions you'd like answered? You can submit your questions on the registration form if you register by April 12. If time allows, we will have a Q&A time at the end of the workshop.

Meet and Greet for incoming Kindergarten students

We are looking forward to welcoming incoming kindergarten families into our school community.

Despite the pandemic and current state guidelines that have impacted some of our traditional kindergarten transition events, we are excited to to offer a Meet and Greet for incoming kindergarten students. See details and links below.

EVENT: Meet and Greet for incoming K students

WHEN: Weds, April 28

TIME: 45 minute time slots offered between 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Allen Brook School

WHAT TO EXPECT: Parents will be guided toward our large outdoor tent to meet with Principal Angela Filion to learn about Allen Brook School and have questions answered. The children will be welcomed and escorted into the school to visit a kindergarten classroom where they will listen to a story and participate in some fun activities. Due to COVID parents and guardians are not permitted in the building this year.

Click here to Sign Up for a Meet and Greet time slot

Click here to submit questions (Any and all questions are encouraged...if you're thinking about it, chances are someone else is too!)

We look forward to seeing you at Allen Brook School in the coming weeks.

Do you have a child who will be 5 years old by September 1, 2021?

Kindergarten Registration for Fall, 2021 is underway at Allen Brook School.

Please submit registration paperwork, (preferably printed double sided) including proof of residency, birth certificate and immunization record.

Questions? Email absfrontoffice@cvsdvt.org or call 802-871-6200

ParentIN Resource

Amy Sayre is a SAP counselor and ParentIN coordinator for CVSD. She is available online on Wednesday evenings from 7-8 pm to help support parents.


If you have a child who is experiencing anxiety, depression or other social and emotional challenges, Amy will be on hand to offer her support and guidance and be armed with useful resources in the community if you need/want them.


You can pop in for a quick question or to chat through a situation. Amy would love to try to help!

Here is the link to join: meet.google.com/qvq-nwzz-hfm

Intra-District K-8 School Choice

Children entering grades K-8 who live in the towns of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston may exercise school choice. Our goal is to both allow options for families and also make balanced class sizes to provide a positive learning environment for all of our children. Processes for intra-district choice of school will be guided by the needs of students, space availability, and existing resources. Given this, we will work to meet as many families’ needs as possible. Guidelines and Application
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Food Benefit Program for Families

Every enrolled student who qualifies for free/reduced meals is also entitled to an additional $60 - $100 per child per month - retroactive to September.

Many families who did not qualify for free and reduced meals last year may qualify this year due to a change in family circumstances. Because meals are free for everyone, you may not have completed the application. In order to get this additional benefit, you will need to apply now.

Families who were qualified last year are automatically enrolled. You do not need to do anything but are being asked to check the 'head of household" name and address so the electronic-benefit-card gets delivered to the right person/house.
Please see this letter for additional information. If you need assistance applying, look for the contact information in the letter or contact your school.

PARKING LOT SAFE DRIVING REMINDER

We are reminding all parents and caregivers who drop off or pick up students to be extra mindful about your driving in the school parking lots. We are asking that all drivers please drive with extreme caution, courtesy, and at slow speeds. We have noticed some dangerous situations pop up as a result of distracted driving or elevated driving speeds. We thank you for your help in keeping all students, staff, and drivers safe.

Four Winds

Hello Spring Scientists!

How are you doing? We would LOVE to hear from you! PLEASE take a moment to fill out our Mid-Year Check-in Survey.


Spring is here! Are you hearing birds and owls outside? Take a look at the latest Four Winds from Home Presentation - Calling All Owls! Just click the link!


If you missed the previous lessons, check them out! They are full of fun facts, photos, hands-on activities, games, read alouds, science show episodes, and even the videos of the beloved PUPPET SHOW! Pick and choose the activities that are right for you!


Unit 1: Spiders

Unit 2: Tremendous Trees.

Unit 3: Predators and Prey

Unit 4: Skulls and Teeth

Unit 5: Birds of a Feather

Unit 6: Calling All Owls

Bonus: Winter Exploration Ideas

The theme for the year is Structure and Function.


Stay tuned for our future lessons on Defenses and Bees!

Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.


Be curious!

Deb & Amanda, Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

Hybrid Learning Website

Hybrid Learning Schedules, Tech Support info and more

Upcoming Events

Apr 19-23 - No School / Spring Break

April 28 - Fall Kindergarten Meet & Greet

ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can arrive between 7:50 to 8:10 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

School Meals

Please visit the Food Service website for the remote learning days order form and more information.


We are excited to be able to serve your children hot food at school once again as well as continue to offer grab and go and delivery of meals for those students who are learning remotely. CVSD will be able to continue to offer free meals for all children 18 years of age and younger as we start school.


If your student has special dietary requirements please let us know. We will be happy to make reasonable accommodations (prepare a vegetarian version, substitute gluten free grain, bread or crust, soy milk or offer an alternate meal) to make sure they can have something nutritious and delicious to eat.

April Menu