The Core

December 11, 2020, Volume 11, Issue 13

Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents,

I guess we can officially start the clock toward a well-deserved vacation, not one of those short ones but a real two-weeker!

It was a hectic week but please know all of our safety steps are working. Whether it's contact tracing - or the basics (physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands), we've been keeping everyone safe. We also learned from our first case and we can see how we can improve our work. Coincidentally, our staff also had a monthly COVID check and there were no surprises!

Please know that the Governor's rules on "get-togethers" will most likely continue through the vacation. That means nobody from outside of your household should be getting together. This is much different from getting a family together - this is a much tighter rule that we all need to practice.

Additionally, I hear that students are playing together in neighborhoods. This should not be a thing. It's unfortunate but there is no longer a neighborhood pod. We need to continue following these tough guidelines so school stays open!

There may be openings for the spring semester of VTVLC (Vermont Virtual Learning Collaborative). Please see the attachment below this article for any families who would like to pursue a full-time alternative program, it starts in January.

Here is a follow-up NPR article on supporting children during the pandemic after our awesome presentations from Puppets in Education:

For those who had not heard in the news, one of our previous employees suffered a tragic loss in her family. Our previous cook, Heather Liberty, lost one of her sons in a car accident. Heather was an energetic, caring staff member who was very supportive to our students and staff. We are deeply sorry for her loss. The PTO wants to reach out to give support, please see their article for ways you can help.

Hang in there, things are getting better all the time but we have to stay committed to safety at home, the neighborhood and at school.

Have a great weekend, take some time to read with your child.

Mark Trifilio

Happy Hannukah!

Quote of the week:

Kamela Harris:

“My parents would bring me to protests strapped tightly in my stroller, and my mother, Shyamala, raised my sister, Maya, and me to believe that it was up to us and every generation of Americans to keep on marching," "She’d tell us ‘Don’t sit around and complain about things; do something.’ So I did something. I devoted my life to making real the words carved in the United States Supreme Court: Equal justice under law."

5th Grade Getting the Work Done!

Winter Gear

We are seeking donations of winter coats, snow pants, and boots, especially in larger sizes (coats/pants age 8-14/ boots size 5-9). If families have any extra/hand-me-downs along these lines, please bring them to Orchard Office. Thank You!
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Updates from our Medical Team

School Nurse Notes~

Assigned Bus Seating

Our elementary schools have assigned students to specific seats on the bus in the event that staff may need to identify close contacts to a positive individual. In some situations, these bus seats may change to promote safety due to unsafe behaviors that may arise. Please take time to talk with your student(s) about the importance and reasons for remaining in their assigned seat each time they ride the bus. This will assist with accurately identifying close contacts.

Ruvna Health Screening App

​For the safety of students and staff, please fill out the Ruvna App EVERY DAY of in-person learning . This is very important, as it notifies you (or your student) whether or not to attend school. This important step will assist in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

When your student has symptoms and/or is sick or staying home:

Please continue to fill out the Ruvna App and call the school's attendance line to report your student's absence. If you are emailing your student's teacher about an absence, please also phone in the absence.

Vermont Department of Health Frequently Asked Questions!

What does close contact mean?

Close contact means being closer than six feet or two meters apart for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before any symptoms began (or for people without any symptoms, two days before the day they got tested) and continues until they are recovered.

For more information and translations click here.

How contact tracing slows the spread of COVID: VIDEO.

Health Department Notification:

If you received a text message from 89361, this is a notification from the Health Department that you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. You need to stay home and away from other people to prevent further spread of the virus.

Soon you will receive a call from a Health Department Contact Tracer. Please answer the call.

School Notification:

If a student or staff member is determined to be COVID positive and infectious while at school, the response team, along with guidance from the Health Department, will determine which individuals are considered close contacts. A member of the school team will reach out and inform you of your student's quarantine requirements and safe return to school plan.

What does quarantine mean?

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from other people. Quarantine means you need to stay home and away from other people for 14 days. This means you can’t do any activities outside of your home, like going to school, work, or out to do errands or recreation. You should separate yourself from others and check yourself for symptoms.

Quarantine is for:

  • people who were in close contact with someone sick with COVID-19 (day 1 of your quarantine starts the day after you were last in contact with them)
  • Vermonters who travel out of state (day 1 of your quarantine starts the day after you return to Vermont)
  • people with no symptoms who are visiting Vermont (day 1 of your quarantine starts the day after you arrive in Vermont)
  • people who have gathered with another household (day 1 of your quarantine starts the day after the gathering)

If you have not had symptoms of COVID-19, you have the option to get a PCR test on day 7 and end your quarantine with a negative test result.

Quarantine helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 before a person knows they are sick, or if they are infected with the virus and don’t have symptoms.

What does isolation, quarantine and self-observation mean? See a chart here.

Do I need to quarantine if someone I had close contact with is under quarantine?

No. You do not need to quarantine if you had close contact with someone who is under quarantine. That means you can go to school, work, or the grocery store.

If you are living with someone who is under quarantine, stay at least 6 feet from them. People under quarantine should wear a mask in common spaces, use a separate bathroom, eat separately, and otherwise not be in close contact with others in the household who are not under quarantine. Be sure to disinfect commonly touched surfaces, and check yourself for symptoms for 14 days.

I am in quarantine, but I can’t avoid close contact with someone I take care of. Do they need to quarantine?

In situations where close contact cannot be avoided, close contacts of the person under quarantine do not also need to quarantine. For example, if a person depends on someone who is under quarantine for care and basic needs, and close contact cannot be avoided, the person who receives care may continue with activities outside of the home. For example, they may continue to go to work, school, child care, the grocery store, etc.

I take care of someone who is in quarantine, but I can’t avoid close contact with them. Do I need to quarantine?

Yes. In situations where you cannot avoid close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should stay home and away from other people while the person you are caring for is sick. You should also quarantine for 14 days after they are able to end home isolation. Find tips on what to do when a household member is sick with COVID-19.

Where to Get a PCR Test (rapid antigen test results are not accepted at school):

If your student needs to get tested, please contact their health care provider. There are a variety of places to get tested; visit "Where to Get Tested" on the Health Department's website to find a COVID-19 test site.

Be Well,

Kara & Darcy

School Nurses

PTO News


Square 1 Art update: To all families who ordered Square 1 Art to be delivered to school, your orders are expected to arrive next Thursday, 12/17. If your child is not in school Thursday or Friday and you would like your items for the holidays, please contact Kristin at the PTO email to make other arrangements. Thank you to all who placed orders and supported our school!


In lieu of our Annual Cookie Extravaganza, the PTO plans to order goodies to show our appreciation and support for our teachers. We would really like to make this a year-long/monthly practice, but we need you! Please consider making a donation for the PTO. Even a few dollars buys a couple of cookies or slices of pizza. You may send a check to the Orchard PTO, c/o Suzanne Hebeler, 36 Cortland Avenue, South Burlington, VT 05403 or donate online:

Other funds will go to student Joy Bags! We would like to make bags with sensory supplies, books, and other boredom killers and happiness givers that teachers can have on hand to tuck into the backpacks of students who seem to need a pick-me-up during these times.

Heather Liberty lost her son in a tragic accident a little over a week ago. She was such an amazing person for our kids and made them so many wonderful meals and it seems appropriate to offer to reach out to support her family during this difficult time.

If you would like to make a donation to Heather's family, here is a link to the GoFundMe website:

If you would like to make a meal for Heather's family, here is the "Meal Train" sign up:

Other ways to help! We can always use volunteers to coordinate cookie or pizza deliveries, make Joy Bags, and various other tasks. If you have a little room in your schedule, consider volunteering! Email Kristin at with thoughts, questions, and ideas.

We have a PTO Meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening at 6:30. I hope you can join us!

Here is the zoom invitation:

Topic: Orchard PTO - Wednesday 12/16/20 6:30pm

Time: Dec 16, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 859 9667 3178

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