EMS Newsletter

November 13, 2020

Dear EMS Families,

First, I would like to thank Engage EMS for hosting the November meeting. Engage EMS meets the second Wednesday of every month at 6pm. This month, the meeting was held via Zoom. We encourage all families to log in for this monthly opportunity to communicate and collaborate.

I would like to address two topics in this newsletter: health and quarter grades.


We continue to keep "health" at the forefront of our minds. Even though we can't "see" coronavirus and many people want to be "done with it," this is our current reality. The best way to mitigate is:

- Masks

- Physically distance

- Hand washing

- Surface disinfecting

Please continue talking to your kids about these mitigation strategies that should be implemented both when they are in school as well as when they are not in school.

Quarter Grades

Families should have received quarter grades. If your child received an "incomplete" grade, please communicate with the teacher as soon as possible in order to make arrangements to have your child demonstrate mastery of the missing learning targets. We are in the process of conducting conferences; if you have not received information regarding conferences, please contact the teacher as soon as possible.

If your child needs additional assistance, there is information within this newsletter. We have reassigned staff in order to provide more support in math, science and humanities when the students are off-site. Also, EMS provides after-school academic support. We have also reached out to the Boys and Girls Club and King Street Center in order to get information to assist students. Please read this newsletter for all details.

I know that I mention this each month, but it is something I think about each day. We are grateful for the privilege of working with your kids. Your kids have been wonderful at navigating the new AOE guidelines that have been implemented, and their spirit inspires each day.

With gratitude,
James Kiefer

EMS Supports and Extended Learning Opportunities

1. Possible Questions:

  • My child is finishing their work really quickly; is there a way to keep them engaged?
  • I’m looking for something to do with my child on the weekends that will be fun, interesting, and will stimulate our minds.
  • My child has an interest in ________. Do you have suggestions for how we might nurture this?

Consider one of these “Extended Learning Opportunities”. Have ideas that we’ve not considered? Please share them with Mr. Truchon (btruchon@bsdvt.org). Also check out the opportunity from ONE Arts Center in this newsletter.

2. My child would benefit from opportunities to re-engage with materials, students, and teachers during their “remote days”. What should we do?

Answer: Have your child engage in “Synchronous Online Classes”. Your child can do this once for support on a specific assignment, or each “remote” day for reinforcement of skills and materials presented in class:

Class and Time

Meet Code

7th & 8th Grade Humanities - A & B Days: 1:30 - 2:30


6th Grade Humanities - A & B Days: 10:05 - 11:05


8th Grade Math - A Days: 10:50 - 11:30


8th Grade Math - B Days: 8:30 - 9:10


7th Grade Math - A Days: 12:50 - 1:30


7th Grade Math - B Days: 9:30 - 10:10


6th Grade Math: A & B Days 1:50 - 2:15


7th & 8th Grade Science- A & B Days: 11:35 - 12:35


6th Grade Science- A & B Days 9:00 - 10:00


3. My child would benefit from some structured, in person, academic support opportunities after school or during their “remote days”.

  • Edmund Middle School Homework Help: (M,Tues, Th, Fri)- ALL students must be registered (no drop ins allowed due to COVID guidelines). In person and “remote options” available.
  • King Street Youth Center
      1. A Day Students- may attend King Street Center

        • Tuesday & Friday 11 am - 2 pm

        • Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 3 pm - 6 pm

      2. B Day Students- may attend King Street Center

        • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 11 am - 2 pm

        • Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 3 pm - 6 pm

      3. 4 Day Students

        • Wednesday 11 am - 2 pm

        • Tuesday and Friday- 3 pm - 6 pm

      4. All students must complete waiver/registration at bottom of Teen Program Page

  • Boys and Girls Club: Daily support offered for those who are registered. Please reach out to the Boys and Girls Club (Beth Vanparys 864-5263) for details about times and specifics.

4. I’m concerned about my child. They seem isolated and unhappy. Adjusting to this “new” learning environment has been a real strain. I’m unsure what to do.
  • We have school counselors who are part of our school support team. We’d be happy to arrange for them to connect with your child.
  • We have after school clubs for students to connect with kids outside their pods. Email Laura Wageman with any questions. (Lwageman@bsdvt.org)
  • King Street and The Boys and Girls Club (Beth Vanparys 864-5263) each offer after school help, which is another way for kids to connect with their peers.
  • Encourage your child to meet up with peers and go for a walk or bike ride. This is a great way to socially distance as well as spend time connecting with peers.
  • Limit online gaming and time spent on social media to help your child connect to the real world.

5. My child needs additional technology support. What to do?
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Art with Ms. Judy

Quarter 2 Art Classes have begun and 6th graders from Mr. Bleakney's, Ms. Bellot's, Mrs. Ortiz's and Ms. Botte's pods are busy creating Neurographic Art. Neurographic art is a way to transform our stress into something more calming and peaceful. It's a helpful way to balance our minds and inspire creativity and imagination. With such uncertainty all around us during this pandemic, that particular art form feels just right. Students began by "pushing the penny" (or button) around their paper to create random and intersecting lines (see video link below). After this, students rounded the corners at all line intersections. It is this step that is particularly relaxing. Next, artists will paint these already beautiful pieces of line art with a chosen color scheme. Stay tuned for the final pieces.They are going to be absolutely lovely.

A Message from School Health

Thank you, families, for continuing the challenging work of screening your children each morning to ensure that we all do our best to keep our school community healthy and COVID free. Please continue to review the symptoms for which to keep your children home. Also, please remember that fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) will treat and mask a fever, and that students should be fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school. If you have not returned your screening contract, please do. If you need another one, or a copy to keep at home, please contact your school nurse.

We work closely with the Vermont Department of Health to keep our community healthy. The VDOH conducts necessary contract tracing for positive cases by phone call. Please pick up the phone if the VDOH calls you. Please call the VDOH back as soon as possible if you receive a message from them.

In-person learning is immensely valuable for the academic, social and mental health of our students and school community. As we approach fall and winter school vacations, please partner with us to prioritize remaining in-person in school. Please plan thoughtfully and with the health of our school community in mind. It’s hard to balance the desire to celebrate the holidays or vacation time with loved ones and the growing risk of COVID-19 infection. Travel and gathering increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, so please think about how you can make your holiday and vacation plans safer.

Make safety a priority for your family and take these steps:

1. Decide if the risk is worth it for your family,

2. Plan to have a safe trip or gathering, remain flexible and get your flu shot and

3. Quarantine when you return.

You can celebrate the holidays and vacation time, but like other aspects of our lives right now, they will likely look different. Take extra precautions when attending or hosting an event and insist that people wear masks, keep gatherings small, and cancel if anybody in your family or group is sick.

If people are coming to visit you:

  1. Tell your visitors about the Vermont requirements for quarantining. They will need to quarantine at the place they are staying for 14 days. Or they can quarantine for 7 days, get a COVID-19 test, and end their quarantine after receiving a negative test result. (Check the Health Department website in advance for testing availability). Visitors can also complete these quarantine options in their home state if they are driving to Vermont in their personal vehicle.

  2. If you are hosting travelers under quarantine in your home, you do not also need to quarantine. But if you’re sharing space, you should stay at least 6 feet from the people under quarantine. People under quarantine should wear a mask in common spaces. They should eat in separate spaces and use separate bathrooms. Be sure to disinfect commonly touched surfaces, and check yourself for symptoms for 14 days.

  3. Discuss your expectations for visitors during their stay. Will people wear masks, stay 6-feet apart, keep the gatherings small?

  4. Ask your visitors to get a flu shot two weeks before they arrive.

The ACCD Map is no longer in effect per the governor’s press conference on 11/10/20. All travelers who go outside of Vermont’s borders are expected to quarantine upon their return.

Vermont public health officials, University of Vermont infectious disease experts, and local pediatricians HIGHLY discourage travel over the upcoming vacation time and holidays, and advise minimizing the size of all gatherings. Please consider that your personal choice to travel may impact more than just you and your own family members.

More information can be found on the Health Department website and you can email with questions: AHS.VDHPublicCommunication@vermont.gov Please also don’t hesitate to call or email your school nurse with any questions.

Thank you for your care and thoughtfulness this season!

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Dear Parents and Guardians,

I’m sure you have noticed big changes in the way symptoms of illness are handled this year as compared to years past. As a school nurse, one of our most important goals has been to keep students in school. Currently, because of the coronavirus, the majority of students with any symptoms of illness are sent home to ensure the safety of our school community. While this may seem a bit extreme, we know that following the state guidelines ensures our safety and allows school to remain open during the pandemic. Below is a list of what you will need to do to have your child attend school and return to school after illness.

  1. Students with any of the following symptoms (unless alternative diagnosis is provided) will be excluded from school: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, chills, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, headache, rash, swelling or redness of hands or feet, nasal congestion or runny nose, or fever in the past 24 hours.

  2. Contact your child's health care provider if they have one of the above symptoms lasting greater than 24 hours or if they have 2 or more of the above symptoms.

  3. The School Nurse will need to receive communication from you and/or your child's doctor before return to school is possible.

Finally, please make sure the phone numbers and primary care provider that you provided to school are up to date. Provide emergency contacts if you are able. Your child needs to be picked up from school immediately should they be sent home for illness.

Thank you so much for your support of our new procedures. Our goal is to keep you, our students, and the whole school community safe and healthy!


Becca McCray, MSN MA RN NCSN

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Safe Turkey Prep

Not all Thanksgiving safety revolves around travel guidelines, small gathering size, and masking for safety. For those who celebrate the holiday with turkey, Proper Turkey Preparation is KEY to a healthy meal!

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many people will be staying home and not going to that relative’s house who always cooks the turkey, here is a link about proper turkey preparation provided by the Center for Disease Control:


May you all have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving!

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Winter/Holiday Support

Dear EMS families,

The winter months in general often increase financial strain due to increased utility bills, holidays, winter clothing for growing children, etc.; the winter of 2020 presents additional difficulties we are all learning to navigate together. The flexibility, patience, and support demonstrated thus far by all parties of our EMS community have been uplifting to say the least. Our wish is for all in our community to feel safe and valued, and we can't thank you all enough for doing your part to support this goal!

This winter, we are continuing to organize our EMS winter/holiday support system and are looking to gather names of families who are REQUESTING support as well as families who would like to OFFER support. This system will be anonymous (only guidance/counseling staff will have access to names). We will do our very best to fulfill all requests, but our ability to do so will depend on donations received. Below is a link to our Winter/Holiday Support survey. Please fill this out if your family could use some support during the winter months, or if you are able to donate. Every donation, no matter the size, will be much appreciated by a family in our EMS community!

2020 EMS Winter/Holiday Support Survey

If you would prefer to fill out a paper form, they are available in the main office (at the new entrance in C building), and you can return them there as well.

In order to allow staff time to sort/distribute donations:

NOVEMBER donations and sign-ups will be due by Thursday 11/19
DECEMBER donations and sign-ups will be due by Friday 12/18

We will continue to accept donations throughout the winter and distribute as needs arise.

Thank you!

Emily Pearl, MA, ATR (she/her)

Howard Center School Services

Edmunds Middle School

(802) 343-4025



Take-and-Make Kits from the Fletcher Free Library

The Fletcher Free Library (FFL) November Take-and-Make Kits will be ready for pickup from the FFL or from EMS Afterschool on Monday November 16th!

You must SIGN UP HERE in advance to be able to pick up a free kit. Kits are limited, so sign up today! Boxes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis as supplies are limited.

November's theme: "Comics Mania!"

New boxes will come out the 3rd Monday of every month. December's link will be sent out next month.

Have fun!

Laura Wageman

Afterschool Site Director, Edmunds Middle School

275 Main St. | Burlington, VT 05401 | 802.355.4062

Gratitude Camp and Love Burlington Challenge

Hey folks!

The ONE Arts Center is pleased to offer a camp on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. We’ll create a collaborative gratitude tree and do other art projects with a focus on appreciation. Brian Letizia will teach these days and is looking forward to it!

Sign up below for camp!

Love Burlington Challenge
Also if you do sign up for camp or any of our other classes in the month of November, you could win a prize from the city’s Love Burlington Challenge! Burlington just recently launched a website called Love Burlington with a focus on the city’s local businesses. Over $3,500 in prizes are available to customers who support any business listed on the website. When you buy something, upload evidence of your purchase to loveburlington.org/challenge. Prizes are awarded weekly and the more you spend, the bigger the prize. Any and every purchase can be entered. Support local!

Free Start with Art Class!
We are still offering new customers a chance to try out after school art for free before signing up. Please let me know if you are interested! After school art is currently running on Mondays and Tuesdays and we have room in these classes. If you are interested in Thursday or Friday, we will start running classes on those days when we have 3 kids interested in signing up, so please share with anyone you think might be interested.


We have room in our Wednesday program at the ONE Community Center! This program runs 8am-3pm. We also provide after care from 3-5:30 on these days.
sign up here:

Mondays for Middle Schoolers

We are currently running a class for middle schoolers on Mondays 8am-12pm and we have room for a couple more. Some of our recent activities in this class have included stiff life observational drawing in pastels, value and shading to express form, and pencil compositions with shapes. please share if you know any middle schoolers interested in developing their artistic skills! Learn more and sign up below.


All of our weekly classes are prorated, so kids can join in anytime.

Stay tuned for a holiday gift making camp coming up Dec 23rd. While they are enjoying creative activities, you could be finishing your holiday preparations!

Contact: Becca at oneartscollective@gmail.com

Education Organizing Community Gathering

Sunday, December 6th 3:00-5:00

Across the state students, educators, parents, and community members are coming together to advocate for racial justice and social justice in our schools. We are gathering to connect, share stories, and learn new tools to strengthen our organizing efforts. We can be most powerful when we are in relationship with each other!

This event is being organized by the VT Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools in partnership with Outright VT and teachers, students, and community members. Here is a Facebook Page and Zoom invite (the link in the following picture is not live).

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