When the pandemic struck in March 2020 schools were closed and went remote after a two-day turnaround. Schools remained 100% remote until the end of the year and lots of energy and time and effort went into figuring out how school could take place this year.
There were HVAC considerations, windows, Plexi-glass barriers, 6-foot distances, hand-washing protocols, bus-riding protocols, temperature checks, screening questions and endless other details that educators and administrators had to sort out.
And then came the first COVID-19 cases at Crossett Brook and the fear and alarm throughout the school district were palpable. Then came other cases at Harwood and Fayston and Warren and Waitsfield and Moretown and Thatcher Brook.
Each time administrators and school staff adapted and became more efficient, performing the contact tracing and letting which families know that they needed to quarantine and test. Not surprisingly, the guardrails held and there were no large outbreaks in our schools or in any Vermont schools.
School sports returned in the fall in a truncated fashion and returned again this winter and spring. Outdoor education and learning opportunities were maximized. And, most importantly, kids were able to be with their peers two and then four days a week which is how the year is ending.
What a herculean effort for all who were involved from teachers to the custodians, to the administrators, school nurses, librarians, food service people, guidance counselors, administrative assistants, coaches, kids, school bus drivers, the temperature scanners who rode the buses and the parents.
We thought last year was a school year like no other and we were right. This year was too but it got better as the school year progressed. The distribution of vaccines gradually made us safe, then students 18 and older got shots and then those 12 to 15 got them. The Class of 2021 was able to have a prom and a spirit week and in-person graduation.
We’re ending the year on a high note and we can expect school to be full time in person next year with no COVID precautions. As a community, and a school district, we made it through this year thanks to a lot of hard work by people who care.
Thanks to all who made this happen.