To the HUUSD community:

1. The decision for our public schools to close is not mine alone like a snow day. Decisions to close are made at this time by certain criteria (see links below) with guidance and approval by the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education. Basically, the guidance is that unless there is some connection with the virus and the school(s), public preK-12 schools remain open. This decision is further complicated not only by deciding to close, but for how long and under what conditions would school reopen. If you disagree with these criteria or process, it would be best if you reach out to these agencies.

2. As far as I am aware, the status in HUUSD today is that only one test was administered, and it came back negative. We have approximately 10 staff or students being monitored without symptoms. None returned to the states after March 4, and this Monday their monitoring or quarantine period will end. None of them have the symptoms that warrant testing or are ill.

3. I understand that many of you want our schools to be closed, that the spread occurs beyond those that traveled to the identified countries, and that businesses and government offices are closing around us. However, I must follow the guidelines provided and consult with the Vermont Department of Health and Agency of Education to close our schools. My understanding is that Governor Scott will be making an address at 5:30 tonight. After we have that information, I will confer with other superintendents and state officials. As of now, our schools remain open. If that changes after the governor's address or over the weekend, I will put out another message.

4. If schools remain open next week, (I have no information from today that suggests otherwise), we will be following these guidelines beginning Monday, March 16:

  • Each day I will be making a decision to remain open or not, based on the information shared above.
  • All field trips in state and out of the country are canceled/postponed until further notice.
  • All nonessential events will be canceled/postponed.
  • All events with spectators will be canceled/postponed.
  • All facility use groups other than our own students are canceled/postponed until further notice.
  • Parent conferences will be held on the regular schedule.
  • Board meetings will continue on the regular schedule at HUHS.
  • Student clubs and after-school practices, with our usual student body and staff only, will continue.
  • Staff should prepare at least three weeks of lesson plans in advance.
  • While schools will be open for students, we will largely be closed to the public as much as possible.
  • Food service: eliminating ALL self-service stations and items in all our schools for four days. We will reevaluate the scenario on Thursday, March 19.

Our Task Force meets every Monday. It can also convene on an emergency basis. Some topics we are discussing include:

  • Possibilities for distance/online learning.
  • Providing meals to eligible students if schools close.
  • Closing school for one day, only for students (an in-service) to plan from now until the end of the year under COVID-19 circumstances.
  • Answering all the questions submitted.

Finally, our district is doing everything we can to be cautious and responsive to this unfortunate situation. We will take it one day at a time, knowing that we should all expect changes along the way. Be well.

Best regards,

Brigid Nease