Having sorted out distance learning and distance lunching, the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) team is facing a new challenge: how to reopen a closed school to establish full day care for essential employees, per Governor Phil Scott’s recent directive.
Scott has asked schools to provide child care for students ages 6 through eighth grade that provides meals, groups of no more than 10 in classrooms with the application of social distancing, and support of the continuous learning plans for these students, essentially providing their home schooling.
“The list of eligible families has grown quite large,” HUUSD Superintendent Brigid Nease wrote in an email to community members on Thursday evening, March 18.
She noted that while some districts will be opening child care right away, HUUSD would not.
“More information is needed quickly so that we can understand the impact and determine our capacity. Our first step is to collect two pieces of very important data. First, today, we will be sending out widely a message to parents asking them to identify if they are in the eligible group and what child care they specifically need. Second, we are asking each HUUSD instructional employee covered by our HUUSD collective bargaining agreement (not custodial or food service) to complete the form below as to your eligibility to be called in to staff these programs,” she continued.
Nease noted how challenging it is to balance the health and safety concerns that resulted in schools being closed with the need to reopen schools to potentially 50 percent or more of students. Busing these students would be up to Nease to decide.
“At our admin team yesterday, we discussed that the implementation of this directive seems opposite to the guidance as to why schools closed, the concerns about flattening the curve, and the immediate need to distance ourselves, severely limiting contract. About the virus, we are learning it can live on surfaces for seven days; we know little about who carries the virus when asymptomatic, and we are not sure of its severity on children. Therefore, we will move forward in a planning phase with an abundance of caution collecting information from you, our valuable staff, and our community at large before implementing this new model," she wrote.