Harwood Union Unified School District Superintendent Brigid Nease recently released a letter to families outlining the district’s plan for returning to school safely. The district is not planning for remote learning this year, citing the Vermont Agency of Education’s plan to maintain five days a week of in-person learning and lack of staff to maintain both in-person and remote learning. The goals outlined by the superintendent are to keep all staff and students as safe as possible physically, emotionally and socially; to keep all seven schools in the district open five days each week for fully in-person learning; and to keep licensed, high-quality teachers in classrooms throughout this pandemic year.
“In order to achieve these goals, we will need to carefully monitor the virus spread on the state, county and local community level, as well as implement the proactive, preventive measures we established as tried and true to not spread the virus/illness within our school community. Not everyone will agree with each mitigation decision. We are calling out for compromise, understanding and patience. Families and school personnel all care deeply about our collective well-being. Individuals will make decisions that are best for them. Our decisions strive to carefully meet the needs of the entire community, and we promise to do the very best we can,” Nease wrote.
“We need to do everything we can to overcome and prevent further student learning loss and social/emotional stress,” she continued.
All HUUSD students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors until further notice, as stipulated by the Agency of Education’s guidelines calling for masks until at least 80% of the eligible school population (ages 12 and over) are vaccinated. Students will also be required to wear masks at all times on buses. All staff will be required to be vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 weekly. Family members and volunteers will be allowed in school buildings on a limited basis while masked and with proof of vaccination.
The end of Vermont’s state of emergency in June handed decision-making on protocols to individual school districts. HUUSD’s administrative team met for a two-day retreat this week to discuss the plan and another message to the community is anticipated to be forthcoming by the end of the week with updates from that meeting.