• Continuity of Education Plan (COVID-19) pdf version

    (March 23-April 5)

    March 20, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    We miss your students more than we can say. We are here for them, and for you as well.

    Our educators have been building a Continuity of Education Plan.  This includes a short term plan for “maintenance of education” through April 6 and a long term plan for “continuing education” in case our schools remain closed much longer.  At this point, we think an extended dismissal is likely.

    Our first priorities are student health and safety.  We have been hard at work establishing a meal delivery system and defining the systems and services we will provide to support student social and emotional well being and learning from a distance.  In the first weeks our focus will be on connecting classes virtually and establishing a sense of educational community. More academic work will come later.  


    ACSD Leaders

    Food Services


    Meals are free to all children ages 18 and under.  

    Our professional staff is preparing bagged meals (breakfast and lunch) in our production kitchen at Middlebury Union High School, a safe and sanitary environment.  Meals are delivered to bus stops via our regular bus routes on a two-hour delay schedulePlease note this is a change from our previous communication. 

    You can sign up for this service using the Google Form emailed earlier this week or by calling Dan Whittemore at 774-289-5856.  If you leave a voice message, include your name, address, a call back number, the number of children needing meals, and if your child has any food allergies.  There is no deadline to sign up for meals.

    You can leave a labeled cooler or other container at the bus stop, and we will leave meals there.  Be sure to label the container with the number of meals you are expecting to receive.  If you are not on a regular stop, or if you miss the bus stop, you can pick up meals between 10:00 and 10:20. Pick up locations include Bridport Central School, Cornwall School, Mary Hogan Elementary School , Ripton Elementary School, Salisbury Community School, Shoreham Elementary School, Weybridge Elementary School. 

    If you have any questions or concerns, please email Brittany Gilman (bgilman@acsdvt.org) or call Dan. 


    In partnership with HOPE, we are also offering grocery staples weekly while supplies last.  There is no need to sign up in advance. Groceries will be available for pickup every Thursday between 11:00am-12:30pm at the following locations: Middlebury Union High School, Shoreham Elementary School, Bridport Elementary School, Ripton Elementary School, and Salisbury Community School.  We ask that families remain in their cars, as if you are pulling through a drive-thru. Food will be brought to you. If transportation is an issue and you are unable to pick up groceries, please reach out for assistance by emailing Eva McDonough: emcdonough@acsdvt.org, Gina Ciancia Jackson, gciancia@acsdvt.org, or Kelly Landwehr: klandwehr@acsdvt.org.  Families are welcome to utilize both the meals and grocery programs.  


    Child Care

    ACSD is currently working with the Mary Johnson Children’s Center (MJCC) to explore the possibility of partnering to offer childcare to the children of Essential Persons (as defined by Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Agency of Education).  We will share more information soon. 

    Health and Wellness


    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC, cdc.gov) are reliable and updated sources for information on COVID-19.  

    Many children will have questions or concerns.  The CDC offers a series of guiding principles for talking about the virus with children: 

    • Remain calm and reassuring.
    • Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
    • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
    • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
    • Provide information that is honest and accurate.
    • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

    Learn more here: https://tinyurl.com/vd8jl3v

    Updates and resources for families are posted on the ACSD site regularly: https://tinyurl.com/yxywvlkk.   


    Nurses, guidance counselors, and members of the ACSD Behavior Team will be providing family support to students. If you have a concern about your child, please email your school directly.  If the situation is urgent, please call 911 or CSAC Emergency Services.  


    If your child works with a CSAC clinician, the clinician will contact your family to create a plan for continued services.  CSAC provides 24-hour Emergency Services for Addison County residents experiencing a mental health crisis. For help call 802-388-7641.  CSAC also promotes the National Crisis Text Hotline, which offers free 24/7 support.  “Just text VT to 741741 from anywhere in Vermont to connect anonymously with a trained Crisis Counselor.” Learn more here: https://tinyurl.com/qo8xlhu 


    If you are experiencing housing issues or homelessness, please connect with the principal of your school.  United Way of Addison County has also offered services to anyone facing hardship during this time. They can help people facing financial distress, homelessness, hunger, job loss, health care related issues and other hardships that arise.   Contact Trisha LaFayette by calling 802-388-7189, call/text 802-349-7210, or email trish@unitedwayaddisoncounty.org.

    VERMONT 2-1-1

    If you find you need support connecting with community resources to meet a range of needs (e.g., food and shelter, income support and employment, legal assistance), one place to start is Vermont 2-1-1.  Dial it on your phone, connect via text (Text your zip code to 898-211), or visit the website (https://vermont211.org). 


    Maintenance of Education Plan (March 23 - April 3)


    Teachers will use G Suite for Education apps including Google Classroom to communicate class activities and assignments, Google Meet for video conferencing, and other apps as necessary.  Many students are already familiar with these tools, and our tech department is set up to support their use remotely. Every effort will be made to ensure students have the resources (devices and Internet connections) to participate fully.  (See Technology section below.) Where we are not able to connect students with technology, we will do all we can to provide alternative options.


    Between now and April 6, ACSD educators will focus first on building community across distance.  Teachers will be making regular contact with students and helping everyone navigate online systems. Early assignments will be limited. 


    Teachers will set schedules to connect regularly with students (via phone, email, video chat, etc.), and they will communicate consistent “office hours” and contact informatino so students and parents know when and how to reach out.  


    For most of the work teachers and students complete, timing will be flexible.  Teachers will complete independent planning, and students will complete independent school work at the time of day that works best for them.  


    Continuing Education Plan (April 6 - Return to School)

    If school dismissal continues after April 6, we will use the new system and online connections we have built to introduce new learning.  


    Student Services 

    Information and guidance is changing rapidly, and the ACSD Student Services team is working to stay abreast of the most recent communication, guidance, and information.  


    Special educators and Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) are reviewing all IEPs and considering how instruction might be best provided to a student in a distance-learning format. This includes online content, paper packets, or other products that may be sent to families to maintain a student’s learning from March 23 - April 3.  English Language Learner (ELL) teachers and interventionists will continue to provide services directly to students and/or through collaboration with classroom teachers.

    Due to the COVID-19 virus, it is important to be clear that in-person services may not be delivered for two reasons. First, we must not put students at risk of contracting the virus and passing it to parents or grandparents.  Second, we must not put staff at risk of contracting the virus from students.  

    All special educators and SLPs have been asked to make initial contact with families over the next week to say hello, do a quick check in, and find out from parents the best way to connect with them. 


    The goal in these first two weeks is to maintain educational progress.  Special Education staff are working to ensure that each student eligible for special education services has a “Distance Learning Services Plan” that focuses on Reasonable, Appropriate, Essential Skills in light of our circumstances to identify how educational progress will be maintained.  This may look different for each student.  


    When a school is shut down and provides no educational services to any of its students, there is no obligation to provide special education services. If a school district provides educational opportunities of any type to general education students, then it must “ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of FAPE.” While we are in this first phase of maintenance of education, no IEP services will be taking place. When regular education services begin, special education staff will be providing services according to the Distance Learning Plans.


    Similar to IEP services, no such services will be provided at least through April 3, 2020. The Student Services Team is meeting with all related service providers and further information about their services will be released soon.


    Special education staff are expected to continue to hold annual reviews by the annual due date unless the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) shifts guidance.  IEP meetings will be held by video or phone conference. All procedures remain in place for noticing, holding and facilitating IEP team meetings.


    At this time, neither OSEP nor the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) has provided guidance on this. We hope to complete re-evaluations by the due date of the evaluation.  For re-evaluations – If testing is completed, the eligibility meeting will be held virtually.  If testing is not yet completed, or has not yet started, we will consider completing a form 8 with a clear direction to complete a new evaluation upon return in order to continue eligibility. A file review may be completed if it is appropriate and allows for an eligibility determination.  For initial evaluations – The Student Services team will consider referrals during this unprecedented time. If the team determines that a special education evaluation is necessary, the team should create a plan that will be attempted to be completed in 60 days. If the evaluation cannot be completed in 60 days because distance evaluation is not possible, then a delay form will be completed. 


    Parental rights are all still in effect.  Special educators and SLPs must provide a review of parental rights at the beginning of each meeting and are encouraged to follow up with families after meetings to see if they have any questions. 



    As described above, we will rely on technology to stay connected.  The ACSD Tech Team is disinfecting and preparing Chromebooks to send out to families who do not have devices to connect at home.  If you have not yet let your school know that you need a Chromebook, please contact ACSD Tech Director Will Hatch (802-349-4865, whatch@acsdvt.org) or your school principal.  


    For those who need Internet access, here are some free or reduced cost options:  

    If you need assistance paying for this service, please contact Caitlin Steele (802-458-2284, csteele@acsdvt.org).


    Parents and students using ACSD technology devices, network, and web resources must comply with the district Responsible Computer, Internet, and Network Use policy.  Find the full policy here: https://tinyurl.com/tmzbhxt.


    If you are having trouble connecting to or working within the online learning environment, first contact your child’s teacher.  If the teacher can’t help, you will be connected to our Tech Support Team.  Families can file a support ticket by sending An email to: acsd-tech@acsdvt.org.

    Internet Safety

    Remote learning may involve more screen time than your child typically experiences at school.  We offer the following resources to help you talk about and support Internet safety.  From the New York Public Library (https://tinyurl.com/zu2e65c):

    Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens

    • Personal Information. Don’t give out personal information without your parents’ permission. This means you should not share your last name, home address, school name, or telephone number. 
    • Screen Name. When creating your screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.
    • Passwords. Don’t share your password with anyone but your parents. 
    • Photos. Don’t post photos or videos online without getting your parents’ permission.
    • Online Friends. Don’t agree to meet an online friend unless you have your parents’ permission. 
    • Online Ads. Don’t buy anything online without talking to your parents first.
    • Downloading. Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software. 
    • Bullying. Don’t send or respond to mean or insulting messages. Tell your parents if you receive one. If something happens online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to your parents or to a teacher.
    • Social Networking. Many social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Second Life and MySpace) and blog hosting websites have minimum age requirements to signup. These are there to protect you. 
    • Research. Talk to your librarian, teacher, or parent about safe and accurate websites for research. 

    For information on Internet safety and excellent resources to develop digital citizenship, you may like to check out the parent resources on Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org).


    Contact Information

    Matthew Brankman, Bridport Principal, mbrankman@acsdvt.org, 802-458-5901

    Peter Burrows, Superintendent, pburrows@acsdvt.org, 802-458-2351 (Central Office)

    Fernanda Canales, Salisbury Principal, fcanales@acsdvt.org, 802-458-2213

    Nicole Carter, Weybridge Principal, ncarter@acsdvt.org, 802-349-5305

    Cathy Dieman, MUHS Assistant Principal, cdieman@acsdvt.org, 802-349-9685

    Brittany Gilman, Business Manager, bgilman@acsdvt.org, 802-349-6377

    Tracey Harrington, Ripton Principal, tharrington@acsdvt.org, 802-349-9101

    Will Hatch, Technology Director, whatch@acsdvt.org, 802-349-4865

    Kris Holsman-Francoeur, MUMS Principal, kholsman-francoeur@acsdvt.org, 802-349-9333

    Jen Kravitz, Mary Hogan Principal, jkravitz@acsdvt.org, 802-458-2191

    Bill Lawson, MUHS Principal, wlawson@acsdvt.org, 802-349-4882

    Michael Lenox, Shoreham Principal, mlenox@acsdvt.org, 802-458-2266

    Heather Raabe, Cornwall School, hraabe@acsdvt.org, 802-349-5934

    Caitlin Steele, Director of Teaching and Learning, csteele@acsdvt.org, 802-458-2284

    Vicki Wells, Director of Student Services, vwells@acsdvt.org, 802-349-5137

    Michaela Wisell, Mary Hogan Assistant Principal, mwisell@acsdvt.org, 802-349-8317