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September 4, 2020

Dear ACSD Community,

 

Over the last three weeks, ACSD educators have been preparing to welcome our students back after what has been a long break from in-person instruction. They have been working out the many challenges and opportunities that present themselves in our hybrid start, and preparing systems and approaches to keep teaching and learning moving forward in any situation we may confront in the coming year. It will be a year where all of us, in every corner of ACSD, will be pushed to remain flexible and adaptive. 

 

In my visits to schools and classrooms over the last three weeks, the one thing that has been shared resoundingly by ACSD educators is the excitement to welcome students back, and I feel incredibly grateful to be working with such a strong staff that is so energized by their work with students.

 

I want to thank everyone for their patience and support as we work out how all of our systems will function to meet state health and safety requirements to start in-person instruction. The pandemic is challenging us as we juggle our many responsibilities, and we will continue to support our students, families, staff, and community by putting wellness at the center of our work.
 

School Meal Funding Continues
The USDA announced this week that it has approved temporary funding for free meals. This means that ACSD is able to serve free breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 and under regardless of free and reduced status. This includes meals for off site and on site learning days. Please note that a child does not need to attend an ACSD school to receive meals. Please visit your school's website to sign up for meals for off site learning and/or children that do not attend ACSD. It is still important that we collect Free and Reduced Meal applications so that there is no interruption once the temporary funding expires. The USDA expects to fund the program through December, but it could end earlier. In addition, there are other school learning and nutrition programs that depend on the collection of Free and Reduced Meal applications. Please contact Laura LaVacca at 802-382-1738 or llavacca@acsdvt.org with any questions.

 

COVID-19 Response Plan 
Kelly Landwehr, MSN, RN 
ACSD COVID-19 Coordinator and Nurse Leader

 

We have a strong set of infection control plans in place and are ready to welcome students back next week. I have been incredibly impressed with the amount of hard work, teamwork and care that each ACSD school has put into this planning with the amazing leadership of the school principals and school nurses. 

 

We have had a number of questions from our community about how we’ll be responding to COVID-19 positive cases. Despite our best efforts and planning, we are likely going to encounter COVID-19 in our schools. We wanted to share the process that will be followed if this occurs in our update today. Further information on health and safety protocols can be found in the ACSD Health and Safety Guidelines.

 

If COVID-19 is confirmed in a student or staff member, schools will work with the Vermont Department of Health to determine next steps. If COVID-19 is diagnosed in a student, staff or visitor at the school, the following will occur:

  • Areas used by the COVID positive person will be closed off and not used until after cleaning and disinfecting per CDC guidelines.

  • We will open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area.

  • Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas and shared electronic equipment used by the affected person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

  • The school will participate in contact tracing as requested by the Vermont Department of Health. This may include sharing contact tracing logs and meeting with teachers and school officials to determine any close contacts of the affected person. The health department will notify any staff or families of students that are considered a close contact and will offer guidance on next steps.

  • COVID-19 case data will be communicated to our district. Any notifications will adhere to medical privacy laws. Full transparency and thorough communication will continue to be a priority.

  • The school nurse will follow up with all students and staff who are diagnosed with COVID-19. The school nurse, along with the family/individual and PCP will make the determination when it is safe for the student or staff member to return to in-person learning and instruction. 

  • The Vermont Department of Health will offer guidance to the person diagnosed with COVID-19 on how long they must quarantine and this will be based on guidelines set forth by the Vermont Department of Health.  
     

We look forward to welcoming students back next week for a successful start!

Sincerely,

Peter Burrows
ACSD Superintendent