August 26, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year and what a week it has been so far! I wanted to thank students and staff for tolerating the extreme heat as best as they could and we’re glad tomorrow will bring cooler weather. This week, school picture days took place at the middle and high schools and fall sports practices are underway on our fields. The tents we had last year have returned to all schools to facilitate increased air flow and provide additional space for learning, meetings, and activities. While new students joined us Monday August 23, the rest of our students returned to school Tuesday, August 24. Next Monday, Gertrude Chamberlin students will return as well. Families, students, and staff have been doing a great job navigating the rhythm of getting back to in-person learning, following our COVID mitigation protocols, and ultimately celebrating the joy of being together once again. Thanks to you all!
Thanks for Attending my Zoom Chat!
Thanks to all who joined me and special guests Dr. Denise Aronzon, Pediatrician at Timber Lane Pediatrics and Dr. Benjamin Lee, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist at the UVM Larner College of Medicine Tuesday night. We received a lot of great questions around the District’s COVID protocols, vaccines, and masking including their recommendations on materials and types of masks for younger students. I plan on scheduling another drop in Zoom chat soon!
Enhancing Communication: District SMS
In order to enhance our communication and engagement with families, we added SMS/text messaging to our SchoolMessenger notification system (the system the District uses to send phone and email communications to families and staff) this past spring. If you would like to receive text messages from the District, simply text the letter “Y” or the word “Yes” to the number 67587 to opt-in (you’ll also get a text reminder about my Zoom chats!).
Shout Out to our Custodial Team!
A big thanks goes out to the custodial team at Gertrude Chamberlin School! Diane Lampman, Jeff Hendee, John Wagner and Jamyang Sonam’s amazing effort has their school looking excellent after a summer-long construction project. Their support during and after the ventilation project will improve the environment and the learning experience at Gertrude Chamberlin for many years to come. Our entire custodial team district wide worked hard to prepare our facilities for the return of students and staff. Thank you!
As a reminder, all students and staff can expect to be masked inside until further notice. Masks are not required outside. The South Burlington School Board unanimously approved a Student and Staff Mask Mandate at their August 18 meeting. The District will require masks at all times for students and staff, subject to exemptions required by law or reasonably granted by the Administration. Mask wearing by all is a solid tool in our COVID mitigation toolbox in addition to staying home when sick, hand washing, and being aware of one’[s activities when outside of school as well. There is a large portion of our school population who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Thanks for helping to protect one another!
Daily Health Checks
The health screening tool we used last school year, RUVNA, launched for all staff and students/families on Tuesday, August 24. Parents/guardians of student(s) in grades PreK-8 are responsible for conducting health screenings of their student(s) at home prior to boarding our buses and/or dropping their student(s) off at our schools. Due to the delayed start, Gertrude Chamberlin students/families will receive notifications beginning August 30.
High school students conduct their own health screenings. As a reminder, you should receive a text, an email, or both, based on your contact information in PowerSchool, at 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM every weekday. If you have not answered the health screening questions by 6:30 AM, you will be prompted to answer the questions again. It is critical that you complete these questions prior to coming to school to help keep our schools safe!
Transportation is going very well so far! Thanks to our families for your patience as we fine tune routes to make them as efficient as possible. You can find bus routes on the District website. If you have specific concerns, please email Kathy LaRock, firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Out of State and International Travel Precautions
Vermont does not have any state travel restrictions, but there are federal rules that apply in Vermont, like testing for international travel. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you travel to places with a lot of virus circulating or spend time with people who do, consider getting tested and following prevention steps, even if you are vaccinated. Travelers should follow the guidelines of the state or country they visit. These rules may be different state by state or country by country.
COVID19 Vaccination Clinics Launched Today!
The state is continuing to offer vaccinations at a variety of sites throughout the state and we, like many of our fellow Districts, are offering pop-up vaccine clinics for those ages 12 and above at the high school from 9:00 am-5:00 pm on the following dates:
Thursday, August 26
Thursday, September 16
Thursday, October 7
Recovery Planning: We want to Hear from You!
Over the next three school years, the South Burlington School District will receive federal funds for educational recovery in order to build back from the pandemic. These are one-time funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) provided for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. This fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education describes the funds and the differences between each type.The ESSER allocation received by each district is determined in part by the number of families living in poverty within the district. We want your feedback on our recovery plan! Check it out and fill out the brief survey on our SBSD Recovery Planning and ESSER Funds website. Survey closes October 1.
Thank you for your continued support!