Superintendent Clark: Families can make decision as to whether to send students to school on Monday and Tuesday
Grand Isle County Schools to close by Wednesday due to COVID-19
By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
NORTH HERO -- All Vermont schools – including five in Grand Isle County -- will close down by Wednesday morning due to a concern about the possible spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Scott announced Sunday.
Grand Isle County families can make decisions as to whether to send students to school on Monday and Tuesday, Superintendent Michael Clark told The Islander on Sunday afternoon.
He said the Grand Isle Supervisory Union attendance procedures will be waived for those two days. No student will be penalized for being absent, he said.
Scott said his directive will last through April 6 -- but may be extended for a longer period.
Clark spent more than an hour meeting on Sunday afternoon with his administrative team to discuss the announcement by Gov. Scott and the latest on the virus also known as Coronaviris.
For Clark the meeting was the latest in a long series of discussions in recent days and weeks about how the education field confronts the health issue.
The Grand Isle County meeting – which was done by a video chatroom – included the four building principals. Also joining the discussion were the district’s director of curriculum, business manager, director of technology and the head of student support services.
He said they will meet in his office at 9 a.m. Monday to discuss the next steps.
“We find ourselves in a rapidly changing, uncharted situation,” Clark said.
He said the Vermont Department of Health, Agency of Education, and Scott’s office have been exceptional with their assistance.
“Our SU’s leadership teams will be working with our employees to plan for the support of our students and families during the closure of our schools,” Clark said in a letter intended for parents.
“To be clear, our primary areas of focus include the wellbeing of our students, families, and employees. The plan that we are developing
will strive to encompass all of the components that Governor Scott has referenced in his statement/press conference,” Clark wrote.
Clark said he appreciates the patience and flexibility the public has shown the district.
Gov. Scott’s directive is tasking local school districts with three key components to support the State response:
Education professionals should report to work as scheduled to assist in these efforts during this period of school dismissal, Scott said.
School Districts are directed to follow workplace hygiene guidance issued by the Vermont Department of Health.
“This decision is based on the best scientific evidence available to the experts at the Vermont Department of Health,” said Dr. Mark Levine. “Closing schools at the end of the day Tuesday is another important step to help keep us ahead of the curve, in terms of preventing and reducing spread of COVID-19.”
“The orderly dismissal of schools is essential to support both the State’s response to COVID-19 and the needs of children and families across Vermont,” Gov. Scott said.
“We must ensure children are safe, nourished, and still learning even as the traditional structure of school is disrupted. The work of educators will be essential in this effort.”