Staffing and Bus Transportation Issues: We continue to have significant issues with finding substitute teachers and bus drivers. Like our colleagues around us, we are not fully staffed and we are not getting applicants. The result is that buses are being asked to do double runs, making some kids late and others very early. This schedule changes on a daily basis in response to what staffing we do have. This is very disruptive to families and we deeply regret this. If you know of anyone interested in being a bus driver or a substitute teacher, please have them contact our HR department. We are in dire need!
GUIDANCE: WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME: Per VT Dept of Health guidelines, students and staff with symptoms of COVID should be excluded from school. If your child has any of the following symptoms, they need to stay home until their symptoms have been improved for at least 24 hours without the use of Tylenol or Ibuprofen. If your child has one or more symptoms for more than 24 hours, please consult their healthcare provider for guidance and testing. If your child is tested for COVID, they should stay home until negative test results are received. Written test results will be required before returning to school. ➤ Fever ➤ Cough ➤ Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing ➤ Fatigue (Very Tired) ➤ Muscle aches ➤ Headache ➤ New loss of taste or smell ➤ Sore throat ➤ Runny nose ➤ Nausea or Vomiting ➤ Diarrhea
COVID, Quarantine and Distance Learning: When we have a positive case, we immediately identify and notify close contacts using the VT Dept of Health guidelines. We then send general notification to the school. Unfortunately, we have had to close a few classrooms over the past week and a half and ultimately, closed Neshobe for two days. If an entire class is out on quarantine, we will provide distance learning. We will re-open the class when more than half of the students are cleared to return with a negative test. However, once a teacher has students in person once again, we will stop the distance learning.
VACCINATION INFORMATION REQUESTED: In order to know if we can relax masking requirements, we need to know who is vaccinated in our student body. Knowing this information also makes it much quicker to contact trace when a positive case exists, as vaccinated students do not need to quarantine. Please send a copy of your child’s vaccination card to your school nurse to help us reach the 80% student body indicator.
MASK REQUIREMENTS EXTENDED TO NOVEMBER 1: The governor extended his mask recommendation to Nov 1, still with the caveat that a school with 80% or more of the eligible student body vaccinated - may relax the guidelines.
STAFFING AND BUS DISRUPTIONS: We continue to have significant issues with finding substitute teachers and bus drivers. Like our colleagues around us, we are not fully staffed and we are not getting applicants. The result is that buses are being asked to do double runs, making some kids late and others very early. This schedule changes on a daily basis in response to what staffing we do have. This is very disruptive to families and we deeply regret this. If you know of anyone interested in being a bus driver or a substitute teacher, please have them contact our HR department. We are in dire need!
REMINDER - NO SCHOOL TOMORROW OCTOBER 8th: Our calendar has an October break weekend starting tomorrow, Friday, October 8th. Students have no school on October 8th and return to class on Monday, October 11th.
SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS: In August, Board meetings returned to in-person meetings with a zoom option for those who wish to attend virtually. Meeting information can be found on the district calendar or on the district website: OVUU Board meets Oct. 5 (Date changed to October 5 from October 6), 6 PM @ OVUHS. RNESU Board meets Oct. 20, 5 PM.
UPDATE - RNESU Phone System Issues Continue - Outgoing and Incoming phone service may be erratic, especially one party not hearing the other party. We are aware of and have reported these issues. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. During this time, please consider using email and Let's Talk to reach us.
All phone systems in RNESU are down, apparently due to a national outage of the VOIP services we use. We apologize for this. Using email or Let's Talk may get a quicker response than phone. We are hopeful the phone system is up and running again tomorrow.
SCHOOL SAFETY HOTLINE: All Vermonters now have access to a new anonymous school safety tip line. The purpose of this tip line is to enhance school safety and security by providing students, faculty, staff and members of the community with a tool to report concerning behaviors that may have a negative impact on our schools. These tips will assist law enforcement, human service providers and school administrators in identifying school threats and coordinating assistance to students and families for services not needing an immediate response. Submitted tips will be received 24 hours a day/7 days a week and will be assessed to determine if an immediate action from law enforcement or other first responders is needed. Tips that are determined to not need immediate attention, will be directed to VT 211 (United Way) and/or appropriate school officials for additional services. Any student, parent/guardian, educator or member of the community can utilize this tip line at no cost. All tips are anonymous. There are three ways to submit a tip: (1)Go to www.SAFE4VT.org and click on “Submit a Tip”, then fill out the form with your information. (2) Dial (844) SAFE4VT or (844) 723-3488 and speak with a call taker. (3) Send a text to 274637, type in keyword SAFE4VT and then your tip. Please share this information far and wide. Thank you!
COVID TESTING TIPS: Local doctor’s offices have told us that they may not be able to test students who are deemed a close contact unless they have symptoms, as their offices are too busy with people who are ill. It is highly recommended that an appointment for testing at one of the many state sites be made. You can do this online at the link below. As always, if you or your child have symptoms, however, please do reach out to your medical provider. In mid October or after, we hope to offer free weekly optional testing for all staff and students right at school. Stay tuned for more information on this. Where to test: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing/where-get-tested
VACCINATION VERIFICATION REQUEST (OPTIONAL) The Otter Valley and Barstow school nurses are asking parents to voluntarily provide a copy of vaccination cards for any student age 12 and above who has been vaccinated. This information is optional for parents to provide; however having the information will help us know who needs to quarantine in the case of a positive case. It also will help us know when the school might reach the 80% vaccination goal that may allow us to relax the mask mandate. Please consider sharing this information with your school nurse. It becomes a part of the child’s health record, which is HIPAA protected for your privacy.
What to do when COVID-19 is in PreK-12 School, Child Care, Camps and Out of School Programs. If only a few in a classroom are quarantined, we likely will continue with the class in session as those few quarantine. If a large number within a class is affected by the exposure, we may need to close the class and teach remotely during quarantine. If this occurs, we likely will give the teacher one day to pivot and prepare both synchronous and asynchronous lessons and will help make sure all students have the technology they need. This is one important reason we continue to provide a Chromebook to all students this year and ask teachers to post homework on Google Classroom or SeeSaw.
What to Expect if We Have a COVID Case in the School. When a student or staff member identifies symptoms or exposure to someone with symptoms, we immediately begin a process called Contact Tracing. The current process has us identify anyone who was within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more or was within the classroom for more than four hours with the sick person. We then follow the VT Dept. of Health guidelines and notify the close contacts of the requirements to quarantine and get tested. You can read the guidelines by visiting: https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/COVID-19-ContactTracing-Actions-School-Care.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2yFXtOQXBlTHq1LM2rTTqDhDQnwe2N-MBoNwfMhzMeicmS_Td8u3MA_tg
Resources to Support Families with Unstable Housing: From time to time, our families face financial or housing challenges, especially during the pandemic. There is a federal law that provides educational stability and resources for families in need. We have started a web page to capture this information. Check it out here and if you need support, please reach out to your school guidance counselor who can help connect you. https://www.rnesu.org/page/services-for-homeless
Our first early release day for the year will be THIS Friday, September 17th. Early release days will be a half day of school in the morning, and students will be sent home at lunch times. Exact times may vary by school and will be announced, but release will be roughly around 11:30 AM. Students will be given lunch at school or lunch will be sent home. We chose one Friday each month, as that seemed to be the best for parent work schedules and family schedules. Early release dates ➤ Sept 17, Oct 15, Nov 19, Dec 17, Jan 21, Feb 11, March 11, April 8, May 20.
Barstow Board School Choice Powerpoint Sept 9, 2021 https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/12DIw3QmbYXRRvpj83BCUrtwXvCSWeRFwbfG0w0uNQro/edit?usp=sharing
Read the Sept 3 Supt Update for RNESU, just out! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R1-H0y2-N8RJzKTGk1AVwQBzkyjsD2EG1yzrZBpiBl0/edit
Curious about returning to school? Listen to Board Chair Laurie Bertrand and Superintendent Jeanne Collins talk about what back to school will look like this fall on RNESU Spotlight! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ-XCxfhy8I