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Fall into Winter

The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which…
     -Titania, Midsummer Night’s Dream
You know the seasonal change is upon us when you have to start checking the weather for snow predictions when planning school activities!  That’s good news for our annual ski program at Bolton (starting up in December–see news coming from Tim shortly) and tricky news for outside gatherings.  But as has always been our approach, if there’s no lightning and if the temperatures are above 0′ Fahrenheit, we’re going for it!  We have a lot of little details coming our way right now that I want to make sure you’re aware of:
  • Hopefully you’ve now read it in one of five different locations that school is closed on Election Day and that Wednesday is a Faculty Inservice day (we have some student post-election programming from 9:30 – 11 a.m. the morning of 11/4).  So no Encounter Experiences next week.
  • We’ll be doing Core Group gatherings for our Wednesday programming on 11/11 and 11/18, in respond to popular request.
  • We have begun scenario planning for the second semester and are at this time reviewing faculty input.  Look for surveys coming your way starting next week and announcements about community forums over the next several weeks.  We encourage you to participate actively!
  • We have received a scope of work from the school’s HVAC provider for covid-fighting upgrades to the systems of the building and hope to begin tackling that work very soon.
  • As we follow the uptick in cases and community spread in Vermont, we have also received updated guidance for schools from the Agency of Education and will be reviewing it in consideration of our program current and future and will be able to share highlights and application at VCS with you over the coming weeks.
  • A topic of key importance making its way through schools and families right now is the question of vacation travel.  You may have seen this, including reports on the Governor’s and Health Commissioner’s statements on it earlier this week.  It’s of utmost importance that you know if you travel over the Thanksgiving or December vacations, you and your family will (except in rare cases) be expected by the state and so by extension the school to quarantine upon return (14 days or 7 days followed by a negative covid test), and if you have family or guests from out of state come visit and stay with you, they must likewise quarantine (during which you must follow state protocols for masks, social distancing, etc. while in shared spaces with them).  This would absolutely impact attendance by your student at in-person activities after these vacations, from Wednesday Core Group gatherings and Encounter Experiences to the ski program, social events, and athletics.  We are not counseling you on your travel choices;  rather, we want to make sure you understand the implications of travel or hosting guests for return to the in-person part of our school program.  Following these guidelines carefully and thoroughly are exactly the kind of proactive behavior that will contribute to keeping Vermont’s caseload from increasing and allow the school to continue to do in-person learning and activities throughout the rest of the semester.
  • As we look to the second semester planning, Grandparents Day, and lots of core group and social activities, it’s likely to be a stretch of heavier emails and communications from the school.  We are deeply sensitive to this load, particularly this year where the overall digital weight to carry by everyone is high.  So please be patient and know that we are always thinking about it and doing our best to streamline our communications wherever possible. 
  • Lastly, I just want to mention appreciation for our Faculty.  The two charges we received from the community last spring as we wrapped up the school year and planned for this fall were to maintain the uncompromised academic program and find some way to add back in some element of community, some way of being together so that it wasn’t just five days a week of online learning.  That’s of course where the fall program design came from, and when I look at the work the Faculty have put in, I am astounded at the dedication, selflessness, and pure hours of passionate planning, delivery, and follow-up they’ve put into everything to make this fall a success.  And it’s been a resounding success!  I make sure to thank them regularly, and I encourage you to do the same.  Have you reached out to your child’s teachers and thanked them for what they’re doing this fall anytime recently?  If so, thank you!  If not, isn’t now, particularly over the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the perfect time to do just that?  I hope you’ll join me in doing so, and I’ll say it again right now publicly, THANK YOU, VERMONT COMMONS SCHOOL TEACHERS!!!!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

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