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Your To-do List

As you’ve read from me over the last several weeks, things are on track for us to return to the building in the fashion we announced in early December and have described in detail on the website (see here if you’ve missed it:  https://vermontcommons.org/about-us/secondsemester2020-21/).  What this means is that–if everything continues to go according to plan–we would be able to start having Core Groups back in the building sometime between two and three weeks from today.  The last piece of HVAC equipment should arrive early the week of February 1st, and so they’ll get right away to installing it.  The faculty have completed their professional development for Hy-Flex pedagogy and are now in the planning stages for teaching their classes in this style.  The technical supplies–interactive smart boards, audio systems, base computers, etc.–are on their way.  And we’re in the process of putting away and cleaning up the building.
On your end, it’s time for you to start thinking about what you’ll need to do at your household if your child will be coming to campus on the Core Group day.  First, if you’re not planning to have your child attend in person in the building, please let Jasmine (jeaster@vermontcommons.org) know at this time–you can always change your mind, and you can change it week to week if you like.  Second, if you are planning to have your child attend in person, you’ll want to start putting together a building-day set of school supplies, including:
  • 2 masks for every time your child comes to school, in case one gets wet or breaks.  We’ll have emergency spares, but they may not fit well or be the kind of mask you choose and prefer to have your child wear in extended indoor conditions or when outside in the cold.
  • Winter coat, gloves, hats, boots, and appropriate attire for being outside
  • A personal supply of hand sanitizer
  • A laptop or class-ready tablet, a charger for it with a long charging cord or an extension cord if the charger is short, a headset w/mic (in other words, everything your child needs to do a remote Zoom class)
  • The standard collection of basic personal school supplies:  pen, pencil, eraser, some paper, graph paper (if appropriate for their math class), a ruler, scissors, a calculator for high school students who’ve been told to have one, and on an ongoing basis any other supplies for classes their teachers told them to have ready for class that day.  
  • Your child’s academic planner (for middle school students;  we provided these at the beginning of the year).  
  • A water bottle and water — the water fountain won’t be in use during the school day
  • A backpack for these items:  lockers will not be in use and all school supplies and personal items cannot be shared between students or left at school, so what your child brings to school each day needs to return every day with them.
Also it’s time to consider lunch.  The school’s kitchen will be closed, meaning refrigerators and microwaves will not be available for use by students or faculty, so planning just a bit over the next couple of weeks what your child will bring and how they’ll bring it will reduce stress when the time comes for being on campus. 
 
Lastly, cell phones:  our policy normally is that students don’t have cell phones during the day at school.  Because lockers are not available, due to the fact that cell phones are being used in classes this tech-based year, and to ease logistics with parent pick up and communication (we will not have anyone answering the phone at the front desk for the time being), we understand students will in many cases have their cells in their backpack.  We expect them to be turned off, we expect that we will never see them during the school day unless we explicitly tell them to take them out for use in class, and we do not expect nor require students to have them, ever.  
 
As much as we try to limit email overload in general, it is likely that we’ll reach out to you more than normal over the next couple of weeks, since we’ll continue to have logistics to discuss with you.  Our apologies in advance.  
 
Whether you choose to have your child in the building or not, it’s exciting on our end to give this a shot, if for no other reason that it’s a sign of where we all hope things will head over the course of 2021–improvement.  Better global health.  A movement to the new normal.  Here comes the first small step.
 
Warm wishes to you and your families, near and far!
 
Dr. Dexter P. Mahaffey
Head of School

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.