Teachers, students react to Vermont back-to-school plans

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 2:18 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - What are students and teachers saying about plans from the governor and top health and education officials to bring Vermont kids back to school in the fall? Our Olivia Lyons asked.

I'm told there are still a number of unknowns but the new guidance provides the flexibility adminstrators need to make decisions best fit for their schools.

"There is a lot of anxiety just like there is for all of us about returning in person," said Jeanne Collins, the superintendent of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union.

Collins says she really appreciates the guidance and flexibility. Her task force includes teachers and administrators throughout all grades. The RNSU schools are looking at a combination of in-school and remote learning.

"I am looking at it through the lens of, how do I follow the guidance and keep as many people safe and healthy as I can? How do I provide a quality education to both kids who do want to come into school and those who do not want to come into the school and how do I make this as stable as possible for families in the midst of a pandemic?" Collins said.

"I'm anxious to get back, a little nervous for obvious reasons. There are so many unknowns that it's hard to say," Katie Bove said.

Bove is a high school teacher and a mother. Her kids are going into fifth and seventh grade. She says routines are important and there will be challenges, but being back in person is crucial for students.

"The hybrid model might work better so you can at least have these face to face connections which are so, so important," Bove said.

Kids agree they're ready to get back in the classrooms.

“I feel pretty good about it,” said Myra Tanner, a third-grader.

”I do too,” agreed Aiden Reitz, a 10th-grader.

"As long as we wear masks," Tanner said.

"As long as we're all safe, it's doable," said Elizzabeth English, a 12th-grader.

"And hand sanitize," Tanner added.

Reporter Olivia Lyons: How difficult has this been?

Jeanne Collins: Oh my gosh, I can’t even begin to say. It has probably been the most challenging environment for planning that I have ever had.

Collins tells me they hope to have their hybrid model out next week. In her district they have kept teachers in the loop, but she knows everyone is eager to see the finalized model.

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