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Snowstorm coming: What about roads, schools, vaccine appointments?

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 6:37 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Northeast is preparing for the first big snowstorm of 2021. Road crews are getting ready. But COVID is changing the way schools are looking at snow days. And what if you are scheduled to get your vaccine, but you can’t leave the house? Our Olivia Lyons got some answers.

Vermonters are no strangers to a snowstorm. But adding a pandemic to the wintry mix changes up the usual protocols.

Good news-- if you are scheduled for your COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday and can’t make your appointment, you can still receive it this week.

“We did make the decision to move forward with the clinics that were planned for tomorrow despite the snowstorm,” said Kelly Dougherty of the Vermont Department of Health.

Anyone scheduled at the Burlington, Barre or St. Albans COVID-19 vaccine clinic will receive a call asking if they want to reschedule. Some 431 appointments were made at all three locations. We don’t know how many have been changed.

The Health Department is also not sure of how extra doses will be distributed if people cancel last minute and the vial has already been opened.

“One of the reasons why we’re reaching out to people today, not only to provide them with the opportunity to reschedule and reassure them that they can still be vaccinated this week, is also so we can plan for how much vaccine we need to bring to the clinics,” Dougherty said.

And planning the day ahead for schools-- at the beginning of the pandemic many superintendents said with remote learning there will be no need for snow days. A majority of superintendents we reached out to Monday in the southern and central part of Vermont are going remote for this storm. But not all.

“The kids will be getting a snow day tomorrow!” said Chris Pratt, the superintendent of the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union.

In the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, they recognize the importance of these days. Pratt says in Bellows Falls, Saxtons River, Westminster and Grafton they will alternate remote days and snow days.

“Oh wow, we have remote learning! We don’t have to have any more snow days and we can get the kids out early. But that’s part of school, it’s part of the excitement of wintertime and the first snowfall and stuff. So, it made sense,” Pratt said.

But whether kids are learning remotely or have a snow day, it helps VTrans by keeping more cars off the road.

“The school traffic is a lot of traffic. That’s the prime commuting time in the morning, so if we can get cars off the roads, we can get out there with our plow crews and get to those people who really need to get to work every day. That will be a big help to all of us,” said Robert Faley of VTrans.

VTrans says they’ll have a skeleton crew on overnight but will ramp in time for the morning commute.

If you want to reschedule your COVID vaccine shot, the state will make that happen. You just need to call 855-722-7878. You will get an appointment for later this week and you will not need to register again.

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