All Vermont public and Catholic schools to close this week

Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 3:17 PM EDT
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Scott Sunday announced a plan for the dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school-related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18.

This directive lasts through April 6 but may be extended for a longer period.

The governor’s directive will task local districts with three key components to support the state response:

•Food and special needs services for children.

•Collaborating with the state to provide child care options for health care workers and others essential to the response.

•Systems for ensuring maintenance of education during the initial dismissal; and a continuing education plan if schools are dismissed for an extended period.

No student is required to be in school Monday or Tuesday if their parents or guardians would prefer to keep them home.

Education professionals should report to work as scheduled to assist in these efforts during this period of school dismissal. Districts are directed to follow workplace hygiene guidance issued by the Vermont Department of Health.

“This decision is based on the best scientific evidence available to the experts at the Vermont Department of Health,” said Dr. Mark Levine. “Closing schools at the end of the day Tuesday is another important step to help keep us ahead of the curve, in terms of preventing and reducing spread of COVID-19.”

“The orderly dismissal of schools is essential to support both the State’s response to COVID-19 and the needs of children and families across Vermont,” said Scott, R-Vermont. “We must ensure children are safe, nourished, and still learning even as the traditional structure of school is disrupted. The work of educators will be essential in this effort.”

Scott continued: “This is a moment of service for all of us. I know that educators across Vermont will do their part to support students and families. I’ve asked the Agency of Education to work with superintendents and local districts to ensure every child continues to receive the services they need from their schools, as well as assignments to take home to continue their academic studies.”

The governor said that while he hoped schools would only need to be closed through April 6, it is possible they will be closed for a longer period and families and businesses should prepare for this possibility.

Vermont's Catholic schools are closing starting Wednesday until April 15.

Schools are open Monday to give teachers and children a little time to prepare for distance learning and make arrangements.

However, we're told parents are allowed to keep their kids home Monday, too.

Governor Scott, Vermont's health commissioner and the deputy secretary of education will be holding a press conference Monday on the decision to close Vermont schools.