The Taconic & Green Regional School District heard an update on concerns for the upcoming holidays given the threat of COVID-19 and the fact many families often travel during this time of year.
Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union Superintendent Randi Lowe was asked by board member Richard Dale about the threat of families traveling or receiving visitors from outside the area as COVID has become a growing concern and some health care professional are predicting a big spike during the holidays.
“The Tuesday map is getting worse by the minute,” Lowe said, referring to the state travel map updated by the Department of Health every Tuesday.
Lowe dispelled a rumor that there was a plan in place that simply hadn’t been released yet, which she said isn’t the case.
“We have talked extensively about many options of what to do,” Lowe said. “We expect people to follow Vermont state guidance around quarantine and travel.”
Currently, the T&G district expects to break for the Thanksgiving holiday and return to the school the following week.
But with strong travel restrictions growing even tighter every week, there are few places families can go to be with family, or receive family from outside Vermont, and not have to quarantine for 14 days after.
“I fully expect there will be students who won’t come back to school immediately after vacation,” Lowe said. “Our system is built for that.”
Lowe said there is also concern that staff, who fall under all the same guidelines, will call in the following Monday to announce they can’t return to school because they have to quarantine.
“Staff is expected to work, but there are likely going to be some people who are going to require quarantine,” Lowe said, adding that the district is trying to be understanding. “I’m hoping that on Monday, Nov. 30, my phone won’t start ringing,” Lowe said. “There are worries about not having enough people to open our schools.”
Lowe said she understands that there are families who don’t have options if the schools were to revert to all remote instruction as has been suggested.
“I think many of our families need [in-school learning],” Lowe said. “The idea of putting our families in a situation where they need to take care of their children doesn’t feel great to me. At this point, we’re going to try to stay open.”
The meeting opened with the recognition of the T&G board’s two newest members.
Burr and Burton Academy students Alexandria “Lexi” Lacoste and Samantha “Sam” Stevenson added two squares to the Zoom meeting broadcast Tuesday evening..
The pair were chosen as student representatives at the last T&G meeting and this was their first time to serve since the October meeting.
Board chair Herb Ogden welcomed Lacoste and Stevenson and the board got to work.