Good evening BUUSD,
The turning leaves remind us that fall has begun and so has our new school year. I cannot thank the students, families, and teachers of Barre for everything they have done to get our unusual school year off to a good start. We have had to deal with many changes to our routines as we keep everyone safe during this pandemic yet the important work of learning continues. Our students are glad to be spending time in class with their teachers and friends. Teachers are also happy to be connecting with their students whom they care so much about.
One of the things on everyone’s mind is when BUUSD will be able to increase the amount of in-person instruction for our students. We are considering the following questions as we take on this challenge:
- Do we have enough teachers and paraprofessionals for both in-person and remote learning?
- Is there enough space to keep more students 3-6 feet apart?
- How will our transportation and drop-off & pick-up procedures handle more students?
I will be presenting the re-opening team’s recommendations to the Board at it’s October 8th meeting. I also welcome suggestions from the community that the team can consider. Look for our virtual “suggestion box” on this page.
Remote learning has been a large part of our plan this fall. BUUSD has over 250 students enrolled in a 100% online program in partnership with the Vermont Virtual Learning Collaborative (VTVLC). We have eleven teachers, four special educators, and three paraprofessionals working on this project along with our two coordinators. Despite this large effort, BUUSD has approximately twenty students on the waiting list for online education. We are encouraging these families to consider our hybrid program. I hope that VTVLC will have a small increase in capacity by the end of this month, but must honestly say that we may not have any additional space this year.
I’d like to finish by thanking all of our families for taking the necessary precautions to keep the BUUSD community safe. Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying home when you are sick are the most important things we can do. I know it is concerning when we hear of COVID-19 cases in neighboring schools. The principals and nurses across BUUSD are working together with our COVID-19 Coordinator Jennifer Lyon and me to continually monitor the situation. We will let the community know if the Vermont Department of Health alerts us to a positive COVID-19 case that directly affects any one of our schools. I am really proud of what our community has done to get our children safely back in school this year.