Gov. Scott orders orderly closure of Vermont schools

MONTPELIER, Vt. – On Sunday, March 15, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Scott announced a Continuity of Education Plan for the orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18. This directive will last through April 6 but may very well be extended for a longer period.

Gov. Scott’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 childcare options for healthcare workers and others essential to the response; and
  • 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 was required to be in school Monday or Tuesday, if their parents or guardians would prefer to keep them home.

“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,” Gov. Scott said. “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.”

He 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.”

Gov. Scott 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.

Under the governor’s directive, schools will remain operational for administrators, teachers, and staff to sustain essential services and to plan and implement continuity of education through remote learning. The Vermont Department of Health has provided “social distancing” guidance that districts should use to ensure a healthy workplace.

Gov. Scott also added that the state understands there will be many unique challenges around specific students or specific programs, and that every district is going to have a different localized approach.

“We need local government – and especially our schools and educators – to lend their capable hands and their enormous hearts in this effort. It is very important to the overall response.”

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