New State Covid Guidelines for Schools: April 9, 2021

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Yesterday afternoon the Agency of Education (AOE) and Vermont Department of Health (VTDH) released new guidance for Vermont schools, in effect immediately and for the remainder of Spring 2021. There are a few changes from previous guidance, which we have outlined below.

New Changes, in Effect for HMS on Monday, April 12

  • We will no longer take temperatures of students or staff upon arrival to campus. Instead, “All students, their families and staff must comply with and ensure daily monitoring of COVID19 exposure and COVID-19 symptoms.” Staff will continue to complete a symptom and exposure screening upon arrival to school each morning.
  • “All students and staff will be excluded from in-person school and sports activities, if they:
    • Show symptoms of COVID-19 
    • Have a fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F)
    • Are currently in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19.”
    • Have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid and are quarantining accordingly. 
  • “The use of fogging, fumigation, electrostatic or wide area spraying on hard surfaces is not recommended,” and therefore we will be discontinuing use of our disinfectant sprayer.
  • “All students must be spaced a minimum of 3 feet apart to the extent possible,” whereas previously it had been 6 feet for children grade 5 and up. Adults will continue to remain 6 feet away from students and each other as much as possible.  

Guidelines That Will Stay the Same

  • Adults doing drop-off and pick-up must wear facial coverings. 
  • For ease of drop off and pick up, we ask that adults continue to remain in their vehicles during that time.
  • Morning health checks (excluding temperature checks).
  • Routine hand washing, distancing, and masking.

In Regards to Travel Guideline Changes

New state travel guidelines also state that vaccinated individuals may travel without quarantine or testing. It also added that unvaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine upon return to Vermont post-travel, but instead must take a COVID test within 3 days of returning. 

The three day testing does not feel appropriately protective to us. We encourage families: 

  • not to have unvaccinated individuals travel (including children who are all unvaccinated), 
  • to limit travel to “essential” travel in order to be as protective as possible, 
  • and if a student travels or has other socializing that feels risky, to continue to stay out of school for seven days followed by a negative test result before returning to school.

While we will continue to follow all current VTDH and AOE guidelines, we must encourage that families continue to remain diligent in their efforts to keep our communities safe, and only travel for essential purposes and in as safe a way as possible.