Re-Entry 2021/2022: August 20, 2021

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Dear Hilltop Families,

We wanted to give you a few updates and share more broadly information that has been asked by a few families in recent days. With the ventilation upgrades, outdoor spaces, consistent masking practice observed last year, and general conscientiousness of our community, we feel confident in opening again in person for this school year. 

While we cannot divulge specific medical information about staff or students, we can report that over 90% of our staff is vaccinated, along with a high percentage of those students who are eligible for vaccination. As the fall progresses, we hope that this helps to be protective of our community.

As we get ready for our work parties and new student conferences, we want to inform you that parents/guardians and visitors will be allowed on campus and in the buildings, but must be masked inside at all times, regardless of vaccination status. You can keep up to date about HMS’s COVID policies on our website here

Due to the changing nature of state guidelines and unpredictability of the pandemic, all September events (along with the rest of the year) are currently under review to determine what format and times might work best for safety and scheduling. At this time we plan to have the Back to School Picnic in person, on campus, outside, seating groups by program. Please stay tuned to newsletters, our website calendar, and website event page for updates. 

In the meantime, based on the COVID Guidance/Recommendations for Vermont Schools, put forth by the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Department of Health on August 4th, and on the Center for Disease Control guidelines from August 5th, we have created a plan that involves staff, students, and parents following these guidelines:

  • All persons must be masked inside, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • All persons may be unmasked outside, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • All persons must stay home when displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Refer to COVID-19 Symptom Flow Chart
  • Persons displaying symptoms when at school must go home as soon as possible. 
  • In the event that a student was sent home with symptoms, areas that may have been contaminated by the student must be cleaned. 
  • Continue regular practice of cleaning surfaces before and after eating, and when visibly soiled. 
  • Air purifiers must be run in each classroom during school hours on the highest setting appropriate to the activity. 
  • Allowable inside cross-classroom mixing:
    • Children’s House and Toddler Program (Primary Pod).
    • Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary (Elementary Pod).
  • Allowable outside cross-classroom mixing:
    • All Programs, with 3ft of physical distancing.
  • The Arts Barn can be used by all programs, as long as pods are in different rooms. 
  • Students will not be allowed in the copy room.
  • Staff may cross pods and move about the campus freely, always masked when inside and keeping distance.
  • When there are no students on campus, vaccinated staff may be unmasked inside within their pod. 

I am very grateful to our COVID Advisory Group (Heather Lesage-Horton, Asher Pucciarello, Ellie Pennell, Todd Fahey, and Mark Horton) , who continue to be available to advise our admin team on our COVID practices. If you have any questions or comments about these practices, please reach out to me at [email protected].

Tamara Mount
Head of School