More CAES students quarantining; over 10%
of TRSU students return to remote learning
9 Covid positives send 200 Springfield students home

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, more Chester-Andover Elementary students are quarantining and receiving remote instruction as combined classes of fifth and sixth graders were exposed to a member of the CAES community who has tested positive for Covid-19.

This is the second CAES classroom this week to face quarantine. Earlier this week, a second-grade classroom began meeting remotely after the administration learned Friday morning that the students and teacher had come in contact with someone who had tested positive. You can read that story here.

Image by Alexey Hulsov from Pixabay

According to an email to parents and school staff concerning this latest incident, Two Rivers Supervisory Union Superintendent Lauren Fierman said that the last contact with that community member was Friday, Sept. 17. Students who are in quarantine can return to school after seven days if they have a negative coronavirus test. Otherwise they would need to stay home for 14 days and not have symptoms.

Fierman told The Telegraph that across the supervisory union – comprised of four elementary schools and one middle/high school – 90 to 100 students are in quarantine. With just shy of 900 students in the entire SU, that means more than 10 percent of the student population is at home receiving remote instruction.

Just a couple of weeks into the school year this makes three incidents at TRSU schools. “It took us most of last year to get two or three incidents like this,” said Fierman.

“Superintendents have heard from the Agency of Education that we are not in a state of emergency and things are getting better,” said Fierman, on Wednesday “but that’s not what it looks like to me.”

But on Thursday, AOE Secretary Dan French told a virtual meeting of the Vermont Superintendents Association that the state is not seeing a decline.

Fierman also said she would “appreciate more help from the state.”

On Thursday, Ted Fisher, a spokesman for the AOE, told The Telegraph that the agency was “doing quite a bit to support schools right now, in particular working to streamline contact tracing and implement testing programs for schools to participate in.”

Fisher said that the AOE is working on several testing initiatives, including the surveillance testing program in the schools and take home test kits, which are being piloted in several school districts. According to Fisher, these are intended to provide easily available test options to reduce the time students are in quarantine.

According to a variety of news reports, these school incidents are happening nationwide.

Health Department spokesman Ben Truman said on Thursday afternoon that the state does not have data on how many public school students in Vermont are in quarantine, but that no school-age children are hospitalized at the moment.

Springfield students go remote

On Wednesday night, Springfield School District Superintendent Zach McLaughlin told parents in a robocall that that system has seen nine positive cases and that as a result, 200 students are now in quarantine with the largest number — more than half — coming from Riverside Middle School.

McLaughlin told parents that the local need for testing has outstripped the available resources and that the school is working with the Vermont Department of Health and Springfield Hospital to provide sufficient testing.

“We are not seeing a trend of virus spreading inside the schools,” said McLaughlin, noting that those who were positive were exposed outside the school walls. McLaughlin said the school has been diligent in trying to prevent the spread of virus and asked parents to be equally diligent at home – including masking.

Noting that there would be political reactions to his saying that universal vaccination works and is needed, McLaughlin said, “High levels of vaccination are our way out of this.” He also asked parents to be kind to school staff who – like parents – are doing the best they can. “If you need to vent, call my office,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said that the special school board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23  will now be held virtually and that the high school library would be open for those who are not able to connect in that way.

To join the meeting go to http://meet.google.com/xah-wsha-isv  or call (‪US‬) ‪+1 617-675-4444‬ PIN: ‪501 131 590 6934#‬

 

 

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