State kid-vaxx incentive program could bring thousands of dollars into TRSU schools

The state is undertaking a school incentive program to get gets vaccinated. Photo by Konstantin Evdokimov on Unsplash

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Gov. Phil Scott and the Agency of Education announced Tuesday the School Vaccine Incentive Program, committing $2 million in federal emergency funds to schools that achieve a student vaccination rate of 85 percent or higher. Schools that meet this threshold will be eligible for a minimum award of $2,000 and a potential maximum of $15,000 for schools over 90 percent vaccinated. In order to be eligible, schools must encourage student participation in how funds are spent.

Anywhere from $2,000 to slightly more than $8,000 could be awarded to individual schools within the Two Rivers Supervisory Union.

Funds will be awarded on a rolling basis through April 1, 2022 and they must be spent by June 30, 2022. Schools will receive $15 per student, for a minimum award of $2,000 and a maximum of $10,000. Schools that achieve a vaccination rate of 90 percent may apply for an additional 50 percent of the original award, for a maximum potential award of $15,000. (Clarification: It took a while but we finally got a clarification from the AOE on how the formula works. The $15 per student is per vaccinated student. 1:34 p.m. Dec. 8, 2021)

Cavendish Town Elementary, with a student body of 81 students, would be eligible for the minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $3,000.

Chester-Andover Elementary, with 240 students, could receive $3,600 to $5,400.

Ludlow Elementary, with 87 students including pre-kindergartners, would also be eligible for the minimum of $2,000 up to $3,000.

Mt. Holly Elementary, with 101 students, could receive $2,000 to $3,000.

Green Mountain High, with 362 student, could receive $5,430 to $8,145.

Two Rivers Superintendent Lauren Fierman said on Tuesday evening that Green Mountain is currently at 60 percent vaccinated and the three of the four elementary schools “just had the second round of in-school vaccine clinics.” Following those 2nd clinics — at Cavendish, Chester-Andover and Ludlow — Fierman expects the vaccine rates at each of those schools to be around 50 percent.

“We know that vaccination is our strongest tool against Covid-19, and getting our kids vaccinated is critical for both their health and education outcomes,” said Scott.  “Vermont leads the nation in youth vaccination and we hope that this program encourages even more to step up. As schools students earn these awards, I look forward to seeing the creative ways they come together to put it to good use.”

“Vaccination has been a critical part of our public health strategy for schools since vaccines first became available for students,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “We know that vaccination safeguards not only our health, but the health of our entire community. This incentive program recognizes that; giving students and families an additional incentive to get vaccinated, and a voice in how the money is spent.”

Public schools and approved and recognized independent schools are eligible. To receive these funds, schools must be able to certify that they have met a vaccination threshold and that they sought and considered student input when planning the use of these funds. An 85 percent vaccination rate for eligible students is the minimum threshold to receive funds.

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