COVID-19 Updates

All of the below messages from Superintendent James Culkeen are in regards to COVID-19, with the most current at the top.
April 5, 2020
 *An important message regarding SVSU Student Chromebook Pick-Up*
 
Student Chromebook pick-up will occur Tuesday-Thursday, April 7th-9th, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. All devices will be deployed from the high school cafeteria as follows:
  • Tuesday : Students whose last names begin with A-E
  • Wednesday : Students whose last names begin with F-M
  • Thursday : Students whose last names begin with N-Z
 
Procedure for pick-up:
  • Vehicles will drive into the circle at the front of the high school and bear to the right. Everyone should remain in their cars.
  • Someone will come to you for ID verification, and the device will be delivered to your car.
  • If your household has students with more than one last name, we request that you arrive on the day designated for the student with the last name closest to “A” in the alphabet.
  • Families who have students in more than one school or with different last names will be able to pick up all devices in one trip.

Thank you for following these instructions. We look forward to providing your learners with everything they need to continue their education during this difficult time. Please call our helpline at 802-753-5828, Monday-Friday from 8am-10am and 11am-1pm if you have any questions.
Thank you
Good evening,
I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. I want to thank you for your patience as we plan for the Continuity of Learning for the rest of this school year.
It would help our planning tremendously if you contact your child’s school if your child does not have access to a chromebook, laptop or a device with a manual keyboard. Please make that contact by Thursday, April 2nd by noon.
We will make another announcement with instructions for the pickup and distribution of the devices as soon as we have assessed the need based on the information you send us.
I want to thank your quick attention to this matter, so we can move forward as quickly as possible.

A Message from Superintendent James R. Culkeen

As you may have heard, Governor Scott has issued an order for school closure for the remainder of the academic year. I know that you may have many questions about the impact of this announcement. I ask for your patience as administration plans for how we move forward. More details will be communicated as soon as we have directive from the Vermont Agency of Education.
I want to thank you for your patience and flexibility during this unprecedented time. We will work together to provide the best education for our students under these most unusual circumstances.
Free breakfast and lunch meal distribution for all children will continue tomorrow, Monday, March 23rd.

Please note that ALL bus routes have changed - beginning earlier and with additional stops. Visit the “Meals for Students” portion of the COVID-19 Resources & Updates page on the SVSU website for the new routes and times, as well as Frequently Asked Questions.
Free meals for all children may also be picked up weekdays at the Middle School, from 8AM to 12 noon.
Good Afternoon SVSU Families-
 
As part of the SVSU Continuity of Education Plan required by the State of Vermont Executive Order released on Friday, March 13, 2020, the SVSU has enacted the requirement to ensure the maintenance of the educational system during school closure.
 
Starting on March 23 and continuing through April 6, all individual SVSU schools will have shared educational packets and resources with students and families to support the practice of essential skills. Currently, individual schools are reaching out to families with information about how to access practice resources. Teachers will be checking in with students to answer questions and provide support. This includes special education teachers and related service providers who will continue to work with students and families in order to support accommodations and modifications to the instructional delivery methods.
 
As part of our development of a remote learning plan that ensures continuity of education if schools are dismissed for an extended period of time, SVSU schools are collecting requests from families that are in need of an electronic device to use at home. We will also be posting “how to” videos on our website, and a technology helpline number that can be called for support. The helpline (802-753-5828) will be open starting Monday, March 23, Monday-Friday from 8am-10am; 11am-1pm. Please reach out to your school or call SVSU Central Office if your family is in need of a device.
 
To support conversations about COVID-19 with children please visit the SVSU COVID-19 Updates and Resources link on the home page for family resources from the Centers for Disease Control, National Association of School Psychologists, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Organizations.
 
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or case manager through email or by contacting the school. All emails and school phone numbers can be found on the SVSU website. https://www.svsu.org/
 
We thank you for your support.
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Under the current circumstances, eligibility of meal pick-up at this time includes any child age 18 and under living within the SVSU boundaries. This includes the towns of Bennington (including the Village of North Bennington), Pownal, Shaftsbury and Woodford. This applies to all children attending private, public, or pre-k schools within the SVSU boundaries.
The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union’s (SVSU) Child Nutrition Program is committed to strengthening our community by providing healthy and well-balanced meals to children year-round. Although SVSU schools are closed as of Tuesday, March 17, we will continue to feed our students, free of charge.
 
Unitized meals (breakfast and lunch) will be prepared at our Mt. Anthony Union Middle School production kitchen. The Abbey Group’s professional staff will prepare meals in a safe and sanitary environment. Monday through Friday, breakfast and lunch meals will be provided simultaneously and one person will be allowed to pick up meals for any child age 18 and under via two distribution methods:
  • Delivery via modified bus routes – bus stop locations and approximate times for meal pick-ups will be posted here in the “Meals for Students” section of the COVID-19 Updates and Resources page on www.svsu.org website
  • Pick-up via a “grab and go” style of service at the Mt. Anthony Union Middle School cafeteria (exterior doors) – hours of operation will be 8:00AM until 12:00PM (noon).
 
This meal service will begin on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
 
As we move forward, we will continue to explore and develop these systems to increase convenience. Meal offerings will follow our basic ‘summer meals’ program and we hope to be able to provide menus for upcoming meals. We will communicate any updates as they become available via K-12 Alerts, our social media outlets, and posting to the SVSU website www.svsu.org
 
If you have any questions, please email maureen@abbeygroup.net or stephanie@abbeygroup.net or call 802-440-8700. Information and the latest updates from the SVSU are available at www.svsu.org.
 
North Bennington
10:10AM -  former Chem Fab BCIC Building
10:30AM - Power's Market
10:45AM - North Bennington Train Station
11:00AM - Harvest Hills
11:10AM - Dunham Ave & White Creek Rd
11:20AM - Village School of North Bennington

Pownal
10:15AM - S Stream Rd & Coleville Rd
10:35AM - E Pownal Firehouse
10:45AM - S Stream Rd & Streamway Rd
11:00AM -  Potter's Day Care
11:15AM -  S Stream Rd & County Rd
11:30AM - S Stream Rd & Barber's Pond Rd
11:45AM - Old Military Rd & Pine Hollow Rd
12:10PM - Middle Pownal Rd & Horseshoe Lane
12:25PM - Middle Pownal Rd & Washingbrook Rd
12:35PM - 250 Strohmaier Rd
12:45PM - Strohmaier Rd & Niles Rd
12:50PM - Middle Pownal Rd & Fuller Rd
1:00PM - 709 Middle Pownal Rd

Pownal
10:15AM - Pownal Elementary School
10:50AM - Rte 7 Pownal Rescue Squad
11:05AM - Ladd Brook Motel
11:20AM - Alta Gardens
11:55AM - Rte 7 & Stateline Dr
12:05PM - Evergreen Trailer Park
12:15PM - Rte 7 & Cash Place

Pownal
10:15AM - N Pownal Rd & Center St
10:25AM - West Meadow
10:40AM - N Pownal Rd & Cedar Hill
10:50AM - N Pownal Rd & Carpenter Hill
11:00AM - N Pownal Rd & Mt. Anthony Rd
11:15AM - N Pownal Rd & Skiparee Rd
11:25AM - N Pownal Rd & Rte 346
11:45AM - Rte 346 Pownal Baseball Field
12:00PM - Rte 346 & Dean Rd
12:25PM - Solomon Wright Library
12:50PM - Montgomery Rd & N West Hill Rd
1:05PM - Pownal Fire House

Pownal
10:15AM - 1945 Maple Grove Rd
10:25AM - Gratton's Daycare
10:35AM - Maple Grove Rd & Barb's Way
10:40AM - Maple Grove Rd & Pace Rd
10:45AM - Jackson Cross Rd & Vien Rd
10:55AM - Jackson Cross Rd & Bushee Ln
11:05AM - Jackson Cross Rd & Sparrow's Way
11:15AM - Jackson Cross Rd & Pine Circle
11:35AM - Rte 7 & Kings Way
11:50AM - Madison Rd
12:00PM - Rte 7 & Searls Crossing
12:20PM - Rte 7 & Apple Valley Inn
12:35PM - Rte 7 & S Gate Motel
12:55PM - Rte 7 & Starlight Motel
1:05PM - Rte 7 & Park Lawn Cemetery

Pownal
10:15AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Barber Pond Rd
10:20AM - 282 Barber Pond Rd
10:25AM - Puddingstone Rd & Barber Pond Rd
10:35AM - 492 Niles School Rd
10:40AM - Niles Schol Rd & Sweet Rd
10:55AM - Ladd & Brookman Rd
11:10AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Atwood Rd
11:20AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Madison Rd
11:30AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Skyboro Rd
11:40AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Sweet Rd
11:50AM - Hidden Valley Rd & Quinn Dr
 
Bennington
10:40AM - Townsend Dr & Burgess Rd
10:50AM - Center St & E & W St
11:05AM - White Birches MHP
11:35AM - Gore Rd Trailer Park
11:55AM - Snyder's Day Care
12:15PM - Harbour Rd & Tel Rd
12:25PM - Harbour Rd & Fillmore St
12:35PM - S Branch St & Fillmore St
12:45PM - S Branch St & Webb St

Bennington / Woodford
10:40AM - Schools Out Daycare
11:00AM - Moose Lodge
11:10AM - Papa Pete's
11:30AM - Little Pond Parking Lot
11:40AM - Woodford Lake Estates
11:55AM - Woodford General Store
12:10PM - Rte 9 & Harbour Rd
12:20PM - Rte 9 & Penny Lane
12:35PM - Rte 9 & Gage St

Shaftsbury
10:40AM - Shaftsbury Elementary School
11:00AM - Trumbill Hill Rd & Holy Smoke Rd
11:05AM - Trumbill Hill Rd & Oak Hill Rd
11:15AM - Rte 7A & Timbertrail Rd
11:25AM - Rte 7A & Birch Hill Rd
11:30AM - Rte 7A & Hidden Valley Rd
11:40AM - 4379 Rte 7A
11:45AM - 4300 Rte 7A
11:50AM - Rte 7A & Fran Zando Rd
11:55AM - Rte 7A & W Mountain Rd
12:01PM - 3063 Rte 7A
12:10PM - 2859 Rte 7A
12:15PM - 2630 Rte 7A
12:20PM - Rte 7A & Bahan Rd
12:25PM - 1838 Rte 7A
12:30PM - Rte 7A & Airport Rd
12:35PM - Rte 7A & Daniels Rd
12:40PM - 72 Buck Hill Rd
12:55PM - Buck Hill Rd & Rod & Gun Club Rd

Shaftsbury
10:40AM - Chapel Rd & East Rd
10:45AM - Rocky Ln & Sugar Maple Lane
10:50AM - 1847 East Rd
10:55AM - 2131 East Rd
11:00AM - 2155 East Rd
11:05AM - 2187 East Rd
11:10AM - 2508 East Rd
11:15AM - East Rd & Reservoir Rd
11:20AM - 3421 East Rd
11:25AM - 3649 East Rd
11:30AM - 4319 East Rd
11:35AM - East Rd & Glastenbury Rd

Shaftsbury
10:45AM - Granger Hollow & Shaftsbury Hollow
11:00AM - Granger Hollow & Mead
11:05AM - 674 Murphy Hill Rd
11:10AM - Murphy Hill Rd & LaClair Rd
11:15AM - Laclair Rd & W Mountain Rd
11:20AM - Bennett Hill Rd & Myers Rd
11:25AM - Myers Rd & Tinkham Rd
11:30AM - Myers Rd & Ehrich Rd
11:35AM - 458 Erich Rd
11:40AM - Twitchell Hill Rd @ Babsy Ln
11:45AM - 316 Twitchell Hill Rd
11:50AM - Eagle St & Titchell Hill Rd
11:55AM - 1220 Rte 67E
12:00PM - 1613 Greenwich St & Corey Dr
12:05PM - Water St & Water St Fork
12:15PM - N Bennington Rd & Scarey Ln
12:20PM - N Bennington Rd & Royal St
12:25PM - 1422 N Bennington Rd
12:35PM - 1246 N Bennington Rd
12:40PM - N Bennington & Percy Rd
12:50PM - Northside Dr & Hicks
1:00PM - 134 Northside Dr
 
Bennington
11:05AM - Mountainview MHP (Greene's Oil side)
11:20AM - Catamount & Mountainview MHP
11:40AM - County St & Grove St
11:50AM - Rec Center Parking Lot
12:00PM - Beech Court
12:20PM - Old Middle School Parking Lot
12:45PM - Bennington Elementary School

Bennington
11:10AM - Hemmings Motor News
11:35AM - 348 Fox Hill Rd
11:45AM - 4 Jennings Drive
11:55AM - West End Trailer Park
12:10PM - Dermody Rd & Waloomsac Rd
12:25PM - Monument Circle
12:35PM - Bank St & Convent St
12:45PM - Bank St & Pageant St
12:55PM - Hunt St & Robinson Ave

Bennington
11:05AM - 260 Benmont Ave
11:10AM - Bennington Tire
11:15AM - Benmont & Holden St
11:25AM - Dewey St & Grant St
11:35AM - Putnam St & Elm St
11:45AM - Putnam St & Weeks St
11:50AM - Dewey St & Harwood Dr
12:00PM - Harwood Dr & Observatory St
12:10PM - Jefferson Heights & Merson St
12:20PM - Merson & Rte 7 S
12:35PM - Westside Dr & Prospect St
12:45PM - Weeks St & S St
1:00PM - Grandview St & Silver St
1:10PM - Silver St & Union St
1:25PM - Bennington Station Parking Lot

Bennington
11:00AM - Chapel Rd & Bradley Dr
11:15AM - Chapel Rd & Jacks Dr
11:30AM - Chapel Rd & Park
11:55AM - East Rd & Willow Rd
12:10PM - Willow Rd & Hewitt Dr
12:25PM - Willowbrook & Shepard St
1:00PM - Applegate
1:35PM - Prouty Day Care
1:45PM - Houghton Lane & Michaels Dr
1:50PM - Houghton Lane & Autumn Acres Rd
Starting tomorrow 3/17 there will be no school for students and support staff. They are all scheduled to return 4/6.
The teachers, office staff and others are to report as scheduled.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we move forward. You can expect regular communication from SVSU so that our community will stay informed. We are doing all we can to make sure these priorities are taken care of to the best of our abilities.

---

It has been a hard but productive day as we plan for the weeks to come. This morning we were able to meet with building principals to help develop a continuity of education plan, per Governor Scott’s directive.  

Although we do not have the details of this plan ready to share, we know that continued learning for all students is one of our top priorities. We have many teams working on this task to help bridge technological gaps in our community. We will submit the plan to the state by Friday, and will be operational by Monday.

Another focus has been the daily distribution of breakfast and lunch, which will be delivered via our bus service. More information on this will be shared as soon as we have more details.

I will continue to keep you updated as these plans develop. Thank you for your patience as move forward.

On March 15 at 3:20 p.m., Governor Scott announced that statewide school closure will occur no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The purpose of this message is to provide you an update of the actions the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union will take as it relates to Governor Scott's School Closure announcement.

First and foremost, student attendance at school on Monday and Tuesday is a family decision. For these two days, school attendance procedures will be waived, and no student will be penalized for not attending.

Leadership teams at all levels of the SVSU will be working with employees to plan for the support of our students and families during the closure of school. To be clear, our primary areas of focus include the wellbeing of our students, families and employees. The plan that we are developing will strive to encompass all of the components that Governor Scott has referenced in his statement/press conference.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we move forward. You can expect regular communication from SVSU so that our community will stay informed. We are doing all we can to make sure these priorities are taken care of to the best of our abilities.

Dear Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Staff and Families,
 
I continue to work closely with the Vermont Department of Public Health and the Vermont Department of Education to mitigate any potential risks to our students and our communities and to plan for the least educational disruption for our students. As of today, March 13, all SVSU schools remain open. Continue reading for further information.
 
I continue to work closely with health officials and administrators to develop responses based on the recommendations of local and state health departments. I am monitoring and refining our preventive cleaning measures and will continue to do so as additional guidance is provided. There are simple things that you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing; going to the bathroom; or sneezing; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Keep your children away from others who are sick or keep them home if they are ill.
  • Teach children to cough and sneeze into a tissue (make sure to throw it away after each use) or to cough and sneeze into their arm or elbow, not their hands.
  • Clean and disinfect your home as usual using regular household cleaning sprays and wipes.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; teach your children to do the same.
  • Avoid travel to highly infected areas.
  • If students display flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, they should not come to school. Families are advised to call the child’s primary care physician for guidance.
I am asking families to voluntarily report to their school if their child is absent with a respiratory illness or fever.
 
If a student, staff, or community member associated with our school has been positively identified with COVID-19, we will coordinate with the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Agency of Education regarding school closure recommendations.
 
Families will be notified of any school closures using the same systems that are currently in place for snow day cancellations.
 
Administration is exploring options for learning opportunities. Alternative Structured Learning Days, assignment packets, online learning, reading lists and other developmentally appropriate learning activities are all part of a list of options we are exploring. It is important we plan for continuity for our students.
 
Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, the restrictions listed below will be in place and remain in place till March 27, 2020. At that time I will reassess and either cancel or extend the restrictions.
  • All field trips and large gatherings are cancelled until further notice. 
  • All sporting events, practices, and afterschool programs at all schools are cancelled until further notice. 
  • School buildings will only be open to students and school personnel. Community members and the general public will not be allowed to enter school buildings.
  • Parents/guardians may not enter the building for morning drop-off and those arriving for afternoon pick up must wait outside the building. 
  • The use of school facilities by community organizations will not be allowed until further notice.
  • Small group meetings such as IEP meetings may continue. All participants’ will be asked COVID-19 screening questions before they can participate. If they are sick they will not be allowed in our school buildings but may participate by phone.
These restrictions are being put in place to protect our primary mission, the education of our students. By limiting outside access to our buildings it is our hope to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This situation is ever-changing and I will continue to update you as it unfolds.
 
Sincerely,

James R. Culkeen
Superintendent of Schools

We are continuing to monitor advisories from the Vermont Department of Health  and the Vermont Agency of Education. We do not have any updates at this time.

Although there are currently no restrictions for in state or interstate travel, school administrators have been asked to submit a list of planned events to the superintendent’s office for review. Some regional events have been cancelled, including the New England Music Festival, which was set for March 19-21 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Please continue to check our website for the most up to date information.

With the discovery of a new case of COVID-19 in Bennington County over the weekend, we want to provide you with the most up to date information on how our school community is following the guidance of the Center for Disease Control, Vermont Department of Health, and Vermont Agency of Education.

We continue to recommend that you use common disease prevention measures as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of the precautions that help prevent other respiratory diseases, like colds and the flu, can also help keep an illness like COVID-19 from spreading. Please refer to this poster from the CDC for important points on how to stop the spread of germs.

Members of our custodial staff are cleaning the hard surfaces in our schools, including those in rest rooms, nurse’s offices, cafeterias, classroom desks, and all door handles hardware throughout the campuses.

As the course of this virus progresses, we do expect, and are prepared for, more cases of the COVID-19 to appear in Vermont. In preparation, we are in daily communication with the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education. For timely updates, please check our Facebook page and website.

A Message from Superintendent James Culkeen Regarding the Coronavirus in our Community:

"We are waiting for instruction from the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education and will follow their guidance and instruction.”

Dear SVSU Families and Staff:

We understand that many families have questions regarding the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and how it may impact our local communities. The Vermont Department of Health and the CDC are providing daily updates and recommendations. Please click on the following links to stay updated – Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Vermont Department of Health – Coronavirus Information.

While this is a public health concern, the Vermont Department of Heath reports that currently there are no reported cases of the Novel Coronavirus in Vermont.  The CDC continues to report that the immediate risk to the general public remains low at this time. Yet, in today’s connected world, with families traveling during school vacation weeks, the potential for infectious disease is always of concern. As with seasonal flu and strep infections, there are general precautions we can all take to remain as healthy as possible.

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Use Alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. You can also cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid sharing drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, dishes, towels or other items. Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick whenever possible.
  • Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.  

It is important to keep children home from school when they are ill. If your child has any of the following symptoms please keep them home from school: temperature greater than 100.4, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, any rash not yet diagnosed by a physician, red or pink itchy eye, and/or drainage from eye, and any contagious illness such as chicken pox, strep throat or flu. 

The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an evolving situation that we are following closely and will continue to update you as information is shared with us. Our custodians are vigilantly sanitizing our educational spaces as we typically do during cold and flu season. We are following all recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

We remain deeply committed to student and staff wellness and will continue to share new information with you, as necessary, about this evolving situation.

Sincerely,

James R. Culkeen

Superintendent of Schools