All K-12 schools closed for three weeks in what governor calls a ‘moment of service for all of us’

Gov. Phil Scott has ordered the closing of all K-12 schools in Vermont in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The move announced on Sunday follows similar actions taken by about two-dozen states. An estimated 25 million students across the nation will be home for various periods. Vermont schools will be closed from Wednesday until at least April 6. The governor said the action “may very well be extended for a longer period.”

Schools will continue to provide some essential services for select groups in need. This includes special needs services and meals for needy families. Child care options will be available for health care workers and other emergency response personnel.

Systems are being put in place to ensure a “continuing education plan” if the closure extends beyond April 6. The Vermont Department of Health is providing “social distancing” guidance for schools.

Cabot School

CLOSED: All schools in Vermont grades K-12 will be closed until April 6 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

While schools will be open Tuesday, attendance will be optional for students. Only staff will be required to attend.

“The orderly dismissal of schools is essential to support both the State’s response to COVID-19 and the needs of children and families across Vermont,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement. “We must ensure children are safe, nourished, and still learning even as the traditional structure of school is disrupted. … This is a moment of service for all of us.”

The governor is working with superintendents to ensure that the schools will continue to provide certain essential services and that the teachers give assignments to take home over the break.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said the decision to close schools is recommended by the Health Department.

“This decision is based on the best scientific evidence available to the experts at the Vermont Department of Health,” he said. “Closing schools at the end of the day Tuesday is another important step to help keep us ahead of the curve, in terms of preventing and reducing spread of COVID-19.”

Scott said a collaborative effort would be needed to make the process work.

“We need local government — and especially our schools and educators — to lend their capable hands and their enormous hearts in this effort,” he said. “It is very important to the overall response.”

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has said that schools in the Buckeye State may be done for the year.

“Going by what medical experts are telling us, [the outbreak] may not peak until the latter part of April or May,” he said. “We’ve informed superintendents while we’ve closed schools for three weeks, odds are we will go on a lot longer.”

Not everyone is taking the strategy of preventing mass gatherings. Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the government in the United Kingdom, has suggested a strategy that allows for up to 60 percent of residents to get the virus, to develop “herd immunity,” while maintaining a normally functioning economy. The issue continues to be debated.

“The most likely place you are going to get an infection from is a family member, a friend, someone very close in a small space, not in the big space,” Vallance said.

Dr. Joshua White of the Gifford Medical Center in Randolph says Vermont residents should maintain rational behaviors and not exacerbate the situation by raiding stores.

As of March 16, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 3,487 cases of COVID-19 and 68 deaths from the virus. By comparison, regular seasonal influenza cases since October total at least 36 million and have caused between 22,000 and 55,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of South Burlington School District and Cabot School

4 thoughts on “All K-12 schools closed for three weeks in what governor calls a ‘moment of service for all of us’

  1. Suggestion: Our leaders and officials plus sockpuppeted surrogates return to what little rational behavior they had in the first place. As our leaders and officials close schools and businesses for no other reason than a phantom threat, causing mass panic, demand ‘the elderly’ stay home. Find it breathtakingly ridiculous for the same fearmongers to demand ‘rational behavior’ in response to their own abjectly irrational behavior with such foolishness as ordering everyone ‘stop hoarding’ and oh…no masks either!

    Unfortunately the cool heads – if there are any left – are not prevailing as these smug group-think laden pompous a***s promote mass hysteria. If they all went away things would run just fine – and are the problem not the solution.

    Deaths are primarily among elderly *with underlying conditions* and to dump this on a vulnerable sector of our population is beyond cruel. Telling everyone else to go pay them a visit is lazy When ppl get depressed they often do not want to interact at that point and become emotionally tortured. Are veterans still committing suicide at rate of one per day? Hopefully this # won’t rise.

    This is a lesson in what our leaders really think of us as they seek to subjugate and talk down, lecture, pontificate command, demand, bark orders then rub our noses in their s***t.

  2. Will the warmongering leftist hacks have to curtail their demonstrating not having any little mush minds
    to do their bidding or learn the proper agitation 101 techniques???
    or can they somehow blame the China beer virus being because of co2….

  3. With this concern and having the kids stay at home and be home schooled, this might make parents aware that having their kids educated at home is beneficial. No Government school indoctrination, wild busing as enforced by Act 46. With that, then the student to staff ratio (1:3 in Townshend) might become 1:15 (example), lower property taxes and save the local economies.

    There’s more benefits to a crises that might be realized.

    • “Necessity IS the mother of invention.” Plato

      Jay Eshelman March 11, 2020 at 8:58 am
      On the positive side: We’re about to see the benefits of online education in real time, not only at Middlebury but at many schools, colleges and universities. And the online benefit isn’t just in the facilitation of a health quarantine. The flexibility and versatility of online education will be readily apparent, and these education institutions will vouch for their online efficacy…. if only to keep their tuitions and fees.

      But more importantly, we’ll see, that online education programs not only supplement classroom instruction, online programs can replace them to a significant extent.

      Of course, as soon as the cost savings of online programs to taxpayers becomes apparent, especially in the case of high school education, the same institutions touting online education as an acceptable alternative today, will surely flip-flop when the health crisis passes. But at least we’ll have the opportunity to see one of the many education alternatives available to us in action… if only for this short while.

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