By Guy Page
The Franklin West Supervisory Union, covering Fairfax, Fletcher, and Georgia, will not comply with the Scott administration’s directive to, if necessary, question schoolchildren Monday about whether they spent their Thanksgiving with people outside of their immediate family.
Expressing concern for a heightened Covid-19 outbreak due to violating multi-household gathering restrictions, the Scott administration Tuesday directed schools to, on Monday, ask parents and if necessary students to tell them if they violated the restrictions. Students who spent time with non-immediate family members will be sent home for remote learning for at least a week. Gov. Phil Scott urged parents to make these questions unnecessary by complying with regulations or, if non-compliant, to proactively keep the child out of school for a week, and then have him/her tested for Covid-19.
“The Governor’s order, and the subsequent guidance from the Agency of Education, potentially thrust our young children into adult conversations and decisions, which is not appropriate,” Georgia Elementary School principals Julie Conrad and Steve Emery wrote in a Nov. 25 letter to parents. “It also potentially sets up situations where being dishonest could take precedence over our working together to meet every student and family’s individual needs, and that is not a practice that is in keeping with the character we encourage in our students and each other.”
Reporters for WVPR and WCAX yesterday alluded to school districts around Vermont planning to not comply. To date, FWSU is the only non-compliant school district known to Vermont Daily. Readers are invited to email links of other non-compliant districts.
The full letter to FWSU parents is printed below.
From: JULIE A CONRAD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: November 25, 2020 at 3:17:15
Subject: GEMS Family Letter: Health Update
November 25, 2020
Dear Georgia Families,
As always, thank you for your patience and understanding as we receive, process, and implement new health and safety requirements according to guidance.
We are writing to let you know that the FWSU administrative team has made the decision not to add a question about multi-family gatherings to our routine health screenings of students. The Governor’s order, and the subsequent guidance from the Agency of Education, potentially thrust our young children into adult conversations and decisions, which is not appropriate. It also potentially sets up situations where being dishonest could take precedence over our working together to meet every student and family’s individual needs, and that is not a practice that is in keeping with the character we encourage in our students and each other.
While we will not ask students questions about their attendance at multi-household gatherings, if we have reason to believe that this is the case, someone from the school will call you to check-in. In these cases, common sense must prevail and we will evaluate individual circumstances based on the current guidance and any information you provide. We recognize that each family’s circumstances are unique.
This decision reflects our hope and trust that families will do the right thing in following the health and safety guidelines. As we see cases of COVID-19 increase locally, regionally, and nationally, it remains all of our responsibility to do our due diligence to protect ourselves, our families, our schools, and communities.
Thank you again for your patience and your understanding that we are all doing the best we can to navigate this ever-changing world.
Julie Conrad and Steve Emery
Georgia Elementary Middle School Principals