Governor Phil Scott on Thursday afternoon directed schools to remain dismissed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Scott asked Vermont public school Districts to close schools for in-person instruction and to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. This extends the Governor’s previous directive dismissing PreK-12 schools from March 18 to April 6, the Governor said.
A release from the Governor's office said the decision was made in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education in the continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. To minimize disruption to students’ learning, the Governor’s order directs school districts to come up with plans for distance learning by April 13.
“The education of our students and the bonding and learning experiences they have at schools are tremendously important, so I fully appreciate the impact and difficulty of this decision,” said Governor Scott. “I also recognize it will be challenging for some schools to implement remote learning through the end of the year. But I’m encouraged by the creativity I’ve seen from administrators, educators and parents already, which is why I know, together, they can rise to the occasion.”
- From the Press Release
Governor Scott noted that some school districts have also set up creative and critically needed programs to offer onsite care for their students whose parents are working on the frontlines in this response. “These educators and staff who are finding ways to support these families have been critical to our COVID-19 response efforts and I am so proud and appreciative of their hard work, creative can-do attitude and their willingness to step up in this moment of service. These educators, and the staff supporting them, represent the very best of our public education system.”
The Agency of Education will provide technical guidance to districts on how to implement continuity of learning plans by the end of the week, specifically looking to address challenges around equitable access to learning opportunities, Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities, continuation of school meals, and school attendance and school calendar requirements.
The Department for Children and Families will also provide updated reimbursement provisions for providers who are not currently offering services and for providers who are delivering child care through this health crisis.