Despite empty hallways and classrooms, the South Burlington School District will continue to support its students, remotely.

On Sunday, March 15, Gov. Phil Scott ordered all Vermont pre K-12 schools to close between March 18 and April 6 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The governor said the closure could be extended.

Now officially dismissed, South Burlington schools are working to provide students with educational opportunities, and meals for students who need them.

In a letter sent to district parents and guardians on Tuesday night, March 17, Superintendent David Young outlined how the schools will support students during the temporary closure.

In the days that followed, families could pick up bagged lunch and breakfast at the elementary and middle schools.

All students under 18 years of age are eligible for meals free of charge.

If families have students in multiple schools, they may pick up meals for all children at one location.

Families that are unable to pick up meals may arrange delivery with district Operations Specialist Christa Chambers at 802-652-7053 or cchambers@sbschools.net.

Prior approval and applications are not required to obtain meals, Young said.

“These meals will be prepared in a safe, sanitary environment by trained, professional staff members,” Young wrote.

As for learning, the district has devised methods to provide “learning opportunities that allow students to do schoolwork at their convenience, within certain time limits.”

“We recognize that remote learning does not provide the same value as in-person learning experiences,” Young wrote. “For the most part, our schools will not try to replicate direct instruction online.”

The district has conducted a survey to ensure that all students have access to the internet, an electronic device and daily meals during the school closure.

Pre K through third grade teachers were to provide families with “Continuity of Learning Plans that detail daily learning activities and related resources.” Fourth and fifth grade teachers are using Google Classroom for learning activities, homework and to offer students feedback. Grades six-twelve are turning to NEO for learning activities, homework, and assessments, Young’s letter says.

District administrators were also working on continuity of education for all learners, including meeting the needs of learners with special needs.

The district’s special educators were developing plans and contacting families to design plans that address individualized education programs and Section 504 needs, the letter says.

Section 504, “focuses on insuring [sic] a level of access to educational services (including both academic and extra-curricular activities) that is equal to the level of access provided to non-disabled students,” according to literature from the Vermont Agency of Education.

The district’s English Language instructors were also working with families to support student needs.

School nurses may be contacted to arrange pick-up for medications or supplies students may need at home during the closure.

“I know this is a lot to process. We will get through this together,” Young wrote. “Please do take us up on our invitation to call with any questions. We are here for all of you and your children and will continue to send updates as we have them.”

Superintendent David Young’s letter may be read in its entirety at: https://www.sbschools.net/domain/621

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