As we celebrate the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Vermont this month, schools are faced with the task of designing education recovery plans in order to provide continued support for students. This does not in any way underscore the stellar work schools have done so far to keep children safe, while at the same time delivering exceptional educational opportunities.

Education recovery is one of the most vital steps for a community in moving toward full recovery from the pandemic. While the schools in South Burlington have successfully navigated the reopening of schools, hybrid and remote learning, there are some students and families that continue to experience the negative impact of COVID.

The Vermont Agency of Education has designed an education recovery framework and toolkit for Vermont schools to use when planning for engaging activities to address the educational impacts of the pandemic. The South Burlington school district is using these supports to guide them in this process.

An overview of the recovery plan process requires the school district to assess its needs at the local level by using available data and information, create an action plan, execute initial implementation of the plan and refine the action plan over time. The Agency of Education has assigned personnel to each school district in the state to provide assistance in streamlining recovery efforts.

There are specific outcome areas in the South Burlington school district recovery plan to ensure that all students experience optimal growth and success. The plan focuses on three areas: social and emotional learning, mental health, and well-being; student engagement and truancy; and academic achievement and success.

These domains are interconnected and yet have specific goals, strategies and activities to address the needs outlined in the recovery plan.

The district has established a team and timeline for the implementation of the recovery plan. The work began in early spring by establishing a district recovery coordinator and team by March 15. The team gathered relevant data during March and April, and created its assessment of needs and planned interventions by April 15. In April and May work continued on needs assessments and planned interventions, and on May 8 the final recovery plan was submitted to the Vermont Agency of Education.

Community members can expect that the school district’s COVID-19 recovery plan will be fully implemented in September 2021.

The recovery team includes Mike Martin, JoAn Canning, Lisa Bedinger, Patrick Burke, Kathleen Collaro, Kathy de Natale, Cara Gleason Kregs, Joanne Godek, Dave Hyatt, Kathleen Kilbourne and Dean Melen.

The school board would like to acknowledge the continued dedication and hard work of all educators, families and community members in supporting the schools of South Burlington during this pandemic. This has been an exceptionally hard year for everyone and we recognize the unparalleled stress this has caused for our school and community.

We welcome your continued support with the COVID-19 recovery plan for our district and we urge you to reach out to the recovery team or school board members with questions or concerns. Enjoy these summer months with your families.

Rebecca C. Day is a member of the South Burlington School Board.

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