Vermont officials offer details on “essential” child care, school meal programs


Gov. Phil Scott’s orders shutting down Vermont schools and licensed child care facilities to help contain the spread of coronavirus took effect Wednesday.

At a press conference, Scott detailed guidelines to encourage child care for essential personnel, such as health care providers, first responders, National Guard members who have been activated, and state employees working on the state’s reponse. The governor said the list of essential personnel will be updated.

“We’ve shown over this short period of time, this is evolving and we are making changes as we see necessary,” Scott said.

Mike Sherling, from the Department of Public Safety, said “grocery store workers, folks who are distributing food and people in that supply chain who supply food are essential people. So we expect additional guidance to be available as that list evolves over the course of the day.”

Secretary of Education Dan French assured families who rely on school programs to help feed their children that those programs will contrinue. The state is currently working on getting grants approved to ensure no one goes hungry, he said.

“We’ve received the necessary waiver from the USDA to offer reimbursed student meals on a distributed basis,” French said. “Thirty-none of our approximate 60 supervisory unions have applications approved and are ready to start serving meals. Many are doing so today.’

The current waivers are good for two weeks, he said, but extensions will be available.

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