Vermont governor: Keep students home after big gatherings

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Gov. Phil Scott said Friday he’s hearing anecdotally that most Vermonters kept their Thanksgiving celebrations among their immediate families and he’s hopeful there won’t be a surge of cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 linked to the holiday.

But he continued his call for children to stay home from school next week and quarantine if they attended multifamily gatherings Thursday in violation of state rules.

He said parents will see an additional question to the regular health questionnaire they fill out online and that will inform schools if children attended these events.

“If you were going to have a gathering with households outside your household, we were asking you to tell us that,” Scott said. “And you don’t even have to get to that point. I would say that if you had one of those gatherings yesterday that you shouldn’t send your kids to school next week.”

Earlier this week, Scott called on people who work around others to do the same.

In both cases, he said people should quarantine for seven days and then get a COVID-19 test. People who are negative can then resume their normal activities.

The call came as officials feared that multiple household gatherings could spread the virus. Vermont officials pointed to spikes in parts of Canada after Canadian Thanksgiving in October.

“Admittedly, there was a lot of reaction to this,” Scott said. “We saw it on social media. We’ve had many, many calls. I think you can chalk that up to either hitting a nerve, it’s either a guilt nerve or just a resistance nerve.”

While Vermont’s virus statistics are still among the most favorable in the country, the numbers of people testing positive and being hospitalized have increased, along with fatalities, which have risen to 67. Three of those fatalities occurred in the last two days.

Scott and others have said it will be one to two weeks before officials can learn if the holiday fueled another spike in cases.

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