State leaders outline reopening guidance ahead of first day of school

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Vermont state leaders say success in higher ed re-opening is setting the stage for a smooth start to the school year as k-12 students make their return to school on Tuesday.

“We don’t expect to see any new big spikes on college campuses due to the reopening,” said state epidemiologist Patsy Kelso.

She says there have only been 33 cases among college students out of nearly 30,000 tests performed. In the month of august alone, 68,000 tests were conducted in Vermont.
Officials say while the infection rate is low, they do expect to see an increase in cases due to public schools reopening.

“Things that factor into this forecast include, the communities across Vermont being more mobile,” said Michael Pieciak, Secretary of the dept. of financial regulation. “Parents being able to go back to work potentially, parents being able to run more errands and be more mobile because their children are back in school.”

Governor Phil Scott also reacted to the ‘D+’ report card grade issued by the Vermont NEA Thursday on the school reopening plan. He says if a district is struggling, it should reach out to the Agency of Education or his office.

“We don’t want our schools to fail, we want our schools to succeed,” Gov. Scott said. “I hope everyone can put the politics aside and do what’s right for our kids.”

With most schools opting for a hybrid return, many families are struggling with child care plans. The Agency of Human Services says 34 child care locations will open the first week of school and will accommodate more than 1,300 students.

“That helps the immediate childcare needs for school age children on remote learning days without harming the existing network of youth serving organizations in this state,” said Mike Smith, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services.

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