Governor Phil Scott ordered that state schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. The decision was made with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education to slow the spread of COVID-19. This new order comes as an extension of the Governor’s previous instruction, dismissing schools from March 18th to April 6. School districts have until April 13th to come up with a plan for distance learning.
“It’s sad for the kids, the parents, the teachers, and all school employees. My heart goes out to each and every one of you,” said Scott.
Child care providers will also remain closed but will still be able to provide care for the children of essential workers
Governor Phil Scott said, “I’ve been impressed with school districts who have worked very hard to set up creative and critically needed programs to offer care for students whose parents are working on the front lines.”
When it comes to special education requirements, secretary Dan French said they are still evolving
“We remain committed to implementing individual with disability education access as described. As I mentioned earlier, with lull of this conversation, we are in the process, I think potentially, redefining what the regular education environment is,” said French.
During the press conference Dr. Mark Levine said he is specifically concerned about people who smoke or vape and those who are in need of treatment for alcohol or other substance use
Dr. Mark Levine said, “It really makes it harder for people who smoke or vape. Whatever tobacco, cannabis, anything else to fight off the virus.”
Dr. Levine also said that he was updating guidelines to doctors to allow for more latitude when it comes to covid-19 testing.
“Tests will still be prioritized. And patients who have no symptoms will not be tested but people who have only mild or moderate symptoms will have more opportunity to be tested” said Levine.
Governor Phil Scott said the state is taking these new and more severe measures everyday because this virus is going to grow and we need to be prepared
“If it’s and overreaction, I’ll take the brunt of that when its appropriate but at this point public safety has to come first” said Scott.
Another big concern right now is for Seniors. Governor Phil Scott said that he hopes students will be able to return to school at the end of the year for graduation, but he won’t have an answer about that until they are certain it is safe.