Past Superintendent Correspondence

April 20, 2021

Troy School Families and staff

Dear Troy School Staff & Families,

I am writing to inform you that an individual at the Troy School tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and determine those who may be considered close contacts. Eric or Emily will be in touch with those families of students considered close contacts.

We encourage staff and families to remain vigilant in your efforts to minimize the potential spread of the virus. Please contact the school administration if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 20, 2021

NCUHS/NCCC Families and staff

Dear NCUHS/NCCC Staff & Families,

I am writing to inform you that a student at NCUHS/NCCC tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and determine those who may be considered close contacts. There were no close contacts.

We encourage staff and families to remain vigilant in your efforts to minimize the potential spread of the virus. Please contact the school administration if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 19, 2021

NCUHS Families and staff

Dear North Country Union High School Staff & Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed over the weekend that a student at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation. The school administration has communicated with staff and families of those considered close contacts.

We encourage staff and families to remain vigilant in your efforts to minimize the potential spread of the virus. Please contact the school administration if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 12, 2021

NCCC Families and staff

Dear North Country Union High School Staff & Families,

I am writing to inform you that an individual at NCCC tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and determine those who may be considered close contacts. There were no close contacts.

We encourage staff and families to remain vigilant in your efforts to minimize the potential spread of the virus. Please contact the school administration if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 11, 2021

Brighton Elementary School Families

Dear Brighton Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at Brighton Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. April has already communicated with staff and families regarding those who are considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on April 8 and 9. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 9, 2021

nEWPORT cITY eLEMENTARY sCHOOL fAMILIES

Dear Newport City Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at the Newport City Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on Monday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 6. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 8, 2021

nEWPORT cITY eLEMENTARY sCHOOL fAMILIES

Dear Newport City Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at the Newport City Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on Tuesday, April 6. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 7, 2021

JWJES FAMILIES

Dear Jay/Westfield Joint Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed late today that an individual at the Jay/Westfield Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met and is working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to review and respond to this situation.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on Monday, April 5. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

I know news of a positive case at school and increased cases in our region is concerning. At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant in our efforts to minimize the spread of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 6, 2021

NCUJHS FAMILIES and Staff

Dear North Country Union Jr. High School Families and Staff,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that a staff member at NCUJHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and we are worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. No individuals were considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Thursday, April 1. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of test or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts to limit the spread of the virus. We know there is currently a high level of transmission in our community and subsequently have seen more cases in schools.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 5, 2021

nEWPORT tOWN SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear Newport Town School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at the Newport Town School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. The third grade will switch to remote learning at this time.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on Thursday, April 1. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 5, 2021

JWJES FAMILIES

Dear Jay/Westfield Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed this morning that an individual at the Jay/Westfield Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Jessica Villeneuve and Kristy Pillsbury began to assess the situation immediately and reached out to parents of students directly impacted. Our COVID Response Team is worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to review and respond to this situation. The kindergarten classroom will switch to remote learning at this time.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on Tuesday, March 30. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 5, 2021

ncuhs/nccc fAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two students at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and consider those who may be considered close contacts. School administrators are in the process of communicating with staff and families.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on March 29. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know the news of additional positive cases at NCUHS/NCCC is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS/NCCC continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts. We will continue to monitor things closely and consider moving to remote learning if deemed necessary.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 3, 2021

NEWPORT CITY FAMILIES

Dear Newport City Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at the Newport City Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. Fortunately, there was a very limited number of close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 31. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 3, 2021

ncuhs/nccc FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that three students at NCUHS/NCCC tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and consider those who may be considered close contacts. School administrators are in the process of communicating with staff and families.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on March 31 and April 1. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know the news of additional positive cases at NCUHS/NCCC is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS/NCCC continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts. We will continue to monitor things closely and consider moving to remote learning if deemed necessary.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 3, 2021

tROY fAMILIES

Dear Troy School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at the Troy School tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and identify those who may be considered close contacts. Mr. Erwin and others will communicate directly with those individuals.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on Wednesday, March 31. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of recent positive cases in NCSU schools and this case at Troy is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that Troy continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. Given the high number of positive cases in Orleans County, we encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 3, 2021

DERBY FAMILIES

Dear Derby Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at Derby Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. A Mrs. Gray’s classroom will pivot to remote learning next week. Ms. Urbin and teachers will be in contact with families on the plan for remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on April 1. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community and recent cases at school, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus. We cannot directly attribute this our recent case to transmission in school.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

April 2, 2021

COVID Notification for NCUHS/NCCC Families

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two students at NCUHS/NCCC tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and consider those who may be considered close contacts. School administrators have communicated with those individuals.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on March 30. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS/NCCC continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 31, 2021

Guidance for the Upcoming Weekend

Good Morning,

As the week proceeds, we will quickly be approaching Easter weekend. While this is usually a time of great celebrations and gatherings, we ask that you review and adhere to the guidelines provided by the State of Vermont. Included in this email is the link to the full guidelines, which can be found on the Vermont Department of Health website: https://apps.health.vermont.gov/COVID/faq/#4761. If by chance, you choose not to adhere to these, we ask that you stay home and quarantine out of consideration for your students and coworkers. Remember that quarantine means staying home for 14 days with the option to test out on day 7 by obtaining a PCR COVID-19 test.

While fully vaccinated households may gather, you may only gather with one unvaccinated household and must wear masks and socially distance from one another. Unvaccinated households from out of state must quarantine prior to coming to Vermont or upon arrival.

Key Points to remember:

  • Households with children are NOT considered fully vaccinated as the state has not yet offered the vaccine to people under 50.

  • If you gather with people from more than one unvaccinated household, or with someone who is at higher risk of severe COVID-19 or lives with someone at higher risk, everyone should wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart.

With Appreciation,

Kristy Pillsbury, RN and Lindy Perry, RN

NCSU COVID Co-Coordinators

March 31, 2021

CVS TO SWITCH TO REMOTE LEARNING

Dear Coventry Village School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at Coventry Village School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of communicating with families regarding students who are considered close contacts. Given the number of positive cases at CVS in recent days, we’ve determined that it is most prudent to switch to remote learning. Mr. Rohlen and teachers will be in touch with families regarding specific plans for remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 26. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 30, 2021

An important message for Lowell graded school families

Dear Lowell Graded School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that a staff member at Lowell Graded School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of communicating with families regarding students who are considered close contacts. The K-1 classroom will switch to remote learning for the remainder of this week. Ms. Gagner or teachers will be in touch with K-1 families regarding specific plans for remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 26. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 27, 2021

An important message for coventry village school families

Dear Coventry Village School Families,

I am writing to let you know we were informed that an individual at Coventry Village School tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of communicating with families regarding students who are considered close contacts. Kindergarten will switch to remote learning next week. Mr. Rohlen or teachers will be in touch with K families regarding specific plans for remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 25. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community, and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 26, 2021

Important Message For Troy Elementary School Families

Dear Troy School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at the Troy School tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and identify those who may be considered close contacts. School administrators have made contact with those individuals.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on Monday, March 22. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 26, 2021

Important Message For NCUHS Families, Students, and Staff

Dear North Country Union High School Families,


I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two students and a staff member at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess this situation and consider those who may be considered close contacts. School administrators have made contact with those individuals. Given when these cases occurred, and the limited number of close contacts involved, we are still moving forward with a return to in-person learning on Monday, March 29.


It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on March 18. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.


We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.


At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.


I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.


If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 25, 2021

iMPORTANT iNFORMATION FOR COVENTRY VILLAGE SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear Coventry Village School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two individuals at Coventry Village School have tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of communicating with families regarding students who are considered close contacts. Grade seven will pivot to remote learning for the remainder of this week and grade six will begin remote learning tomorrow and continue into part of next week. Mr. Rohlen or teachers will be in touch with you regarding specific plans for remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential days for exposure at school occurred on March 18 and 22. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community and recent cases at schools, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 21, 2021

NCUJHS TO GO reMOTE

Good Morning North Country Union Jr. High School Families and Staff,

As you know, yesterday I informed the NCSU school-community that Derby Elementary and NCUHS & Career Center would switch to remote learning next week. Based on two positive cases and a high number of close contacts, we made the determination to pivot to remote learning at the Junior High for next week as well.

Nicole Corbett will be in touch with staff, students and parents later today to provide more details regarding the plans for remote learning. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this challenging situation.

Be well,

John A. Castle


NCSU Superintendent of Schools



March 20, 2021

aN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL NCSU FAMILIES, STAFF, AND STUDENTS

Good Evening,

I am reaching out to families, staff, and board members this evening to provide important information regarding our emerging COVID context.

As most of you likely know, we’ve been experiencing a substantial increase in positive cases in Orleans Country over the past week or more. Understandably, the increase in community transmission of the virus inevitably results in more positive cases in schools.

Given the number of cases, for both students and staff, we’ve experienced over the past week at both Derby Elementary School and North Country Union High School & Career Center, we have determined that it is most prudent to switch to remote instruction for both of those schools next week. We will continue to work closely with the Vermont Department of Health to monitor our status across the supervisory union. We are not considering closing any other schools at this time, but we all must recognize how fluid this situation is across our extended school-community and things can change quickly.

As has been the case since our return to school this past fall, we are first and foremost concerned with the health and wellbeing of our staff, students and families. I believe our schools have done an exceptional job ensuring schools are safe and navigating positive cases when they have occurred. Given the high number of cases in recent days, we are concerned about the potential for transmission within schools. Hence, our rationale for pivoting to remote learning for Derby and all remote for the high school and career center instead of the hybrid we’ve been in since the start of the year.

It is extremely important for everyone across our school-community to maintain all necessary precautions to mitigate the virus. We are optimistic that access to vaccines for school staff, and eventually all adults across our State, will greatly diminish the presence of the virus. However, we must recognize that it will take a while for that to happen, and children below the age of 16 will not be vaccinated for still some time. We must continue to make good decisions regarding social interactions and persist with the practices of wearing masks, washing hands, and physical distancing. Our schools are committed to continuing to implement all guidelines established by the Vermont Department of Health and Department of Education. We need the help of families and community members to keep schools safe, healthy and open for in-person learning.

We’ve done so well this year! Thank you for all your continued efforts to support our students’ learning and to support each other!

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns.

Be well!

John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools

March 19, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR NCUHS FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two staff members at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. No students were identified as close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Friday, March 12, Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 19, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR NCU JunioR HIGH SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union Jr. High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at NCUJHS has tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and we are worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We identified those individuals who are considered close contacts and they were informed.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Monday, March 15. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of the individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts to limit the spread of the virus. We know there is currently a high level of transmission in our community and subsequently have seen more cases in schools.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 18, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR DERBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear Derby Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two individuals at Derby Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and we are worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We will have a first-grade classroom and a fifth-grade classroom pivot to remote learning next week.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 16. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community and recent cases at school, we remind families of the importance of maintaining all practices to limit the transmission of the virus. We cannot directly attribute any of our recent cases to transmission in school.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 17, 2021

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR DERBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear Derby Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that a staff member at Derby Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. Our Response Team met and we are worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are fortunate that there were only two individuals who were considered close contacts. There will be no change to in-person learning at school.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential day for exposure at school occurred on March 10. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Given the level of cases in our community and recent cases at school, we remind families of the importance to maintain all practices to limit the transmission of the virus.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 16, 2021

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that a staff member at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are fortunate that we did not identify any staff or students who are considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 15, 2021

Dear North Country Union High School Families

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two staff members at NCUHS tested positive for COVID-19. Our response team met and worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are fortunate that we did not identify any staff or students who are considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on Friday, March 12. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available.

I know news of positive cases in NCSU schools and in Orleans County is a cause for concern. We are following the Vermont Department of Health guidelines and feel confident we will navigate this process successfully together. I appreciate that NCUHS continues to do such a great job implementing all the necessary procedures to limit transmission of the virus. We encourage families to remain vigilant in your efforts.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 14, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE for DERBY, NCUJHS and JAY-WESTFIELD FAMILIES

Dear Derby Elementary, NCUJHS and Jay-Westfield Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that a staff member at Derby Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. We were also informed that an individual at NCUJHS and an individual at JWJES have tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on March 10, 11 and 12. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools


March 12, 2021

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR dERBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FAMILIES

Dear Derby Elementary School FamilIes,


I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at Derby Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of identifying those individuals who are considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Friday, March 5; Tuesday, March 9; and Wednesday, March 10. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of test or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 9, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ncuhs FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at NCUHS has tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of identifying those individuals who are considered close contacts.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the potential for exposure at school occurred on Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

March 2, 2021

WeLCOME Back from Winter Break

March 2, 2021

Dear NCSU Staff, Students and Families,

I hope that folks have had a good winter break—certainly today reminded us that winter is far from over! It is hard to believe we are soon approaching the one-year anniversary of schools going into our emergency remote learning phase that remained in place for the remainder of last year. Although we’ve had some challenges over the past several months, I believe we’ve managed to navigate our COVID context fairly well all things considered. Thanks to everyone!

I’m reaching out to everyone today to share some information and encourage our continued collective efforts. We’ve done well, yet need to insure we stay the course to make the remainder of the school year as successful for everyone as possible.

After responding to a number of positive cases from late October to early December, we had no cases for over a month. We also did not experience any spike after Thanksgiving or our December Holiday break. We’ve now had a total of 10 staff cases and 13 student cases where individuals were infectious at school. We have had approximately another 8 to 10 cases where staff or students tested positive but were not at school while infectious. So far there have been no cases that we can directly attribute to transmission within schools. Although all of these cases should be cause for concern for those individuals impacted and the health of all across our school-community, we have done well to navigate the various challenges associated with positive cases in schools.

I greatly appreciate the efforts of our Co-COVID Coordinators Lindy Perry and Kirsty Pillsbury for all their support. Principals have been very responsive with each situation as well as our response team that includes additional personnel at Central Office. We also appreciate the support of all personnel at the Vermont Department of Health and especially those from the local field office.

We are starting to see some positive signs in Vermont. Daily COVID cases have begun to trend lower, and we are finally seeing increased access to vaccines across the state. Today, it was announced that school staff will be eligible for vaccines beginning next week. We are hopeful that physical distancing requirements may be revised to allow schools currently using a hybrid approach to potentially move to in-person learning.

It is important that we all remain vigilant in our efforts through the remainder of the year. Most importantly, we want to continue to decrease the chances of transmission of the virus and to keep people healthy. Therefore, it is important that staff and families still comply with the travel restrictions in place and follow all our current guidelines around wearing masks, physical distancing and handwashing/sanitizing. We want to maintain in-person instruction to the fullest extent possible without disruption.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts to support good health and learning opportunities for students so far this year. …like winter, unfortunately the pandemic is not over and we still need to take necessary measures each and every day to be safe and healthy. …each day we have a bit more daylight, warmer days and hope that we’ll return to better days ahead.

Be well!

John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools


MARCH 12, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR DERBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FAMILIES


January 29, 2021

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR NCUHS/NCCC AND NCUJHS COMMUNITY

Dear NCUHS/NCCC & NCUJHS Staff and Families,

I am writing to update you on our evolving COVID situation at NCUHS/NCCC and NCUJHS. As you know, just yesterday we shared with you that two employees at NCUHS & NCUJHS tested positive. In addition, we informed you that we moved to remote instruction due to having a number of bus drivers unavailable. Unfortunately, I must inform you that four of our drivers have tested positive for COVID-19 and several others are awaiting results. Regardless, all drivers are considered close contacts at this time. Subsequently, none of our drivers will be able to drive for at least some of next week, and likely through the entire week. Therefore, NCUHS/NCCC and NCUJHS will remain in remote instruction through Friday, February 5.

Our COVID Response Team is working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to respond to this situation. We are in the process of identifying those individuals who are considered close contacts. Close contact does not mean being on the same bus or passing someone while boarding or unloading. Close contact on a bus is determined by those who are immediately in front, in back, or in adjacent seats to the infected person. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been on the busses of drivers who have tested positive.

Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted to students in this situation. We are confident that there is a very limited risk that students were exposed. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential and still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for our bus drivers, all who may be impacted by this virus in some way. Their health and wellness is our most pressing concern right now. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. Building administrators will be providing more information regarding plans for remote instruction next week. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact school personnel or me directly.


Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

January 28, 2021

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR NCUHS/NCCC AND NCUJHS FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School/NCCC and NCUJHS Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that two employees at NCUHS & NCUJHS have tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met afternoon and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We are in the process of identifying those individuals who are considered close contacts. As you know, we made the determination to pivot to remote learning for today and tomorrow, Friday, January 29. This decision was in part due to our COVID cases and also due to limited availability of bus drivers for both schools.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individuals who have tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of test or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. These new cases do not appear to be related to the cases at NCUHS/NCCC last week. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools


December 21, 2020

Holiday Greetings to NCSU Staff, FAmilies and Board Members

Dear NCSU Staff, Families and Board Members,

Many thanks to everyone for your continued perseverance and commitment to caring for one another through these challenging times. I believe we’ve collectively done very well to keep our schools healthy and open for in-person learning. I greatly appreciate everyone’s hard work, sacrifices, and care for students and each other.

The practices we have in place enabled us to successfully maintain in-person learning over the past four months. We recognize the disruption and increased concern regarding the health and wellbeing for staff and students that we experience with a positive case. We remain fortunate that we do not have any evidence that the virus has been transmitted within a school setting thus far. Nonetheless, we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep the virus at bay. We are all hopeful that the vaccines that are now being distributed will eventually be the turning point to suppressing the virus and helping us return to normal.

However, we must recognize the next several months will continue to present difficulties for families and our schools. We must remain prepared for “going remote” for classrooms or “pods”, school and even our supervisory union due to positive cases in schools. We also could be compelled to go remote due to staffing shortages. Although we are committed to in-person learning, we will continue to monitor and assess the ever-changing situation and switch to remote learning in the interest of staff and student wellbeing if deemed necessary. We must stay the course of all our efforts to ensure public health.

Many of you are no doubt struggling with the decision around travel and family gatherings over the upcoming Holiday break, as was the case with Thanksgiving. We highly encourage families and staff alike to avoid discretionary travel. We expect that everyone will continue to adhere to quarantine guidelines related to interstate travel.

We fully understand spending time with family during Holidays is so important to everyone. Nonetheless, we all need to be mindful of the potential for transmission of the virus within social gatherings. The health risks of the virus are serious, and we all must continue to make tough choices to minimize the risk of transmission. While we support the Governor’s order, we will maintain our practice of not asking staff or students about social gatherings as it is not required.

Likely, many of you are aware of other school districts that have made the preemptive decision to “go remote” after break for a period of time. Simply, the data on community spread, school cases and no evidence of transmission in schools does not support doing so. It does not seem prudent for us to go remote to suggest that it would allow staff and students to quarantine since that is in direct opposition to the Governors orders. As stated previously, in my letter before Thanksgiving, shifting to remote learning presents many other challenges and limitations to learning. We are hopeful that we will not see large numbers of staff and students quarantining after break.

Please know that we recognize that families are doing their part to stay healthy and limit the risk of transmission at school. We know staff are making great sacrifices to not travel or see family in order to keep our schools open for in-person instruction. We know maintaining in-person learning asks a lot from all of you. We hope you will make careful and considerate choices in the weeks to come that will allow schools to stay open and keep everyone healthy. Our independent and collective decisions do make a difference in the health and wellbeing of others.

I am truly thankful for the hard work and dedication of our staff in the interest of students’ health and learning, along with the continued support of families as we navigate these challenging times together. Thank you for caring about and caring for each other.

Happy Holidays,

John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools


December 10, 2020

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR NCCC/NCUHS FAMILIES

Dear North Country Union High School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we were informed that an individual at NCUHS/NCCC has tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met this afternoon and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. The individual was not at the high school while infectious, and we have identified those individuals at the Career Center who are considered close contacts. We will make arrangements for any specific classes to pivot to remote learning.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with the infected individual in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on Monday, December 7. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts yet may have been in the same space with the individual who has tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of test or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

December 7, 2020

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR NCSU FAMILIES

Dear NCSU Families,


Thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate the ongoing challenges of this pandemic. We recognize that, as we’ve seen an increase in cases in Vermont, the NEK, and our communities, the impact of the virus has been felt by many of you. I’m writing to you today to provide some important updates and clarifications. Please do not hesitate to contact your school principal or me directly if you have questions.


Happy Holidays and Be Well!


John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools



NOT INFECTIOUS WHILE AT SCHOOL: We’ve had a couple of situations where either a staff member or student tested positive but were never infectious while at school. Based on our guidance from the Vermont Department of Health, these are cases that have no direct impact on schools, thus we will not be reporting these cases to the school community.


REPORTING ON SCHOOL CASES: We inform staff and families anytime a school has a positive case and the individual was present at school while infectious. Based on our consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, school administrators call staff and parents of students deemed close contacts and we follow up with a quarantine letter. We are also providing communication with staff and families when an individual may have been exposed due to some proximity to an infected person, such as being in the same room or on the same bus. In this case, we send an “Exposure Letter” to those people who may be affected. We will continue to post the letter that goes to families on the NCSU website and Facebook page, in addition to individual school social media platforms. We are not sending an email or providing a SchoolMessenger message to those other than the specific affected school.


“GOING REMOTE”: We will continue to make specific determinations to have an individual classroom, “pod” (a group of classes), or school go remote based on the particular factors in each case. In our consideration of going remote across the supervisory union, we will monitor community spread, the number of school cases, and any evidence of transmission within our schools. At this time, we do not anticipate the Governor or Secretary of Education ordering all schools to close as they did last spring. Although there were some school districts in the State that preemptively went remote after the Thanksgiving holiday, and some are considering such after the upcoming Holiday/New Year break, NCSU is not planning to do so.


SNOW DAYS: There has been some consideration regarding eliminating snow days due to our ability to provide remote learning. We will not be doing so this year, as most schools still do not send devices home daily, and we are concerned about limited productivity on these days. Loss of wages for support staff is another problem. Eliminating snow days is something we will consider in future years.

December 6, 2020

An Important Message for Derby Elementary School Families

Dear Derby Elementary School Families,

I am writing to let you know that we have been informed that an individual at Derby Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. Our COVID Response Team met this afternoon and we are working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to assess and respond to this situation. We have identified those individuals who are considered close contacts in a fifth grade classroom and other specific locations. We will make arrangements for that class to pivot to remote learning. There are no plans to move to remote instruction for the whole school.

It is the Vermont Department of Health that identifies those who may have been exposed to the virus. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while the person was infectious, which starts two days before symptoms began and continues until they are recovered. They will also consider someone a close contact if they have spent more than four hours with someone in the same space. Close contact does not mean being in the same room briefly or walking by someone in the hall. We know that the last potential for exposure at school occurred on Friday, December 4. This is important because it establishes the timeline for quarantining of close contacts. The school will inform staff and students if they are deemed a close contact. We will also inform those who are not close contacts, yet may have been in the same space with the individual who has tested positive. Due to medical privacy laws, we cannot provide any additional information about this case.

We are confident that there is a very limited risk that others were exposed. We still encourage families to monitor their students for COVID symptoms daily. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, loss of test or smell, vomiting, and diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their family physician, the Vermont Department of Health, and the school nurse. Thus far, we do not have evidence that the virus is being transmitted within school. However, we cannot rule that out as a potential, and we certainly know there is an increase in the prevalence of the virus in the community. We encourage families to be vigilant regarding best practices to limit the spread of the virus in social settings. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority.

At this time, we ask our community for compassion and understanding for all who may be impacted by this virus. Please do not speculate, ask, post on social media -- it is important to respect the privacy of individuals involved. We will communicate with you any additional information that becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

Superintendent of Schools

November 24, 2020

Message for NCSU Staff, Families and Board Members

November 24, 2020

Dear NCSU Staff, Families and Board Members,

First, please know I appreciate everyone’s continued commitment to caring for each other during this challenging time.

We were truly fortunate to have experienced such a limited presence of the virus in the NEK through the summer and early fall. Unfortunately, given the prevalence of the virus in other states, more tourism, travel by Vermonters, and perception that we could more freely engage in social gatherings, we are now seeing increased cases across the state, the NEK and our communities. I realize this has created much anxiety for everyone in our school-community. However, I remain confident that together we can get through this pandemic and still provide the best possible education for our children.

I firmly believe we have had a successful fall despite our many challenges. All of our pre-k to six and pre-k to eight schools, as well as NCUJHS, opened for in-person instruction and NCUHS is utilizing a hybrid model. We also have provided a range of virtual options. This was through an immense amount of careful planning that began last spring and concluded with contributions by everyone across our NCSU community. I greatly appreciate everyone’s hard work, sacrifices, and care for students and each other.

While no systems are absolutely perfect, the routines and practices we’ve developed and continue to refine for maintaining healthy schools serve us well. We know the anxiety and disruption of closing a school with a positive case is not limited to that school alone. I know everyone is doing their part to keep our families and our schools healthy. Thus far, we do not have any evidence that the virus has been transmitted within a school setting. Yet, we must remain vigilant.

As you are aware, throughout the early fall our school-community experienced low cases of COVID-19. We must not let down our guard, especially as we move into the winter months when we are all more confined to indoor spaces. We now understand that outbreaks are often related to social gatherings where we are less likely to follow the conventions of wearing masks, physical distancing or recommended practices for quarantine.

With the appearance of seasonal colds and flu, it could become increasingly difficult to keep up with absentee rates amongst staff given our COVID context. We must remain prepared for a responsive closure due to positive cases in schools. In addition, we cannot rule out the potential for a system-wide closure resulting from increased community spread and certainly if we experience transmission within schools. If we are forced to close due to various factors, we will do so knowing that we have done all we can to maintain in-person learning.

Many of you are no doubt considering traveling over the Thanksgiving and December breaks. I highly encourage families and staff alike to avoid discretionary travel over the holidays. Any time we travel we are increasing the chance of our exposure. We expect that everyone will continue to adhere to quarantine guidelines related to interstate travel.

I also encourage everyone to be mindful of the potential for transmission of the virus within social gatherings. I fully understand the desire to spend time with family that you’ve not seen in many months or perhaps even since last year during the holidays. The reality is we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic and the public health risks are real. While we are fortunate to live in Vermont and the NEK, we have seen that we are not risk-free. First and foremost, we want you, your family and our community members to remain healthy.

We are concerned that students may miss many days of school as a result of quarantine after Thanksgiving break. If we have a significant number of staff travelers in quarantine upon return, the resulting staff shortfalls could force us to close a school for some period of time. We would need to make up lost instructional days if schools closed due to staffing shortages. Even if schools were able to remain open with substitutes, which is increasingly difficult, we must recognize that this would result in diminished learning.

I’m sure many staff, students and parents have asked, “Why don’t we just go remote through the holidays?” It does seem like a simple answer, but it is a more complex issue. Shifting to remote learning imposes childcare challenges on many families. We also must consider the equity issues that come with remote learning: many of our families still have internet access issues, special education students have reduced access to services, and we disrupt access to school meals that are essential for many children. Also, there are support staff who will not be working in a remote situation and will suffer a loss of income. Finally, we recognize the lost benefits of in-person learning academically and social/emotionally.

If our schools are to remain open for in-person instruction, we all need to remain committed to best practices to mitigate the spread of the virus both in and out of school. I know this asks a lot from all of you who have sacrificed and given so much already. I hope you will make careful and considerate choices regarding your travel or social gatherings in the weeks to come. Our ability to support the health and wellbeing of everyone in our school-community is a result of our independent decisions—we truly are in this together! We all need to care about and care for each other.

I am truly thankful for all our staff do each day in the interest of students’ health and learning, along with the continued support of families as we navigate these challenging times together.

Happy Thanksgiving,

John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools

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VT AOE Guidance for Schools Related to Limits on Multi-Household Social Gatherings