EWSD Plan for Safe Return to School - Updated 03.28.22

  • The Vermont Department of Health has updated its guidelines to reflect the decrease of COVID-19 cases in our community. This update allows our schools to simplify our testing procedures. It also gives new guidelines for isolation and quarantine for those who test positive or are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. 


    EWSD schools are open for in-person instruction.  All after-school programs, activities, and sports are operating normally. 


    The EWSD will continue to centrally source, receive, inventory, and distribute essential materials and supplies necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will: 

    • Maximize outdoor air 
    • Increase HVAC filter efficiency
    • Supplement with portable air purifying
    • Emphasize cleaning and disinfection protocols 


    Prevention Reminders:

    • Stay home if you’re sick 
    • Check for symptoms regularly
    • Practice hand hygiene with frequent and thorough hand washing/sanitizing
    • Wear a face covering if you choose or if you have symptoms


    Masking Optional

    Masks are optional as of Monday, March 7. This will be in effect at all EWSD schools PreK through 12 and on our school buses. 


    The rationale for this decision and timeline is as follows:

    At the Governor’s press conference yesterday (March 3), the Vermont Agency of Education informed the public that they are transitioning from school-specific COVID-19 prevention and mitigation recommendations to general health guidance for all Vermonters. This means that schools will no longer have different rules or recommendations than the general public. Also, the VT AOE, stated that optional masking is no longer associated with vaccination rates.


    The CDC is now making COVID-19 recommendations based on “Community Levels.” Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Chittenden County is classified as medium, which means that the CDC no longer recommends universal indoor mask-wearing in PreK-12 and early education settings.


    Both CDC and State officials have stressed that at this stage in the pandemic, universal masking is no longer necessary from a risk perspective. The decision to mask has shifted to an individual level and should be based on specific circumstances and risks. 


    We want our students, families, and staff to know how important it is to respect one’s personal choice to mask. We ask families to help make this message clear. Please have conversations with your children to support their respect and kindness towards others' choices, whether to wear a mask or not. 


    We stress the importance of staying home when sick. Anyone with symptoms should not come to school.

    If you test positive for the COVID virus:

    Stay home and isolate for five days


    You can leave your home after five days if your symptoms have improved AND you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fever.


    It is recommended they undergo COVID testing. If COVID testing is not done, the individual may return to school if their symptoms have improved, there is no diarrhea/vomiting for 24 hours or longer, and they have been fever-free for 24+ hours without the use of medication.


    If symptoms develop during the school day:

    With permission, a LAMP or rapid test will be administered in the school health office. If there is no consent, the individual will need to go home and remain out of school until symptoms have improved, there is no diarrhea/vomiting for 24 hours or longer, and they are fever-free for over  24 hours without the use of medication.


    If the test is positive, the individual will go home and follow the isolation guidelines for a positive test.

    If the test is negative but the student is unable to remain in school, the school nurse will consult with the staff member or parent/guardian regarding further testing and the return to school

    If an antigen or LAMP test is negative, symptoms are mild and can be attributed to another diagnosis, the individual may remain in school. This decision should be made by the school nurse.


    Close Contact Scenarios

    Please note the following important changes (as of 03.14.22): 

      • Fully Vaccinated Means
        • Had your booster shot OR
        • Completed your Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series within the last 5 months OR
        • Completed your Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months
      • Anything else is considered not fully vaccinated

    Message from the Vermont  Agency of Education:

    As of April 4, 2022, and as public health conditions in Vermont relative to COVID-19 continue to improve, the Staff Assurance Testing and Test at Home programs will be discontinued in Vermont schools. With the conclusion of these testing programs, staff and student households may be reminded that they can make an appointment at a State of Vermont testing site to obtain up to eight rapid antigen tests or one LAMP test per appointment for their use at home.


    Per the Vermont Department of Health, school nurses should continue to conduct diagnostic testing in school using LAMP or antigen tests. Schools can also make take-home antigen tests available to students, staff, and their households on an as-needed basis or at the clinical discretion of the school nurse, consistent with Health Department guidance.


    EWSD COVID-19 Communications