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COVID-19 Updates for EHS Fall Reopening

September 3, 2020

Dear Students and families,

Students, guardians and parents now have access to view students’ schedules for the 20-21 school year.  

Students and families can view the schedule using the PowerSchool link on the EHS Home webpage.  If students or families have forgotten their log-in information, they must contact the EWSD Helpdesk by email at or by phone at 857-7777.

First Day of School:  We will not be printing schedules for students to pick up on the first day of school.  Students should take a picture of their schedule, draw a picture of their schedule in their notebook, use their chromebook as the way to view their schedule, or write down a list of their classes, including room numbers, and teacher names.

Schedule Errors: School counselors will be making schedule corrections.  Students: if there is an error with your schedule, please contact your school counselor by email, email addresses are listed below.  You may also call your school counselor by dialing 802-857-7111.

Add-Drop:  We will not have in-person meetings in the school counseling office for add/drop.  If students wish to request a schedule change, they need to email their school counselor and cc their parent or guardian.  School counselors will honor requests for schedule changes from students that are received before 7:59 AM on Tuesday September 15th.  Any email request for a schedule change after 8:00 AM on Tuesday September 15th will be too late. A sample email is outlined below.  Students may also call 802-857-7111 before the deadline.  We will look to see if the change can be made, but it is important for students and families to know that many schedule change requests will not be possible.  It is important that the student takes ownership of this process and makes the initial contact with their school counselor.

The school counselors want everyone to have the best year possible.  We offer personal, academic, and college and career counseling for students and support the school community in many ways.  We look forward to seeing all of our students again soon!

Thank you,

EHS School Counselors

Andrew Roy (

Ben Skoglund (

Caity Katz (

Jon Moore (

Maeve Murphy (

Nicole Gillis (

Siobhan Barber (

Email sample

To: (add your school counselors’ email here)

CC: (add parent or guardian email here)

Subject: Add/drop request

Dear school counselor,

I would like to add a class during my 3rd period 1st quarter study hall.  Can we please set up a time to use Google Meet on my remote learning day to talk about my options?


I have decided that I want to change my schedule because my career interests have changed.  I want to add (insert class here).  Can we please set up a time to use Google Meet on my remote learning day to talk about my options?

Thank you,

(Student name here)

August 27, 2020

Dear Families, 
We are days away from the start of school.  There may be families moving into our region/state and families who have been on vacation or traveling. In accordance with the state guidance on travel restrictions during Covid, if your student has not been in Vermont for 14 days prior to school starting, we ask that they do not come to the school building. They should access remote learning until they have been here 14 days and Covid symptom free. If you are unsure if this applies to your situation, please contact the school nurses via email or by phone at 857-7788.  
Your student can email their teachers and guidance counselor to inform them of how many days need to be missed and work with teachers regarding accessing missed instruction online.
Thank you, 
Tamara Parks and Donald Van Nostrand, Co-Principals 

August 12, 2020

Dear Hornet Students and Families:

We wanted to drop a quick note with updates for our COVID-19 school year preparations. Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to navigate this work. 

Here is some information we know as of today which we hope you’ll find useful:

Scheduling and Cohorts

  • We are working on assigning students to cohorts so everyone knows which days you’ll be on site. This includes working across the EWSD to have as much coordination as possible. Families will be notified as to which cohort their student is in within this coming week.

  • Director of School Counseling Andrew Roy has been working hard to convert the A/B schedule to a 4x4 model. We will be performing the first “run” in PowerSchool on August 13 and 14 and expect student schedules to be released by the last week of August.  Teacher Leader Ben Skoglund is working with counselors, admin, and other teacher leaders to finalize the fall add/drop procedure. 


  • Students receiving special education support on their current B day schedule will still receive support this fall. It will be integrated into the first semester. 

  • AP teachers and CCL’s have collaborated with the team to determine the most effective schedule for AP courses. The teachers’ thoughtful and creative vision is being worked into the master schedule. 

  • We worked with teacher leaders to make clear instructional guidelines for this year. All staff will have access to these instructional guidelines for remote and hybrid teaching and learning for the 2020-2021 COVID-19 school year to ensure the best possible learning experience for all students.

 Safety & Support

  • We are modeling the management of staff and student entrancing to the building and the plan will be shared when it’s finalized. This will include a temperature check each day. 

  • The safety team is working on what emergency drills and response will look like in a COVID-19 situation.


  • Due to safety restrictions, Essex High School cannot be a host site for the August 29th SAT test.  This week Educational Testing Services also stated we were not permitted to only test EHS students at our site on August 29th. EHS will now offer the SAT’s to seniors on September 23.  More information to follow.

  • Fall sports guidance came out yesterday. We are unpacking what that means for EHS. More info to follow.

For questions:


We’re looking forward to the start of a new school year!

Tamara Parks & Don Van Nostrand


August 4, 2020

Dear Hornet Families and Students,

August is here! We are excited for the beginning of a new school year and looking forward to getting to know everyone very soon.  Thank you to all who were able to provide feedback in some manner or another as we adjust our approach this fall in order to give the best opportunity of success for all our students. We understand that whichever approach we choose will not be perfect, and that by working together we can try to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on student learning.


Thank you to all who filled out the questionnaire. Based on the tremendous input from families, teachers, and students and the many safety parameters we are navigating, we have decided to go with Model 2, the model that is most similar to normal school. As you prepare for this coming school year, please know we are working hard towards a safe return to the school building. 


The 2020-2021 school year will also be shifted to a 4 x 4 block schedule so students and teachers are not overwhelmed in managing all courses at one time. Students will have up to four classes in the fall semester, and another four classes in the spring semester. Last Spring, many students struggled to maintain effective learning with so many classes. Additionally, given the start of the school year in the hybrid model, utilizing a 4 x 4 approach will potentially reduce the number of students for faculty, producing better opportunities for teachers to develop outstanding curriculum and maintain important relationships with every student. We are working closely with our AP teachers and Content Leaders as well as other groups of teachers to adjust instruction when necessary to address some of your concerns. Next week, we meet in focus groups for members of the EHS community to come and talk with us about their concerns and ideas for adjusting to this “new normal”. 


When students are on campus as part of the hybrid model, either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday, they will follow their regular class schedule (you may recall this as being “Model 2” in the recent questionnaire). This will allow students to have in-person time with their teachers and some classmates on a regular basis. The Counseling Department, under the direction of Director Andrew Roy, is hard at work making sure every student schedule is meaningful and challenging.


Click this link to see a slideshow with additional information regarding the COVID-19 school year model. Additionally, we created a video to talk through the slide show, hoping to provide a clear picture of the fall. While this is not Essex High School as we typically know it, we are confident that this model will ensure students receive much of the rigorous and expansive programming students and families are accustomed to.


Now that families are aware of the COVID-19 school year, along with updating the master schedule our next steps include finalizing the procedures for staff and students entering the building, managing an efficient parking and drop-off process, and designing the safest travel routes in the building including supporting one-way directional hallway travel. More information will be coming regarding these and many other things we’re working on for a safe and effective opening of the school year.


School starts September 8. We are looking forward to meeting students and families and to a great school year! Thank you for your continued patience and support.  


Tamara Parks & Don Van Nostrand


August 1, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

It has been quite a month. Essex High School and the world are going through an unprecedented time, and we greatly appreciate your understanding and flexibility as the situation is continually changing. 

We recognize that many of you are dealing with a lot of stress associated with not only changes in leadership but also the necessary changes to the instructional model due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Some of you may be dealing with additional responsibilities at home such as caring for loved ones, a lack of resources, and some also have health challenges among other things. 

As we all prepare to navigate the days ahead, we want to take a moment to make sure that in this extraordinarily demanding and stressful time you are taking care of yourself, specifically as it relates to your emotional well-being. It can be overwhelming to experience all these changes while making very difficult decisions relating to COVID-19. We recognize that any type of change can be hard, and we are preparing to be able to support you in this transition when we return to school.


Here are some documents that may be helpful:


We are incredibly grateful for your feedback and support during this challenging time. It’s also really exciting to think we will meet you in person very soon. We are already thinking about all the wonderful things we will work on once COVID19 has passed and we can celebrate having full access to all the wonderful things that make Essex High School so special. 

Please reach out to the Communications Coordinator,, with any questions you may have. 


Your Leadership Team
(Tamara Parks, Don Van Nostrand, Andrew Roy, Tom Carlson, Colleen Birner, Dennis Hill and Jeff Goodrich)