Update to Academy Families — March 11, 2022
Dear St. Johnsbury Academy Families,
This has been a full and good week here at the Academy, even as we keep conscious of strife in the larger world. Yesterday the director of our Colwell Center for International Understanding, Glenn Ehrean, gave a presentation about the roots and dynamics of the conflict in Ukraine as a way to ground today’s Variety Day in support of the Ukrainian people. It looks like the fundraising today was extraordinary, and we will have a significant contribution to Save the Children, a large and effective organization providing relief and supplies to children such as those now at risk in this war.
This morning, Steve Jolliffe shared the story of his family’s ongoing connection with an alumna who lives in Kyiv and whose family is in hiding and in danger. Mr. Jolliffe reminded our students to stay conscious of the powerful community they have to be thankful for here at the Academy.
Then, also this morning, David Hale thanked the community and especially the basketball team for helping to create the tremendous surge of positive energy, and the shared experience of effort and difficulty, at their games last weekend. The feelings were particularly keen as we look to emerge from a difficult winter and anticipate being able to be together without masks very soon.
Many of you will have heard that the Agency of Education recently repealed all of their specific COVID guidance for K-12 schools in Vermont, and that means we will no longer be contact tracing or mandating masks here at school. We surveyed both students and faculty to understand their comfort level with returning maskless to gatherings in chapel and lunchtime, and based on their feedback, we have decided to take measured steps toward togetherness. Details on these steps and a few other reminders are below.
Starting Monday, March 14th, we can no longer require members of the student school community to wear masks. The state of Vermont still recommends masking indoors. We are urging everyone to make whatever choice they are comfortable with and to respect the choices of others as we make this shift. Here is our plan for the next three weeks of school:
March 14-March 18: We will continue to do what we have been doing (chapels Zoomed from advisories, lunch in classrooms) with optional masking.
March 21-March 25: We will allow those who wish to eat in the dining hall, while still allowing those who wish to return to classrooms with “go” boxes.
March 28-April 1: If all goes well with weeks 1 and 2, in this third week we will begin a class rotation in Fuller Hall for chapel, with 9th graders in South Church Hall each morning.
Reminder of how to proceed after a positive COVID Test: please see the chart here: What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19 | Vermont Department of Health
Also, a reminder that testing kits are still available at the Health Center if you need them–please stop by and pick them up while supplies last.
Virtual Meet the Coaches, Sunday, March 20, 7:00 PM: Additional info will be emailed to spring athletes and their families.
Virtual Meet the Teachers, Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1: Stay tuned for more details on registration.
Midterm Grades will come out the week of March 21st. Please encourage your students to apply themselves to their schoolwork and seek help when they need it. More information will follow from the Academic Office.
Thank you as always for your partnership and participation in the school community. Please always feel free to be in touch with thoughts and concerns, particularly as we make some shifts in our daily school life. Of course, the hope is that all of the changes to come—along with the spring that will allow us to be outdoors and open windows—will be positive, healthy, and welcome. Have a great weekend.
Dr. Sharon Howell