Update to Academy Families — May 14, 2021
Dear St. Johnsbury Academy Families,
As the end of the school year approaches, the prospect of opening the campus to programs this summer, and then opening as a full community in Fall 2021, is looking brighter than ever. I do want to be sure our community is clear about how these next three weeks will go given the movement in CDC guidance and other reopening moves across the country; and I’d like to update you on some of the things that are making us optimistic.
Vaccinations: children ages 12-15 are now eligible for the COVID vaccine, and we along with many schools are hosting a clinic on Wednesday, May 19th from 11am-6pm. This will be an open clinic that anyone from Vermont can sign up for, and if they are able to get the vaccine that day your child will be pre-scheduled to return to the Academy on 6/9/21 for their second dose. A card with the date and time will be provided after they receive their first dose. Please be in touch with Sarah Garey with any questions about the clinic.
Masks: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention made a surprise announcement on Thursday with new guidance about mask-wearing, specifically that masks would no longer be mandated for vaccinated individuals. We want to make sure folks know that this guidance does not apply to schools. We are hoping to make good progress in the coming weeks with vaccinating our students and all community members, but we are still requiring masks through the end of the year.
Summer Programs: I want to urge folks to go to the Summer Programs website for the most up to date information on what we’re offering which includes orientation and transition programs, enrichment, academics, and sports. Sign up for academic courses here: https://stjacademy.org/academic-opportunities-excellence/sja-summer-academic-session. Questions about summer programs to David Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2021 Rebuilding Planning: The AoE has promised some guidelines about reopening by the end of this month, but the big question I think people have is about being fully in person: We plan to start next year fully operational, open for all students, on campus, and as close to normal as possible. We are working to prepare ourselves for what we know we be a period of rebuilding and restoring everything from classes to culture to policies, but there is excitement in that, and I am convinced we will be a stronger institution because of it.
International Students: The State Department has announced an exception to travel restrictions for international students, so we are thrilled that it looks like we will be able to bring all of our wonderful boarding students back to campus in the fall. For more information please contact the Admissions Office.
Senior Prom and Graduation: We are delighted that we are going to be able to hold a Prom, with dancing, music, a parade, and fireworks, for our Seniors on Brantview Lawn on Saturday June 5th. Our outdoor Graduation plan also allows students to invite up to 4 guests to attend the ceremony on June 7th.
We just met as a full faculty and staff, and I was struck by just how wonderful it will be when we can start bringing the JOY to our daily rounds here at school. “The governor says we can dance” is not something I ever thought I’d say—but that is emblematic of the surreality of life during COVID. It captures the way our world was disrupted down to the way we move and inhabit spaces; how accustomed we’ve become to talking about these minutiae as part of our serious school business; and how we’ve realized how important those seeming minutiae are to our well-being. Dancing is a perfect example of one of these little things—it’s joyful, free movement that often involves socializing and even touching each other.
The joy with which the announcement about high school proms was greeted indicates how impoverished all of our experiences have been, and especially our school experience that depends so much on relationships, connections.
Brighter days are ahead—and the SJA campus is full of flowering trees and impossibly green grass. Thank you for helping your students stay focused as we head to the final weeks of school.
Take good care,
Dr. Sharon L. Howell