Update to Academy Families — October 4, 2021

Bell tower an flag
October 4, 2021

Dear St. Johnsbury Academy Families,


Friday was our annual Walk for Hunger, when we recognize the need to care for each other by stocking our local food shelf. Lining Colby Hall is an amazing number of cans, boxes, bags, and jars of quality food that will go to families who need it. I am so proud of our team, advisors and their advisory groups, and all who have made this happen.


This was followed by a chilly but well-attended Fall Festival on Stowe Green, where faculty members who shall remain nameless (Robillard, Hale, Roberts…) were delighted to take a dip in the dunk tank; former art teacher Larry Golden drew caricatures, faces were painted, games were played. Many thanks to Shane Lacroix, Annie Angell, Jack Driscoll, Campus Life, Student Gov, and the many members of the CTE department who pitched in to make this a great afternoon. 


It was also Trustee weekend here at SJA, so many of our Board members were here on campus to meet and do the careful work of stewardship of this school about which they care so deeply. I am grateful to them and was proud to be able to report the many ways this school is banding together right now to be a place of opportunity, health, and many kinds of learning for our students. 


There are many things that might divide us right now, but I know we all can agree that these young people need and deserve our best efforts. We are so lucky to have them here, they bring us so much joy, and even when they are challenging (that is perhaps their job), we are always hopeful on their behalf. Thank you for sharing your students with us, and for letting us be a part of this most critical time in their lives. It’s a privilege to help them and to see them grow. We hope you all received and were able to review the interim grades for your students last week, and that they helped you understand their academic progress and address any issues—please always be in touch with teachers if you have questions; they are also eager to partner with you. 


Just a few other brief updates for you today:


  • Our Fall Long Weekend is Friday, October 8th through Monday, October 11th. These are in-service days for teachers, and days off for students.


  • The Vermont AoE has extended their indoor mask recommendation for schools through November 1st. They are forecasting a potential requirement for regular testing to participate in winter sports—please stay tuned on that.


  • ID Cards: New students should have received their ID badges from their advisors last week—please be sure that they bring them to school so they can access buildings, which will be locked this week, and swipe for lunch. If you have questions about the IDs, please contact the Campus Life Office.


  • Please be sure to take a look at our weekly newsletter which highlights upcoming events and also student achievements—like Senior Maddie Hurlbert’s excellent chapel talk on feminism last week.


  • Finally, from the COVID Response Team and Health Center Director Sarah Garey, a link to a helpful resource from University of Vermont Children’s Hospital—a COVID Response flow chart that breaks down the steps when you or your child is identified as a close contact, clarifies what you should do and when you should do it. 


Please enjoy the beautiful fall weather this week, everyone, and please never hesitate to be in touch with me.


Dr. Sharon Howell


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