Gov. Phil Scott, 3-23-2020

Gov. Phil Scott addresses efforts Vermont is taking to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during a Monday press conference.

MONTPELIER — Governor Phil Scott directed schools to remain dismissed through the end of the 2019-20 school year Thursday evening.

Districts will close schools for in-person instruction and be required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. This extends the governor’s previous directive dismissing PreK-12 schools from March 18 to April 6.

In a statement, the governor’s office said the decision was made in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education. The governor’s order directs school districts to come up with plans for distance learning by April 13.

“The education of our students and the bonding and learning experiences they have at schools are tremendously important, so I fully appreciate the impact and difficulty of this decision,” said Scott. “I also recognize it will be challenging for some schools to implement remote learning through the end of the year. But I’m encouraged by the creativity I’ve seen from administrators, educators and parents already, which is why I know, together, they can rise to the occasion.”

Scott also noted that some school districts have also set up creative and critically needed programs to offer onsite care for their students whose parents are working on the frontlines in this response. “These educators and staff who are finding ways to support these families have been critical to our COVID-19 response efforts and I am so proud and appreciative of their hard work, creative can-do attitude and their willingness to step up in this moment of service. These educators, and the staff supporting them, represent the very best of our public education system.”

The Agency of Education will provide technical guidance to districts on how to implement continuity of learning plans by the end of the week, specifically looking to address challenges around equitable access to learning opportunities, education for students with disabilities, continuation of school meals, and school attendance and school calendar requirements.

The Department for Children and Families will also provide updated reimbursement provisions for providers who are not currently offering services and for providers who are delivering childcare through this health crisis.

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