To: Springfield School District Families
From: Zach McLaughlin
Re: District Updates
Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2021
As we start week two of the school year, here are some important updates on district operations.
Surveillance Testing: For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools — our COVID-19 testing program. This program is free for students and staff, and participation in the program is highly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. Although students who are vaccinated are less likely to spread or contract the virus, unvaccinated individuals are still at risk of exposure, and it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Students would only be able to participate with parent permission. At the moment, we are working with the state to finalize our testing dates. We currently anticipate that we would be testing each Thursday starting on September 30th with staff only. Our goal would be to start testing students on October 7th. You should get an email from us with more details soon.
Student Vaccines: As a district, we will be constantly reevaluating our COVID protocols. One key element that we want to understand is the number of students who are vaccinated. School will be sending out notices asking families to self-attest if a student has been vaccinated. In addition, schools will be looking to verify that attestation through documentation.
Not only will having vaccination information assist with school protocols, it will also determine if a student needs to quarantine after being a close contact. Under current Vermont Department of Health recommendations, vaccinated individuals who are close contacts do not need to quarantine. Instead, they need to monitor for COVID symptoms and get tested within 3-5 days of potential exposure.
Contact Tracing: It is the district’s responsibility to notify close contacts when exposure happens at school. Our district will also be treating all members of a household with a positive case as close contacts.
Substitute Teaching: The district continues to try to build up our ranks of substitute teachers. In line with that our pay rates for substitute teachers have changed to $110/day for non-licensed substitute teachers and $120/day for licensed teachers or substitutes with a four-year degree. For more information, reach out to human resources at 802-885-5127 or [email protected]
Budget Committee: This is a reminder that indications of interest for the Springfield School District budget committee are due by the end of the week. The budget committee is a great way to gain greater insight into district operations and to have your voice be heard. For more information go to: https://tinyurl.com/SSDBudgetCommittee
School Board conversation on race and gender issues: The school board is currently considering a resolution to limit discussions within the district concerning race and gender issues. If you would like to hear more and be part of that dialogue I encourage you to attend the school board meetings on September 23rd. We will be posting some additional information on this topic in advance of these meetings.
As part of that meeting on the 23rd, the high school administration will discuss the inclusion of an article on white supremacy culture as part of some summer curriculum conversations. SHS Assistant Principal Michael Ruppel developed a memo in response to the board’s inquiry. It provides great insight into the issue. It can be found here.
As we just recently passed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I was remembering the intense sense of uniformity of purpose and togetherness that came on the heels of the attack. I was living in Saint Louis at the time, and the sense of national unification was palpable. Now, we find ourselves under attack in a different way, and I hope we can draw on that experience to once again come together for the collective good.
Best to you and your families,
Dr. Zach McLaughlin
Superintendent of Schools