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In this file photo from March, Pownal Elementary School principal Todd Phillips greets families outside the school. On Sunday, the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union made the decision for all schools to go fully remote for the week of November 30.

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BENNINGTON — In a last-minute change, the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union has made the decision to go fully remote for the next week.

Posted on the SVSU website late Sunday afternoon, the notice of the change comes after Gov. Phil Scott signed an executive order prohibiting multi-household social gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday. Schools were told that students would have to quarantine themselves if they had attended a large holiday gathering.

“Our priority is and always has been the safety of our students and staff. As we continue to implement the guidelines outlined in Addendum 8 of Governor Scott’s Executive Order prohibiting multi-household social gatherings, and to ensure that we have adequate staff to support in-person instruction, the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union will be moving to remote learning from November 30-December 4,” says the notice on the district’s website.

The change is not related to any active COVID-19 cases in the district.

The notice says that the district will reassess the situation at the end of the week, allowing the community the opportunity to see if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases following any gatherings which may have happened during the break.

“The decision is a superintendent decision which was made using available staff data and consultation with SVSU administrators and school principals,” said SVSU superintendent James Culkeen in a statement.

Freshmen at Mount Anthony Union High School were scheduled to start their hybrid schedule this week, but with the change, that will be pushed back until further notice.

There will be no School Care on Monday. SVSU said that more information on School Care will be released later in the day on Monday.

Students are asked to visit their assigned Google Classroom or SEESAW account for directions at the start of the regular school day hours.

Meals will be available for pickup at Mount Anthony Union Middle School and delivered via modified van routes as normal.

There had been some criticism of Scott’s order, requiring schools to ask students if they had been part of a multi-family gathering. But with SVSU going remote, they aren’t required to do so.

“We don’t have to screen the students if they aren’t physically coming to school,” said SVSU public information coordinator Katie West in a text message on Sunday. “So we won’t be asking about the multi-[family] situation.”

During the Scott administration’s twice-weekly COVID-19 briefing on Friday, Secretary of Education Daniel French said that some school districts had questioned the governor’s policy.

But French said some schools were concerned about their role in implementing the policy, and expressed those concerns when it was handed down by the Agency of Education.

Adam Samrov can be reached at asamrov@benningtonbanner.com or on Twitter @banner_sports.

Adam Samrov is the sports editor and part-time news reporter for the Bennington Banner. He has been at the Banner since 2008 and sports editor since 2010. He can be reached at asamrov@benningtonbanner.com


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