Village School announces reopening plans

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NORTH BENNINGTON — The Village School of North Bennington on Wednesday announced its reopening plans for the fall, when it will offer students a combination of in-classroom and distance instruction.

The school said it plans to open with either of the following models:- A hybrid model in which students will be split into two groups with two days in school, two days distance learning, and everyone distance learning for one day; or

- A model in which everyone will be in school at the same time four days a week with enhanced physical distancing, and a fifth day of distance learning for all students. Off-campus classroom extension sites may be utilized around the village for this model.

"VSNB has been working diligently on reopening plans for this fall. The school is committed to working in partnership with our students and their families, and to being as flexible as possible throughout the year in adapting our models of learning in response to the corona virus as needed," the school said in a release.

"VSNB is following the data that shows if it can be done safely, opening the school is the very best option for our children — socially, emotionally and academically — as well as for families. The Village School is following the guidance of the Vermont Agency of Education's "'A Strong and Healthy Start,'" the school said.

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The AOE has given local schools three options to choose among: Phase 1, online instruction only; Phase 2, in-person instruction with enhanced physical distancing, and Phase 3, in-person instruction with less strict distancing measures.

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The option chosen by VSNB is Phase 2.

All models will include core academic subjects along with music, art and physical education. Each student will be issued a digital device along with any other supplies necessary for distance learning. In addition, VSNB will leverage outdoor opportunities whenever possible to create social distance and enhance student and staff wellbeing, the school said.

VSNB said it will offer a distance learning-only option if the in-person option is not medically advised or does not feel safe for a student or family.

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In order to open school safely in-person, VSNB is following rules and guidance from the AOE, the Vermont Department of Health, the CDC and Vermont's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These measures include: hand washing and/or hand sanitizing for all required periodically throughout the day; all students and staff will be required to wear facial coverings at school; daily health screening questions and temperature checks will be required for everyone before entering the building; and students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.

In addition, regular deep cleaning and disinfection of the building will be in adherence to current CDC and VOSHA standards.

While school will look different this year with new procedures and routines in place, Head of School Tim Newbold said, "We at the Village School are working thoughtfully to make our environment and messaging to students welcoming and friendly, and to do our best to support everyone's needs as best as possible and in developmentally appropriate ways. Our priorities will continue to be the health and social-emotional wellness of the community and a substantive and high-quality educational program."

SVNB said it expects registration to open on Aug. 7, and school to start on Wednesday, Sept. 8. For more detailed information on the Village School of North Bennington and reopening plans, registration and guidelines, visit vsnb.org or call 802 442-5955.


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