We have updated our COVID Operating Plan, which is now posted on the front page of our website. You’ll see the most recent changes highlighted in green font.
We have several more COVID cases today, this time affecting Braintree and Randolph Elementary schools. All folks considered close contacts have been communicated with and are following through on the guidance requirements. One class of students at Braintree will be transitioning to remote session – further, more specific information will be provided by the school to those affected. All other current district operations are unchanged. The number of cases in a district are closely tied to the level of COVID activity in the local communities; as you can guess, since our activity has been relatively high, the prevalence of the virus is likely high across Braintree, Brookfield, and Randolph.
Knowing this, I would ask our community members to take additional precautions over the next few weeks by curtailing activities that might lead to unnecessary exposure. For those who are willing, vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and to lower case rates, and vaccines are readily available at most local pharmacies.
The surveillance testing the district conducts every Tuesday has been instrumental in preventing the spread of COVID within our schools by identifying asymptomatic carriers so they can be asked to quarantine. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of the district’s students and staff are participating in this program. Given the rise in cases we’re seeing, it will take a concerted effort to reverse this trend, something surveillance testing can help with. Additionally, given the increased exposure risk to students planning to participate in the winter sports program, we strongly urge all potential winter athletes to opt in for weekly surveillance testing. To opt in, click on “Surveillance Testing” under the 2021 COVID OPERATING PLAN tab on the top of this page.
As a final thought, the district is fully committed to the Test to-Stay program once the state has the final logistics in place, but our ability to administer that program will be diminished if we have too many students needing testing each morning – it is not a system that can support large numbers. Like many districts, our staffing is limited, and we are already strained by the additional responsibilities of surveillance testing and contact tracing. The more we all do to reduce the current infection rate in our communities, the better able the schools will be to administer this new program when it comes online.
For previous Superintendent's messages click on the icon below.
The Orange Southwest School District serves students and families in the towns of Randolph, Braintree, and Brookfield, Vermont. Our three elementary schools provide services to students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Randolph Union High School serves students from grades seven through twelve; and the Randolph Technical Career Center provides technical education services for juniors and seniors from communities throughout Central Vermont.
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