RICHFORD — Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union switched to remote learning this week and Superintendent Lynn Cota is asking for the community’s help.
“This is a very difficult time for everyone and I know this is going to be challenging. In order to get this under control, we all need to work together. We can turn this around,” Cota said.
The district comprises schools in the towns of Enosburg, Richford, Berkshire, Bakersfield, Montgomery and Sheldon.
The decision to cancel in-person classes was made Friday afternoon. Cota said she was swamped with calls.
“I am anticipating large numbers of students and staff shortages for next week. Our hope is that the circumstance will improve and that’s where we need the community’s help. If you’re sick, stay home. If you have a family member that’s sick, stay home. Follow quarantine requirements. The big push is how we are going to work to stop the spread of this virus,” Cota said.
All classes switched to remote learning starting Monday, Feb. 15, and classes will be held on Zoom until Friday, Feb. 19. At that time, all schools will be closed for spring break and will return on March 3. Cota says that she’ll be spending her vacation with a close eye on numbers of COVID-19 cases.
“I will be spending vacation watching very closely. Our hope is that this circumstance will improve and that’s where we need the community’s help as well. The superintendent is encouraging everyone to get tested. She is also encouraging everyone to wear masks, avoid non-essential travel and maintain close contact with immediate family members only,” she said. “As the rest of the state is beginning to see declining positivity rates, we are seeing some of the highest infection rates in several of our towns and schools since the start of our pandemic. The spread of the virus has had cross-community and cross-school impact.”
Teachers and staff reacted with relief to the news.
“As a teacher, I am relieved to hear that our district has made the decision to go remote next week,” said Ashley Goodwin, a middle school teacher at Sheldon Elementary School.
As of Friday afternoon, the Vermont Department of Health reports 36 new cases of COVID-19 for the previous 24 hours, and 244 cases in the last 14 days.
“We need to ensure that our families in this community are safe. Please keep your circles small so we can get our students back in person!” said Goodwin.
“Go get tested. There are tons of testing sites. Encourage others to get tested. If over the next couple of weeks we all do this we can slow the spread of this virus,” said Cota.