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ANWSD urges guideline compliance so in-person school can continue

It won’t take much to put us in a situation where it’s difficult for us to open.
— ANWSD Superintendent Sheila Soule

VERGENNES — Addison Northwest Superintendent Sheila Soule told the ANWSD board at its Nov. 16 meeting that the school district is taking steps to prepare for remote learning after the week-long Thanksgiving break, including sending internet devices home with students. 
Soule said administrators were also asking district teachers to follow state guidelines on traveling and avoiding large family and social gatherings over the holidays, noting the district is “short-staffed” when it comes to substitute teachers.
If too many teachers test positive for COVID-19 or have to quarantine, she said, ANWSD might not have enough staff to offer in-person education.
“It won’t take much to put us in a situation where it’s difficult for us to open,” Soule said. 
Other factors, of course, that could trigger a return to the remote learning of this past spring would be an increase of COVID-19 cases that could lead state officials ordering schools closed, or an outbreak in the district, she said. 
Soule said administrators are asking students and staff alike not only to follow COVID-19 protocols, but also to stay at home if they aren’t feeling well. 
“We’re really trying to monitor this Thanksgiving break,” Soule said. “We don’t want to make a tough call.”
In other non-budget business on Nov. 16, the ANWSD board:
•  Heard from Soule the district had decided that sports practices won’t start until Dec. 7. State guidelines for winter sports had suggested high school sports could start as early as Nov. 30. 
•  Were told by Soule that winter elementary school sports are still on the table. Although the state has called off youth recreational leagues, Soule noted the district operates its own elementary-level programs and could operate them. “We are still looking at the elementary portion of that,” she said.

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