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Two COVID cases keep Neshobe students home

BRANDON — The Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union is handling two new COVID cases at the Neshobe School in Brandon as cases continue to spike in Vermont.
The development led Superintendent Jeanne Collins to declare April 5 and 6 remote learning days for all Neshobe students. In her email message to parents on Easter Sunday, Collins apologized for the short notice.
“While the close contacts have yet to be tested, given the number of classrooms involved and the increase in numbers in both the school and the community, we have decided to move the school into full Distance Learning for Monday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 6,” Collins wrote. “I realize this is inconvenient and not ideal for parents and families; however, the potential for larger numbers of individuals to test positive in the next day or two indicates the need for this level of intervention to prevent the spread of COVID.”
It is unknown whether the positive cases at Neshobe involve students or faculty, as Collins said the Vermont Department of Health asks that those details not be shared publicly.
While there are some remote learners in most Neshobe classes, a majority of students have been attending school in person. Many parents and guardians had to make arrangements to be home the Monday and Tuesday after Easter for distance learning.
“As cases continue to rise in the region and the state, we are facing an increase in cases in schools as well,” Collins said. “Our goal is to be (teaching) in person as much as possible but opting for distance learning is an option if we feel the school cannot maintain a safe environment.”
The superintendent said close contacts have been identified in both cases and everyone who may have been in contact has been notified.
Some classrooms were already going to be remote on Monday because staff and teachers were getting vaccine shots on that day. A number of staff members had received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine a week earlier and a “large percentage” felt ill that morning or the next day, Collins reported.
Some RNeSU faculty are also in quarantine this week in the run up to spring vacation next week.
Collins said she is awaiting more test results early in the week to see if additional distance learning days will be needed.
“Distance Learning was a decision made intended to limit exposure and keep stability for students and families,” Collins said. “The school has reached out to the known close contacts at this time. If more testing indicates more positive results, we will continue to do contact tracing and contact any individuals who would be close contacts and need to isolate. If the school has not contacted you, you do not need to isolate at this time.”

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