Vermont designating September 8 as universal school opening date

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Socially distanced school desks in Belgium

Students, wearing face masks and paying attention to social distancing, at Les Magnolias primary school during the partial lifting of coronavirus lockdown regulations in Brussels, May 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) — At a Tuesday press conference, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced that he will issue an Executive Order later in the week to declare September 8 the universal start date for schools. According to the governor’s office, this gives schools a week or two extra to prepare, test, and implement systems and procedures to mitigate the threat of coronavirus.

The governor wants schools to increase in-person instruction days, but understand that many are starting with a hybrid model so they can build confidence in their systems. “School districts, school boards, teachers, and administrators should take this extra time to make sure they, and their hybrid and online solutions, are ready and effective so we can deliver for our children and build confidence in the public education system’s ability to be flexible and responsive,” he said.

Scott joined education and health officials to address the health considerations behind recommending in-person instruction, emphasizing the relative safety in Vermont, which has low population density and disease prevalence.

“When I weigh the health risks against the educational, developmental, social, and emotional risks for young children, I come to the same conclusion as the pediatricians and education experts,” said Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont Health Commissioner. “Now is the right time for Vermont to re-start in-person learning.”

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