Head of School Weekly Email: Change in VT Guidance & Related Updates
September 25, 2020
Dear TA Families & Students,
As many of you are aware, Governor Scott announced on Tuesday that Vermont schools would shift from Step II guidance to Step III starting tomorrow. This is a good sign that Vermont continues to trend in the right direction with the pandemic. (For those interested in the details, you can check out the full 33-page school guidance doc here or review the shorter 4-page FAQ memo issued yesterday that focuses on what it means to move from Step II to Step III.)
The attached visual is our TA version of the state’s guidance levels and the related planning we are doing as we think ahead about contingencies and prepare for the ever-evolving nature of the COVID situation this school year.
A couple of concrete areas that the new guidance impacts us at TA include the athletics program and facility use. We are excited to report that fall athletics competitions can now take place within COVID parameters. The middle school and high school cross country teams will compete tomorrow in their first meet and soccer games begin next week. Check out the TA athletics calendar here: www.thetfordacademy.org/athletics/athletics-calendar. The new guidance also allows for more flexibility with the use of large group spaces such as the gym and the cafe, which is helpful as we plan ahead for the colder months.
While our overall academic program will not change for now, the move to Step III guidance provides us the flexibility to make some shifts soon, for example, moving toward more grade-level interaction among pods. We are exploring ways to deepen the academic experience and provide more synchronous and hands-on learning, as we feel ready and able to make changes, and will communicate with you as plans develop. There is a careful balance we are eager to strike between finding a rhythm with the structures we have put in place and adapting those structures as conditions allow us to (or force us to). For now, we are taking a careful and cautious approach with incremental changes only, and the academic program as we outlined in the TA Fall Reopening Handbook remains in place as we move into October.
Lastly, I encourage you to check the TA Today page on our website for Panther news and updates: www.thetfordacademy.org/category/ta-today. Recent posts include info for sports fans on the COVID spectator guidance and a reminder for families who have not yet submitted their technology responsible use form (original deadline today – extended to Oct. 1).
Wishing everyone a wonderful fall foliage weekend – and best of luck to our cross-country athletes in their first race of the season!
Carrie Brennan, Head of School