The Mill School is an approved Vermont independent school offering general and special education programs to middle school and high school students.
COVID-19 VIRTUAL SCHOOL PLAN (click here for details)
The Mill School staff have created a Fall Program that will continue to allow all of us to have some in-person time with each other!
We’re working hard to create positive learning opportunities for each of the young people we serve. We want to make sure that everyone – kids, families, LEA representatives – understand our goals for academic year and our plans for the Fall. Our hope is to provide some certainty for all and to make sure we are communicating our thoughts in a transparent way.
As you know, we are following all the guidelines of the Vermont Department of Health and Agency of Education to create an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible – but there is so much that is unknown about the spread of COVID-19 that results in some risks that we just cannot anticipate. We will review this plan every 5 or 6 weeks to make adjustments as best as we can and we’ll let you all know before we make any changes.
We will follow the guidelines we identified for Summer to assure that in-person school programming is safe as possible for everyone:
1. Masks and Social Distancing:
▪ All school staff will wear masks during the school day.
▪ All students will wear masks while in the school building.
▪ Everyone will be required to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
▪ Students will not be required to wear masks when they are outdoors.
▪ All students will be required to wear masks when they are in any of the school vehicles and at any time they are being transported by school staff.
▪ Each student will sit separately – in their own row or in the back seat of a car – when being transported by staff.
▪ Each day we will greet every student outside the building in the morning and complete a basic health check. This includes using an external thermometer to check temperature, and following the CDC guidelines for health checks – including asking about the health of others at home.
▪ Should an individual, or anyone they live with, demonstrate signs of infection or possible infection (elevated temperature, coughing, loss of smell and taste, etc.) they will be required to return home. That individual can return to school once we have documentation that they are not infectious from a licensed medical professional. For students, they will participate in the Virtual School program until they are cleared to return to school.
2. “Inside” and “Outside” School:
▪ After completing the daily health, check staff will offer two options for students: Participating in “inside”or “outside” school.
▪ Should a student choose to participate in the inside school program they will be required to wear a mask for the entire time they are in the building.
▪ Should a student prefer the outside school program they will be directed to the side of the building where we have set up an equivalent program on picnic tables at the side of the building. Students will be required to keep a safe distance from others, but will not be required to wear masks while participating in the outside program.
▪ We will continue to use this option until the weather gets too cold to do so. If the weather is a problem we will follow the guidelines identified in section 3.
The Mill School: Fall 2020 Healthy and Safe School Planpg. 2
3. Managing Difficulties Wearing a Mask:
▪ Students will be directed to the outside program and to outside space should they decline to wear a mask.
▪ Should a student remove their mask while in the school building, they will be directed to a separate space away from others – this can be inside or outside the building – until they are ready to wear a mask and participate in the school program.
▪ Should a student have a medical professional certify that they are unable to wear a mask, that student will be welcome to participate in school. This means that they will receive in-person instruction from staff but will need to keep a safe distance from other students and will likely spend significant time in a room separate from others.
▪ If a student continues to have difficulty managing the requirements for wearing a mask or remaining separate from others, we will follow our existing “ready-not ready” protocol to manage the situation as best we can.
4. Worst Case Scenario: A Student is Not Ready for School and Needs to Go Home:
▪ Should a student continue to decline to wear a mask and/or demonstrate behaviors that create a risk to others, it will be determined that the student is not ready for school and be required to return home.
▪ A student who is not ready for school will be directed to a space separate from others until they are ready or until transportation can be arranged.
▪ Should a student need to leave school, it will be the family’s responsibility to arrange and provide transportation. We will contact the student’s family to make a transportation plan.
▪ Out of an abundance of concern for everyone’s health and safety, school staff will not transport students who are not ready to be in school.
▪ We will follow our existing protocols for situations that require a young person to leave school because they are not ready to participate. This means we will work with the student and family to make a plan for return, a plan for transportation, and a plan to better manage difficulties. This plan must be completed prior to the student’s return to school.
5. Returning to School After Travel Outside Vermont:
▪ We will require anyone to travels outside the state to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to school.
▪ We will need confirmation from a licensed medical professional that the individual is negative for COVID-19 before they return to school.
▪ If an individual is unable or unwilling to be tested for COVID-19, they will be required to stay out of school for 10 days. Students who are not able to get tested for COVID-19 will participate in the Virtual School program.
6. Keeping the School Safe and Clean:
▪ Student access to the kitchen and pantry areas will be limited and staff will provide food and meals to students as needed.
▪ We will clean all areas of the school at the beginning and end of each day and will have a deep cleaning of the building completed twice each week.
▪ Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, the school will close, we will complete a deep clean of the school building and we will require all to undergo a COVID-19 screening. In addition, we will provide our Virtual School program during this time and communicate our plan to return to onsite programming in a manner that is safe for all.
The Mill School: Fall 2020 Healthy and Safe School Planpg. 3
STARTING THE FALL SEMESTER:
The three primary goals that will guide all of our work with each student for the beginning of this school year are:
Goal 1:We will identify key proficiencies for each student and provide academic supports to help them make progress towards those proficiencies.
Goal 2:We will support students and families to preserve a sense of community and to maintain connections with Mill School staff.
Goal 3:We will address every IEP goal and provide the services that are required on every student’s IEP
The Fall School Program
We will begin our Fall Program using an approach that is similar to the Summer schedule – a combination of in-person and virtual school. We are not sure how long we’ll be operating in this way, but our goal is to return to full-time in-person schooling as soon as we can.
Every student will come to school two days each week from 8am – 2pm. Students will be assigned to two groups – Group A and Group B. Group A will attend school in-person on Mondays and Wednesdays and Group B will attend school in-person on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We will be video recording every class so that students have access to all instruction. So, this means that the students will likely be recorded as well.
Each group will have specific staff assigned to them in order to limit contact between individuals – this means that students will not see all staff in person until we are able to return to full-time in-school programming. Friday programming will occur from 8am – 12pm, and will include personal advisement, a physical activity in the community or in school, personal project development and implementation, and academic support. In addition to these supports, Friday programming will include in-person staff time with students with a focus on a variety of community-based outdoor activities
On the days that students are not in school they will be participate in our Virtual School program. Each Virtual School day will require students to use their Chromebooks to connect with staff beginning at 8am and follow a specific daily academic schedule for instruction and advisement from school staff. Every student will make a plan for the day and will have access to school staff for guidance, and lesson support until 2pm.
We have worked with the school districts to schedule transportation, so guardians will not have to worry about getting students to and from school during the scheduled times.
We’ll keep you informed of any changes and make the needed adjustments to keep everyone safe. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you have read and understand our plan.
Thank you for working with us!