49 Court Drive, Brandon, Vermont 05733

802.247.5757 –

...dedicated to the development of character, competence, creativity and community.

Nov. 5, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians

There is a lot to report in this week’s newsletter. Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate COVID and significant staff shortages in our schools. 

This email covers

  • Vaccination Updates and Clinics

  • Optional Testing Available for Students Ages 5 and up

  • Update on Test to Stay

  • Opportunity to Participate in Equity Audit Focus Group

  • Snow Day Protocol

  • School Board Meetings and Board Openings

Vaccination Updates and Clinics

As notified earlier this week, students ages 5-11 are now eligible for a vaccine. Ages 5-11 will get an age appropriate dose of the vaccine. The VT Department of Health web page is full of resources for parents about the vaccine. Local pediatricians are also ready to answer questions and help parents with their decisions and can even give the shots. 

VDH has chosen two of our schools to hold vaccination clinics, thus far: Neshobe and Leicester (OCA). Although we were first told these clinics would be closed just for our families, the state has opened registration to the public and slots are limited. Please use the state registration website VDH COVID-19 portal  to register or call the Dept of Health 855-722-7878, Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Sat and Sun 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. to register and give consent or if you have problems with registration. We cannot register students ourselves as parents must give consent. 

School Clinic dates:

  • OCA at Leicester School Nov. 18 (1st dose with the second dose scheduled for Dec 9)

  • Neshobe School Dec. 14 (with the second dose scheduled for Jan. 4)

Optional Testing Available for Students Ages 5 and Up at Schools

Students may participate in optional PCR testing available at schools, every other Wed with the next date being Nov. 10. The testing is optional and not required. To participate, an initial consent form must be on file from a parent. Testing will be done in school using a nasal swab and test results will be sent to parents by email from the lab. 

Please go to this web page to give consent or ask your school for a consent form. CIC Health COVID-19 Testing for Schools Consent webpage 

  • You will get a verification email from Binx, the lab that processes the tests, after signing up. The Binx email will tell you how to set up an account to get your results. Results should be in your account early Friday morning. 

 Here is a video that explains the process of testing. COVID-19 testing in Vermont: How take your own sample

Update on Test to Stay

As we continue to need to quarantine classrooms for a positive case, we are also working on getting the system up for a Test To Stay program.  Once we are approved and receive kits, students who are identified as an unvaccinated close contact may choose to come to school and take a rapid antigen test at school each day for 7 days and remain in school as long as the test is not positive. This would minimize the time out of school for quarantines. We anticipate being able to do this when quarantine numbers are 20 or less; much larger outbreaks may take more staffing than we have available. Stay tuned, we will let you know when this program may begin as we wait to hear from the state. 

Opportunity to Participate in Equity Audit Focus Group

You are invited to participate in a focus group on December 6th at 5:00-7:00pm. The focus groups are part of a study being conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) to understand how RNESU can support a learning environment focused on  safety, belonging, and equitable access to high-quality instruction and supports across our district. 

The focus group with Parents/Community will be held virtually and will last approximately 90 minutes. The focus groups will be led by MAEC facilitators. MAEC will keep your feedback and thoughts strictly confidential and anonymous. If you are willing to participate, please email

Social Emotional Learning Resource for Parents Access

As part of Vermont’s COVID-19 education recovery efforts, the Agency of Education (AOE) is providing educators and parents with SEL VT, a virtual platform of free materials for understanding key elements of healthy social emotional learning (SEL). Strengthening students’ SEL skills and well-being are an important focus of Vermont’s statewide recovery plan. SEL VT contains a series of professionally developed modules to help educators easily incorporate materials into their own lesson planning. In addition, classroom teachers can provide a link to their students so they can directly access materials for lessons. This platform also provides parents and caregivers with free access to the materials so they can help with continued learning at home. Please visit the SEL VT Platform to register and access the tools and content.

Snow Day Protocol

Yes, it is time to talk about snow days. The weather has gotten cold and we have had hints of snow over the past few days. Here is our protocol:

  • On bad weather days, we are not able to send our buses out if conditions to drive are unsafe. That decision is usually made between 5 and 6 AM after consulting with town crews and NOAA and our transportation coordinator. 

  • When possible, we decide the day before but we have to feel pretty certain the forecast will be accurate

  • Once the decision is made, a robocall goes out and we post on the TV and radio stations and social media. 

  • This year, snow days will be snow days and not remote learning days.

Winter Sports Protocol 2021-2022

As winter sports begins, please know we will be following the guidance from the Agency of Education’s Memo on Winter sports, masking, tracing and contact tracing as follows:

  1. Masks will be required for all players, coaches, referees and spectators regardless of vaccination status. Spectators will need to provide their own mask to enter. The school will not be providing masks for spectators.

    1. Exceptions: Athletes participating in running events - both practice sessions and meets/competitions- so long as physical distancing can be maintained between individuals such as staggered starts or other means. (indoor track)

    2. Athletes participating in wrestling, cheer and events that require inversion (i.e. wrestling, tumbling, vaulting, bars, etc.)

  2. Spectators will be permitted at indoor winter sports games and competitions in Otter Valley and Barstow provided they follow the masking requirements.  Spectators will be permitted at away competitions only if the host school’s policies permit them.  Spectators should check the host school’s policy before traveling.

  3. Food will not be allowed to be consumed at any indoor athletic event at this time except in the designated concession area.  No food or drink in the gymnasium with the exception of the athletes competing.

  4. Unvaccinated student athletes participating in wrestling, indoor track, cheer where masks are not consistently worn should participate in weekly testing.

  5. Vaccination of student athletes is strongly recommended.  Vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine should an exposure occur.  

    1. While the district participation in the “Test to Stay” program will allow unvaccinated athletes to continue to participate in team-based practices during their quarantine, it will not enable involvement in interscholastic competition (i.e. games, meets of competitions).   They will not be allowed to travel with the team either.  Additionally, they will not be allowed to participate in practices on weekends as we do not provide testing on weekends. 

  6. Contact tracing of spectators will not be conducted by school nurses, it will be conducted by the VT Dept of Health should a case arise.  Only the team and school faculty and staff who participated in the event will be internally contact traced by school nurses. 

  7. Locker rooms may be used by both visiting and home teams this winter season.

School Board Meetings and Board Openings

In August, Board meetings returned to in-person meetings with a zoom option for those who wish to attend virtually. Meeting information can be found on the district calendar or on the district website,,  

  • BUU Board meets Nov. 15, 6 pm. 

  • RNESU Board meets Nov. 17, 5 pm @ Neshobe School

  • OVUU Board meets Nov. 17, 6 pm @ Neshobe School

Interested in serving on a school board? Go to the school board page on to learn what seats are open and to get a petition.

Enjoy the weekend. 


Jeanné Collins, Superintendent of RNESU

School Safety Hotline # (844) 723-3488 or or text to 274637, type in keyword SAFE4VT and then your tip