Opening 2020-21

OPENING 2020-21 INFORMATION

Dear LTS Families,

I write to inform you that LTS will combine learning for all on-campus students beginning Tuesday, September 29. For practice and preparation, we will extend the current A/B learning day configuration for an additional week, through Friday, September 25. We will then have our first Head’s Holiday for students on Monday, September 28. We will offer advanced technology training opportunities for our faculty on Monday, September 28, beginning at 10 am. This dedicated day will allow for reconfiguring specific spaces (particularly switching some middle school classes to larger and more dispersed areas).

Relationships – between student and teacher and among students – define the LTS experience. The explosive energy of an entire grade level develops our students’ social-emotional skills, such as collaboration, empathy, higher self-awareness, and greater respect for others. This time when we can be united will help to build relationships that can ignite teaching and learning for this entire year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, our country’s leading infectious disease expert, yesterday declared that Vermont “should be the model of the country.” According to Dr. Fauci, “I believe strongly that if we do what you’ve been doing in Vermont in the rest of the country … that we can not only get through the fall and the winter, but we can come out on the other end better off than we went in.” We are proud of the part that LTS is doing to contribute to this judgment, thanks to this community’s extraordinary spirit. Our dedicated professionals have gone above and beyond to keep our campus safe. Our faculty proves every day that teachers are heroes without capes in surmounting taxing – and changing – conditions to teach our students. Our students are taking ownership of our health and safety protocols – with no major violations so far! – and are joining to learn and grow.

With this promising beginning, we are confident that we will be ready to go to our 100 percent on-campus population. We recognize that similarly sized schools in the region are already back to 100 percent of students on campus. Still, after consulting with a wide range of diverse stakeholders, I need to determine what steps, in my best judgment, fit our community and our health and safety curves. We will continue to immerse and train in all the elements of our health and safety program. Throughout this year, we will continuously review and adapt and improve our systems and procedures. We must continue to be vigilant to have a safe and successful year on campus.

We all are grieving for the “old normal.” The most enduring lesson we will learn or teach this year is how together we persevere, steady ourselves, and then thrive in the “new normal.” Thank you for your continuing trust.

Stay safe, kind, and hopeful,

Seth

Frequently Asked Questions

ACADEMICS

A dedicated assemblage of faculty, students, health professionals, parents, and other volunteers have been mapping out what our Fall can look like.  We will publish updates and detailed protocols corresponding to all areas of school life here on our Opening 2020 web page.

Emails keep families and the community informed. Detailed information and protocols will be added to this page as needed.  Our communication team will produce and publish instructional videos demonstrating our new routines.

All students may choose between attending classes in-person or through distance learning. We are calling this hybrid format Additional Best Beginning Anywhere (“ABBA”). A student may elect ABBA for medical reasons or for comfort.

Under ABBA, our aim is to present the same academic content to all students. Faculty will prepare a weekly overview “Keep Up Segment” that will feature a brief video introduction describing the week’s goals, accompanied by readings, exercises, and assignments. The student will then livestream into the classroom and hear and see the live instruction. With regrets, at least initially, the student will not participate in the classroom discussions, to preserve the dynamic coherence of the live classroom setting. To the extent feasible, the student will take part in project-based learning with their classmates. The student will have opportunities to receive attention from the instructor before or after class through email and other platforms.

We are confident that, for our students not on campus, ABBA will almost always be a better fit than remote learning from any other source or homeschooling. ABBA is uniquely LTS teaching and learning, even if not as powerful as live instruction. We appreciate that ABBA suits smaller literature classes more than art workshops or science labs. Our department chairs and faculty are exploring how to offer high-quality experiences in these more challenging disciplines.

We are dividing this upcoming school year into 8 segments.  A student may pick ABBA for a full segment at a time.  If one elects ABBA, one can seamlessly transition back into the live classroom following the segment, with enough notice to make the necessary distancing adjustments. A student who is working through ABBA due to illness or symptoms is eligible to return before the end of a segment after fulfilling the returning health protocols.  International students who cannot arrive on campus by September 8 can also start the semester under ABBA. Joining through ABBA will not be deemed an absence for our Attendance Policy. To relieve the stress on the student and teacher, a teacher may in his or her discretion elect to grade a student who takes part under ABBA for a material portion of the quarter with a Pass/Fail grade.  Under the direction of our IT Director Jeremy Crumb, the school is installing advanced technology to bring ABBA to our classrooms.

ABBA is part of our commitment to empower our students and parents to make informed choices. If you are considering ABBA for the start of school on September 8, use the button to the right to complete the Additional Best Beginning Anywhere (“ABBA”) Request by the August 24 deadline.  Requests for ABBA for any particular future segment should be made on the form at least one week before the applicable segment.

Segments

  1. Tuesday, September 8 – Wednesday, October 28 (end of Q1)
  2. Thursday, October 29 – Tuesday, December 22 (start of Holiday break/end of Q2)
  3. Monday, January 4 – Friday, February 12 (start of Winter Break)
  4. Monday, February 22 – Friday, March 19 (end of Q3)
  5. Monday, March 22 – Friday, April 9 (Spring Break)
  6. Monday, April 19 – Thursday, June 10 (last day of school)

Starting Tuesday, September 8, we will use the A Day/B Day format for at least the first two weeks, but we will split the students by geography (North/West and South/East).  When we divide by community or town, we will keep students living in a particular area together.  Doing so will maximize flexibility in case of an outbreak in a specific residential area. Students selecting ABBA distance learning for the first segment will attend by following the green or blue designation of their hometown.

Our current plan is to bring all students to campus daily on Monday, September 21 – but this blueprint will remain fluid subject to the facts and circumstances.

We will provide proportional refunds for busing or other divisible charges which only arise with in-person learning on campus. Whether in person or by distance, however, we are devoting comprehensive resources to intensive teaching and learning and character formation – for college and life beyond. We are confident in this value proposition and will not adjust tuition.

In the event that we have to close campus temporarily and pivot to all-school distance learning, we will follow the full-day ABBA schedule and with fuller synchronous or “two way” classes.  Our dedicated faculty are committed to delivering to all of our students dynamic teaching and learning and meaningful opportunities for social activism and student life, both live and virtually.  

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Each morning, in the comfort and safety of home, every student and faculty member will take and report their temperature and fill out a few CDC-derived questions in an app we will be licensing which comes with Bluetooth thermometers for individual homes.  If a person does not meet the minimum health requirements, they should stay home, consult a physician, and come back to campus only when our guidelines for returning have been met.

We are lowering the density of our campus life.  LTS comes into this effort with a low student-to-faculty ratio, so we had a head start.  We expect students and faculty to stay 6 feet from other people, where feasible, and not to gather in groups.  We have substantially modified spaces throughout campus; it has been a busy and noisy summer of construction at LTS! We have purchased individual desks so students will not share tables anymore.   

When we increase attendance to all of our students, the minimum distance may be 4 feet at some points in the day, such as in a corridor.  As explained by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “evidence suggests that spacing as close as 3 feet may approach the benefits of 6 feet of space, particularly if students are wearing face coverings and are asymptomatic.”

We will offer Covid-19 testing for anyone with symptoms.  We will also offer testing regularly for our faculty.  We have arranged with an independent lab to provide testing via a minimally invasive, self-administered nasal swab, which our nurse will observe.  Testing will be free for our faculty and supplied at cost to our students.  

Anyone with symptoms will be immediately isolated – with care and kindness – and moved from campus.  We will then take part in contact tracing procedures under the direction of the Vermont Health Department.

Everyone will be required to wear a cloth mask inside at all times, even when alone, except when eating or drinking.  This cloth mask must be form-fitting; no bandanas will be allowed. When outdoors, everyone will be expected to wear a cloth mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.  We will let you know about special rules for sports.  While we will have limited visitors, we will expect them to wear masks at all times. 

MASK RESOURCES

We are lowering the density of our campus life.  LTS comes into this effort with a low student-to-faculty ratio, so we had a head start.  We expect students and faculty to stay six feet from other people, where feasible, and not gather in groups.  We have substantially modified spaces throughout a busy and noisy construction summer.  We have purchased 200 new individual desks so students will not share tables anymore.  

Practice social distancing as directed by public health officials. Engage in important practices that promote hygiene and help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

It’s also important to exercise self-care. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, go for a run/walk outside, use online exercise resources, try to create a schedule, and find ways to connect with others (text, telephone, video calls, online chat groups, and blogs) while practicing social distancing

We will not permit a student or adult in the building with the following symptoms:

  • Fever greater than 100.4 or chills
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing (if severe, seek immediate medical attention)
  • Fatigue or muscle and body aches
  • Headache
  • Recent loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A person with any of these symptoms may not come to campus. 

If symptoms are due to a pre-existing medically diagnosed condition (for example, allergies or asthma), please provide LTS with information from your physician.

If at home, do not come to school.

Inform LTS of absence and COVID-like symptoms.

Pursue treatment and testing through your medical provider. 

  • If positive, pursue medical care. Do not return to school until meeting criteria for returning to school.
  • If negative and there has been no exposure to a covid casein the last 14 days, a student can return to LTS after 24 hours symptom-free without the use of medication.
  • If testing is not pursued, a student must meet the criteria for returning to school as if testing positive.

To return to LTS, a student must meet the following criteria:

A.10 days of self-quarantine at home AND

B.  24 hours of no symptoms without the use of medications.

The PCR test is recommended over rapid testing, which has been shown to be less accurate. Tests that rely on detection of antigens (rapid testing) have proven less reliable and those test results will not be accepted. Please note: Criteria A in addition to B must be met.

Refer to the COVID SYMPTOMS ALGORITHM for more detailed information.

If a student comes into close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must follow the CDC-recommended 14 day quarantine while monitoring for symptoms or a 7 day quarantine followed by a negative test. The quarantine period begins after your last contact with the infected individual.

Close contact is defined as any of the following:

  • 6 feet or less from someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes
  • Care provider to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Direct physical contact with an infected person
  • Shared eating or drinking utensils with an infected person
  • Recipient of cough, sneeze or respiratory droplets/spray from an infected person

No, COVID-19 has an incubation period from 1 to 14 days. If  a person is tested too soon, this can bring about a false-negative result before the virus has matured. Quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Due to the many similar symptoms with COVID-19, and needing to treat all symptoms as if they result from COVID-19, a case of the flu will require the process of testing as well as quarantining that could result in a long absence from school. To minimize this possibility, we recommend all LTS community members receive the flu vaccine.

If you decide to travel out of state, you must follow Vermont’s guidelines on quarantining before returning to LTS. Currently, Vermont requires a 14 day quarantine, unless coming from other counties with similar infection rates. This information is being consistently updated at the following website: Cross State Travel Information. ( If you travel beyond the lower risk counties, quarantine for 14 days will be necessary.) Testing does not exempt the need to quarantine.

How do I use the Kinsa Bluetooth thermometer and app? (added 8/27)

Instructions on how to install and use the Kinsa Bluetooth thermometer can be found HERE.

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

We ask that you bring your child(ren) to and from campus at least through Wednesday, September 9.  We will conduct bus passenger protocol training during those first two days.  We expect to begin busing on Thurs., Sept. 10.

Bus routes will be emailed to families the last week of August.

Fall sports will take place.

We cannot begin practices until the first day of school, but want to give our varsity athletes the opportunity to get in shape prior to the official start of the fall season.

NFHS safety protocols will be in place.

More information on our Fall Athletics  2020 COVID Policies & Procedures. can be found under Athletics.

With regrets, we cannot provide food service at the start of the year.  We have a plan for students eligible for free or reduced lunch and will reach out to those families.  We will encourage everybody to eat outdoors for as long as the weather allows, then we will move lunch to eating at desks in the classroom.

Campus buildings are currently closed to all students, employees, alumni, and visitors, except for those employees whose jobs require them to be on campus. Buildings will remain closed to students, alumni, and visitors until further notice and there will be no access to indoor spaces or facilitated campus tours. Many outdoor spaces, including our newly resurfaced tennis courts, remain open for personal recreational use. The community is welcome to enjoy them while observing proper social distancing protocols.

Academic classes run 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Students may arrive starting at 7:30 am and depart by 3:30 pm.  If a student is participating in sports, they need to depart within 30 minutes of the end of practice.

FOR OTHER QUESTIONS, CONTACT:

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Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont

Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont