Last week the Governor announced a mask mandate would be in place starting on August 1st. Even though Vermont’s statistics on cases are amongst the lowest in the country, we look to the South and West and see serious outbreaks happening. With no national plan, our governors have to assess the national landscape and make decisions based on what they see. This decision comes with controversy, and like most decisions elected officials have to make, will not make everyone happy. Many places and businesses have been able to open in Vermont with modifications – if we can all wear masks when we are indoors and not able to socially distance, we can reduce the negative effects that come with an outbreak. I appreciate and support Governor Scott moving forward with this added conservative policy in order to protect the gains in openings our state has made.
School re-openings are also a source of conflict and anxiety for parents, teachers, administrators, board members, and eventually tax payers. There is no handbook for how to safely operate schools during a pandemic, how to provide quality instruction and adequate protections and support for staff, how to do that in state with locally controlled districts and state controlled finance mechanism. I have included links to the state guidance and information coming out from Windham Southwest Supervisory Union. These conversations are currently happening all around the state. I want to encourage parents, teachers and board members to assume everyone is operating with the best intentions, to communicate respectfully and openly and to stay engaged. There is consensus, nothing is more precious then our children ad our health.
I want to hear from you about your concerns and what you need from the state of Vermont to keep making the best decisions for your child, your health and your district. To that end, I am hosting a listening session on Thursday July 30th at 7 pm.
I’d like to hear from you! Parents and teachers in WSWSU and WCSU let’s talk about back to school:
Time: Jul 30, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 874 8233 4656
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20/21 School Year Information from the Vermont Agency of Education
WCSU COVID-19 RESPONSE
The schools of Windham Central Supervisory Union are dedicated to providing information and resources to aid in student, family and staff welfare during this time.
All updates to procedures and regulations by WCSU and the VT AOE will be shared on this site, as will other useful information and educational materials. WCSU’s responses will be as thoughtful and timely as possible and always in accord with state of Vermont regulations. Website here
Twin Valley Community Input Meetings Reminder
Twin Valley administrators will be hosting community input meetings regarding the safe and healthy guidelines for the reopening of schools. These meetings will take place in person (weather permitting) with a hybrid online option through Google Meet. If you are coming to one of our in-person meetings, we invite you to bring a folding outdoor chair. Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Both meetings will be for all members of the Twin Valley community.
Meetings will be held as follows:
Tuesday, July 28th from 5-6 pm at TVES in Wilmington
Thursday, July 30th from 6-7 pm at TVMHS in Whitingham
If you prefer to meet remotely, please use these links:
TUESDAY 7/28: meet.google.com/kva-cjke-jdh or call 1 240-609-0415 PIN: 119 284 480#
THURSDAY 7/30: meet.google.com/wzv-rbjr-eus or call 1 409-753-5157 PIN: 130 495 392#
Effective August 1st for all over age of two – not required when eating or drinking – businesses are required to inform their patrons of this requirement. They can refuse service to those who will not comply.
GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT ANNOUNCES STRENGTHENED MASK REQUIREMENTS
Montpelier, Vt. – As the state continues its sustained efforts to encourage mask use as a tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Governor Phil Scott today announced strengthened mask requirements in public places and congregate settings.
“Based on national and regional data on how the virus is spreading – and rather than waiting like other states have – I feel we need to act now to protect our gains, which have allowed us to reopen much of our economy,” said Governor Scott. “That’s why today I signed an Order, which will strengthen our current mask mandates, so that we do not take steps backwards and we can stay open into the fall as people move more of their interactions indoors,” Governor Scott added.
Effective Friday, August 1, 2020, the amendment requires all Vermonters to wear masks or cloth facial coverings any time it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet with others from outside their household.
Those who are not required to use masks include those exercising outdoors, those under the age of 2, those with a medical or developmental condition that is complicated by a facial covering and those with difficulty breathing. Businesses and other entities may require customers to wear masks, including signage explaining mask requirements and denial of entry or service to those who decline to wear masks.
“Unfortunately, this issue has become polarized and, I’m still worried that a mandate will create unnecessary conflict and resistance,” Governor Scott said. “Attacking, shaming, and judging isn’t going to help; but understanding, educating, leading by example, meeting people where they are, and maybe a little kindness and understanding will,” Governor Scott encouraged.
Developed in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), this amendment is critical to the state’s strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19 in anticipation of K-12 and college students returning to school, as well as the fall and winter recreation seasons.
To view the full amendment to the Executive Order, visit https://governor.vermont.gov/content/addendum-2-amended-and-restated-executive-order-no-01-20
Existing mask guidance that shall continue to apply includes:
- Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance issued by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD)
- Safety and Health Guidance for Reopening Schools, Fall 2020 issued by the Agency of Education (AoE)
- Health Guidance for Childcare and School Age Camps/Care issued by VDH, AoE and the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
- Guidance to Healthcare Providers issued by VDH
For more information on:
- COVID-19 health information, guidance and case data, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
- The Governor’s actions, visit governor.vermont.gov/covid19response.
- The state’s modeling, visit dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling.
Sole Proprietor Grants Application Now Open
An economic relief grant program has been announced which will provide grants of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 to qualifying sole proprietors through a lottery draw. The program is funded through $1.5 million from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG Program, and passed through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The application window will open Monday, July 20, 2020 and grants will be awarded through a lottery system on August 14, 2020.
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) will be administering funds. Details including the program breakdown, full eligibility requirements, application materials and timelines, as well as technical assistance and FAQs, can be found on the program portal.
Upcoming #Hiring2DayVT Virtual Job Fairs
The Vermont Department of Labor has announced a series of Virtual Job Fair events. The series will highlight local employers and will include a Q&A about local career opportunities. Register to attend any of these upcoming events:
- July 30th at 11:00am: Bennington, Middlebury, Rutland, and others in southwestern Vermont
- August 6th at 11:00am: Burlington, St. Albans, and others in northwestern Vermont
- August 13th at 11:00am: Brattleboro, Springfield, and others in southeastern Vermont
- August 20th at 11:00am: Montpelier, Morrisville, White River Junction, and others in central Vermont
URGENT CENSUS: Second homeowners, Property Managers and Realtors:
Help us pave the roads!
Federal and state transportation dollars are allocated according to population. This requires an accurate federal census. The 2020 Census response rate is currently 44.4% for Windham County, 48.8% for Bennington County. In our towns with large second home populations, the response numbers are extremely low.
As our town and state officials scramble to improve these response rates, we need your help!
There have been some questions about how 2nd homeowners should respond to the Census. Here’s the guidance.
If you live at multiple places throughout the year, count yourself at the address where you live and sleep most of the time. If you split your time evenly between two or more places, count yourself where you were staying on April 1, 2020. However, a census response is required from each and every property.
For any property you own but only use part of the time, follow these instructions:
- Visit www.my2020census.gov
- Enter the Census ID or address for this secondary property
- Enter “0” for the number of people living at this property
- Hit Next, and when a “soft error” occurs, click Next again
- Select “No” when asked to confirm no person lives at this property
- Select primary reason – Seasonal (most likely)
Stay Home, Stay Safe Q&A for Municipalities
Jointly hosted by VLCT and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, this weekly question and answer webinar with Deputy Secretary Ted Brady is an opportunity for municipalities to ask questions and learn more about best practices, new tools, and resources to help cities and towns navigate these difficult times.
Agency of Commerce and Community Development Virtual Town Hall Series
- DATE: Monday, August 3, 2020
- TIME: 2:00pm – 3:00pm
- PRESENTER: Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary, Agency of Commerce & Community Development
- Link to event: Join here
VSAC shows you how to pick the right education loan
Online interactive webinar tackles the ABCs of student loans
WINOOSKI (July 20, 2020) – Vermont Student Assistance Corp. is offering a free online webinar for students and families on how to make smart borrowing decisions, Tuesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. Students and families can participate via Zoom by registering athttps://bit.ly/VSAC_ed_loans or by visiting VSAC’s Facebook page. The event also will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date.
With college bills coming due soon, parents and students need to decide which loans to accept to get the best interest rates and terms. Most Vermonters borrow to help cover the costs of their education – about 7 in 10 Vermont students use loans to pay at least part of the bill.
Not all loans are created equal, so families and students need to understand the features of each loan they are considering in order to make the best decision possible. Learn about the differences between federal loans, private loans and loans made by schools. Find out how interest rates and repayment options affect how much you’ll pay back.
You’ll also learn how to maximize your financial aid offer to lower how much you have to borrow. Bring your questions and get answers from the experts.Panelists include Marilyn Cargill, vice president of VSAC’s financial aid services, research and marketing; Deborah Lessor, VSAC manager of private loan origination, and Greg Davis, director of financial aid at Champlain College.
Parents and students will have the opportunity ask questions during the presentation, which may be addressed during the live broadcast itself, privately during the broadcast or in a follow-up 1:1 consultation. You can also submit your questions prior to the webinar by sending them to email@example.com.
GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT, ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO PROVIDE UPDATE ON STATE’S ONGOING RESPONSE TO COVID-19
What: Media Availability
Governor Phil Scott and members of the administration to hold a media briefing Tuesday to provide an update on the State’s continued response to covid-19.
Following remarks, the Governor and administration officials will be available for questions from members of the media.
GENERAL PUBLIC VIEWING: Most Vermont TV and radio stations live broadcast the briefings. The Governor’s media briefing will be available to stream through ORCA Media’s youtube channel, linked here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-xsDpLCa0iRMj4dQrqum7uoXaQmqeGvT
Governor Phil Scott Executive Orders
Number 01-20 declaring a State of Emergency in Vermont & National Guard Call Out
Amendment to 01-02 Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 and National Guard Call-Out – Amended and Restated
ADDENDUM 1 to 01-20 prohibits all non-essential mass gatherings to the lesser of fifty (50) people or fifty percent (50%) of the occupancy of a facility
ADDENDUM 2 to 01-20 Prohibits on-premises consumption of food or drink
ADDENDUM 3 to 01-20 Suspension of all Non-Essential Adult Elective Surgery and Medical and Surgical Procedures
ADDENDUM 4 to 01-20 Closure of Close-Contact Businesses and Further Restrictions of the Size of Mass Gatherings
ADDENDUM 5 to 01-20 Work from Home Order
ADDENDUM 6 to 01-20 Stay Home to Stay Safe Order
ADDENDUM 7 to 01-20 Requirement to quarantine
ADDENDUM 8 to 01-20 Non-Congregate Sheltering in Vermont; Extension of Certain Deadlines Relating to Closures of DMV and Bars and Restaurants
ADDENDUM 9 to 01-20 Extension of State of Emergency Declared March 13, 2020; Other COVID-19 Related Directives and Clarifications
ADDENDUM 10 to 01-20 Work Smart & Stay Safe – Restart VT: Phase I
ADDENDUM 11 to 01-20 Work Smart & Stay Safe –Restart VT: Phase II
ADDENDUM 12 to 01-20 Work Smart & Stay Safe -Restart VT: Phase III
ADDENDUM 13 to 01-20 Play Smart and Play Safe: Restart Phase V
ADDENDUM 14 to 01-20 Be Smart, Stay Safe
ADDENDUM 15 to 01-20 Outdoor Restaurants, Bars and Other Establishments that Offer Food and Drink
ADDENDUM 16 to 01-20Close Contact Businesses; Large Social Gatherings
Addendum 17 to 01-20 Modified Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in Vermont; Municipal Regulation of Bars and Restaurants
Racial Equity Task Force (Executive Order 02-20)
Amended and Restated Executive Order No. 01-20 Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 and National Guard Call-Out – Amended and Restated
ADDENDUM 1 TO AMENDED AND RESTATED 01-20Extension of State of Emergency Declared March 13, 2020
Directive 1 – Continuity of Education Planning.pdf
Directive 2 – Childcare For Essential Service Providers.pdf
Directive 3 – Department of Motor Vehicles Suspension of In-Person Transactions.pdf
AMENDMENT TO DIRECTIVE 3
Directive 4 – Department of Liquor and Lottery – Delivery and Take-Out of Beverage Alcohol – Amended March 20, 2020.pdf
Directive 5 – Continuity of Learning Planning .pdf
Primary endorsements (…if you want them, scroll if you don’t)
This week I turned in my paperwork to run for a fourth term as the representative for the Windham/Bennington District. As I’ve noted previously, independents do not appear on the August 11th primary ballots . The primaries are for the parties to reduce the number of candidates running in the general election. You can only vote on one of the party ballots.
Many people have asked me about candidates in the primary election. If you are voting in the Republican primary, I would ask you to consider returning Governor Scott for two more years. Looking across the country, it is easy to see how lucky we have been to have a competent and decent Governor during the unprecedented emergency presented by the pandemic.
If you are voting in the Democratic primary, I encourage you to give Molly Gray a good look. Molly’s background is impressive – a Vermont farming family, experienced justice seeker and pursuer of human rights at the global scale.
But what she told me when I first met her, pre-pandemic, at the statehouse is what got my attention and support. When I asked her what she would do as LT Governor, she told me she was going to bring attention to the issues of rural Vermont. Of course that caught my attention. I have been completely impressed with her commitment and ability to do just that during her campaign – which is happening in the midst of the most serious emergency of our lifetime.
I would be honored to have you write my name in on a blank spot under State Representative on either the Republican or Democratic ballot, but you do not have to – my name will appear on the November General Election ballot regardless.
And if you don’t agree with any of my suggestions – that’s okay – please just vote!
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham