Tag Archives: COVID

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Why Are Horses Dying In The West?

 By Olivia O’Rourke -

Where there once was a natural pond, there is now barely a trickle of water surrounded by the carcasses of horses decomposing on the cracked dry earth. The drought in the western United States is the worst it’s been in 100’s of years. As a result, wild horses are suffering major casualties. To stop these deaths, saving these horses is not only the right thing to do, it is also a law and the Bureau of Land Management is doing what they can to save these horses. 

 According to Climate.gov, the drought in Arizona is the worst since the 1200’s. Other western states such as Nevada and Utah are also seeing record drought.In an interview with NPR radio, Lisa Reid from the Bureau of Land Management said she is working on finding homes for more than 6000 wild horses that are living in the desert and will soon die if they are not rehomed. To make sure these horses are sent to good homes and not just to be slaughtered, there is a $1000 incentive given one year after the adoption.

 People like Lisa Reid and Suzanne Roy are doing what they can to save these horses, but for every one saved there are more that are dying. They continue to work to save more horses. Their hope is that the majority end up at small stables in other parts of the country and avoid being slaughtered.

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CVU’s New Stomach Ache: School Lunchtime

By Harrison Young-Glatz

At Champlain Valley Union High School, lunchtime is becoming a hot topic due to the number of unmasked kids in close proximity to one another. Many kids end up sitting outside to cram fewer into the cafeteria, but with COVID cases still high in Vermont, some students are starting to worry that during the colder months, when kids stop eating outside, that the cafeteria will become a field day for the COVID-19 virus. Alex, an 11th grader at CVU, mentioned, “Man, It was crazy (on the first day of school); half the kids were outside.” He continued, “Like what’s gonna happen when it’s too cold to sit out there? Admin’s gonna have to do something about it.”

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The head director of the cafeteria, Leo LaForce, stated, “The school runs off of CDC guidelines. If the CDC ever deems masking or distancing no longer necessary, then lunchtime will be a lot more manageable.” 

Dr. Alex Huffman, an aerosol and bioaerosol specialist at the University of Denver, said on twitter, “Indoor lunches are high risk b/c: COVID is largely airborne, Masks are off, Kids are often packed closely, Many kids in one room, Kids are louder at lunch (so more aerosol is released).”

In response to this, LaForce had to say, “Yeah, I’m concerned about the kids who go home every day to immuno-compromised or younger/older family members. I know that most of the kids in our cafeteria are vaccinated, and symptoms aren’t likely as bad for vaccinated people, but then that kid could go home bringing the virus to their family members who aren’t as fortunate.” 

 If indoor lunches are deemed too risky by the CDC, CVU may have to revert back to 2020-21’s school year lunchtime model. A dozen or less kids in different rooms throughout the building, and the cafeteria would deliver bagged lunches to kids in those rooms. When questioned about this, LaForce replied, “I really hope it doesn’t go back to delivered lunch. I just want kids to have a normal lunch again.”

Administration could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

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Working under COVID: two views

By Mina Radivojevic

HINESBURG, VT – As an exchange student from Serbia, I haven’t been here for a long time, but one of the first things that I learned about Vermont is that a lot of places can’t keep up with demand since they don’t have enough people to keep businesses going.

The people who are holding many businesses together are actually busy, full- scheduled high school students. So, the best way to look at this situation is through two different lenses: grown up employer vs. high school employee. 

Will Patten, the owner of the Public House restaurant in Hinesburg, shared with me his view and experience with lack of workers and hiring students. CVU students, in this case. “So, we don’t have any trouble hiring people from CVU; that is pretty much all we can hire. Which is not great because most people don’t have any experience and they play sports. But that’s pretty much all we can hire now. For people in high school, a job is a form of independence, a way out of the house. It’s gas money, it’s a third place. It’s home, school and now a job. So that’s not where the problem is, the problem is with people who are on their own, supporting themselves, paying the rent, have mortgages and car payment. Those are the people that aren’t coming to work. And it’s not just restaurants, it’s everybody. Every business in Hinesburg wants to hire somebody. It’s crazy. “ 

Patten also made a note that his cafe needs to be closed for two days of the week due to lack of workers.

Lila Shober, one of the working CVU students, had a similar experience at her workplace because of the same problem. “I work at the Windjammer Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturdays. I work in an environment that’s really busy because of the lack of workers. Sometimes parts of our restaurant are closed because of the lack of staff,” she said.

At the same time, Shober had found the silver lining of what’s going on: “But some perks about it is that I do get more income. It’s very stressful being there three times a week. After school. After practice. It can be really tiring and I do go to school tired sometimes, but I do like having extra money. And I am really worried about, at least, my restaurant staying above float so I always try and help out as much as I can.”

One more perk that Shober pointed out is the fact that there are more options to choose from, since there’s no one else to work.

To answer my question why they think this is happening and what role COVID plays, Patten and Shober didn’t hesitate much. 

Patten claims that, during COVID, people were taught not to work. He also considered all that we’ve been going through lately, putting climate change right next to the pandemic as one of the factors why people lost their belief in progress.

Shober’s interpretation of the situation is that people’s mental health was what got most damaged by coronavirus, and that it had also put a lot of fear into people, making them even scared to go out.

Not only did COVID affect people’s work ethic in this and the previous year, but we have yet to see what’s to come and how it will affect the future for businesses and lives in Vermont.

Original photo by Ethan Cook

Should Vermonters be required to wear masks?

By Ethan Cook

After the brief low of Covid cases over the summer, many people still haven’t gotten their masks back on. Covid cases in Vermont have actually increased since the so-called ‘peak’ of the pandemic, yet many people still aren’t covering their faces while inside.

This is because the vaccine has been thought of as preventative, when it really serves mostly as a reduction of symptoms. According to an article on NBC5 from October 12th, “just over 3,600 fully vaccinated Vermonters have contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated, also known as a ‘breakthrough’ case of COVID-19 as of Oct. 12. That represents roughly 0.8% of fully vaccinated residents.” This data tells us that vaccinations greatly reduce the severity of the virus, but do less of a good job at preventing it altogether. That is a job for masks and other precautions. 

The same article also helps by explaining when to wear masks. “The CDC’s updated mask guidance says fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks or physically distance indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions. People should wear masks in crowded indoor locations like airplanes, buses, hospitals and prisons.” Vermont laws include schools as well.

However, masking is still being pushed back against by some individuals. Masks have been a crucial part of most Americans’ lives for the past year. Laws have been constantly changing in regard to whether or not masks are a necessity, and Vermont is no exception. The Vermont government has put in place regulations requiring masks in schools, and all members of the executive branch, which includes politicians, police officers, and other government workers, were to get vaccinated.

 At the end of August 2021, Twinfield Union school had already closed classrooms due to cases of Covid, and prisons in Vermont have started requiring masks again after over 20 people were diagnosed. Northern Vermont University decided it was best to switch back to online schooling when eight students got Covid in a week. Sylvia Plumb, director of marketing and communications, stated that, “with cases rising in Vermont and throughout the United States, this is not unexpected. This underscores how critically important it is for our community to be vaccinated, masked up properly while inside, and testing as appropriate.” 

Governor Scott thinks that the problem is that people are not getting vaccinated. “Vaccines are still changing the game. We need people to keep stepping up to get their shot and to get the booster when the time comes.” Covid-19 statistics showed an upcoming decrease in early September, but through those weeks, there had been increases of over 20 percent.  On September 23rd, we had a day in which 289 new cases were diagnosed in Vermont. The situation has gotten much worse since June, but taking as many precautions as possible will help to bring us back to normal.

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First Semester of School, Last Year of Covid ?

By Ian Dunkley

HINESBURG, VT  – A student walks off a big yellow bus and onto the Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) campus for the first time.  Like many before them, they have butterflies in their stomach, but can’t wait to start their new life in high school. The first day of school was August 26th, with students and teachers alike getting right back into the swing of things. To see how the community was feeling about the return, I spoke with several people about events that they would like to see return in the 2021-22 school year.

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Original photo by Ian Dunkley

Donovan, a senior in Nichols core, told me, “Rally or the winter carnival.” Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some students haven’t had the opportunity to attend large group events like these, and experience how fun they can be.

Jasmine is also a senior from Nichols. “I’m more like the person that wanted to see [...] the after school things like prom,” she said.

The next thought that Donovan and Jasmine shared was related to this year’s academic system compared to last year. Donovan described the courses as “a little harder” and attributed the increase in difficulty to the five in-person days per week we now have. Jasmine thought the opposite. ”I think they are easier because like, at least we’re not doing online learning, which was hard at least. [...] It’s easier because we got to see each other.” 

One new change implemented this year is a  program called Community, Clubs, Connect, better known as C3. To better understand the purpose of C3, I asked co-creator Zach Smith why he developed the program, “In part with Emily [Rinkema] here, a bunch of other faculty and staff, it was actually something that over the last few years was developed by a bunch of committees made up of a lot of different teachers and leaders at CVU. So it was about a two-year process to design it. And this is just our first year implementing it. [...] Our purpose, one, has been students have been remote or in some form of remote learning for the past two years, and a lot of students are missing out on those social connections and C3 is a great way to bring our focus in now not just like our staff, but our community. We really want to encourage those connections as much as possible this year, [...] our number one thing here is to engage students. And with clubs, in the past clubs have only met after or before school, so it was inequitable. So a big part of having C3 in the middle of the day, is all students can attend it, it’s time to either connect with the teacher find a new community or club that interests them, whereas in the past, it was only equitable to students who had a form of transportation or who didn’t have a job after school or siblings to take care of.” 

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Original photo by Ian Dunkley

 The final person I spoke with was Jamie Hayes, CVU’s very own campus supervisor. I asked Jamie how she usually connects with the new, and returning students, especially after last year. She told me, “Honestly, it’s really hard, it’s a very difficult thing to do. We try to talk or I personally try to talk to people in the hallways, whether it’s like, hey how you doing today, or sometimes I’m like yo your shirt is awesome [...]  It’s really hard getting to know ninth-graders and transfer students just because we don’t see them as often. I just try to talk to people every day and get people comfortable with seeing me and talking with me, and hopefully, eventually form a connection where they might come up and say hi.”

Finally, I asked Jamie how this year compares to last year. “I think it just feels more chaotic. [...] Yeah, it was too quiet last year. It’s just really really nice to see everyone together again and you see everyone you know, happy to see each other too.” 

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What does it mean to be a CVU Journalist?

By: Phoebe Henderson

HINESBURG, VT– As a Junior at Champlain Valley Union High School, I wasn’t sure what to expect when joining the group of journalists for my last quarter of the year. I had little to no knowledge about what it meant to be a journalist. After completing my Creative Writing class second quarter, I learned that I have a passion for writing stories and poems. This influenced my decision to join the Journalism class taught by Amanda Terwillegar. 

My experience this year gave me the chance to dig deeper into the world of local news. I have never been one to read the newspaper or watch the news, but becoming a journalist has opened up new opportunities and experiences for me. Personally, I wouldn’t have normally chosen a writing class that involves interviewing people outside of the classroom, but doing so has taught me to speak up and become more involved with our local community.

An average day in Journalism consisted of first reading the news and sharing out amongst the class some of the top headlines from breaking news websites such as BBC, CNN, VTdigger, etc. Then we moved into editing our individual stories.

There are many different forms of journalism that we worked with, such as investigative journalism, where journalists dive deep into a certain topic, researching and interviewing different ideas (these pieces tend to be longer). A roll-in piece is a film that includes main footage of a specific topic, along with a voice over explaining what’s happening in the short video which we then sent over to the CVU Show. “Hard news” refers to breaking news and is normally a much shorter and very relevant piece. Lastly, feature articles tell you what you want to know; they take you behind the scenes and explain everything in much more depth and greater length. I worked mostly with feature and hard news pieces.   

As you know, Covid has played a major role in our education system this year. School schedules were shifted and classes were cut in half. Meaning that I was only able to experience Journalism in half a semester. Although we were cut short with time,  we made the best of it and ended up receiving a lot of consistent news regarding the pandemic that then got turned into pieces.

All of our pieces go through editing and revising once completed. Then they either get posted on the CVU Chronicle, which can be found on the CVU website, or are passed onto the CVU show!

If you are interested in writing or even just need another English credit, I highly recommend joining Journalism. It gives you a new perspective on writing and can open up new opportunities of learning filled with great experiences!

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What CVU has Learned About Covid-19

Kobey Pecor

HINESBURG, VT–I was reading a Vox news article about how the Pandemic has affected the United States and this one line struck me: “America has an opportunity to learn from its mistakes during the Covid-19 pandemic.” So, I was interested and I wanted to connect this back to my community and my school and get their point of view on how Covid has affected CVU.

I spoke with two teachers, Tim Wile (Lead Counselor) and Rahn Fleming (Director of Learning Center)  about the strengths and weaknesses of COVID-19 on CVU. 

Both Fleming and Wile both gave me similar responses to questions. They both very much value relationships  in their lives, especially what they do as their jobs.  Communication and Relationships seemed to be the heart of the conversation.

I asked, “What would you do differently to prepare for the next pandemic?”

“The first word that comes to mind is communication, Having new ideas brought up on the fly. Generating, Decimating, and following up on new   information,” said Fleming.

I asked what CVU has learned about COVID-19, and this is where relationships between students and teachers became valuable. Wile said,  “I think relationships for students and teachers have been very valuable this year, only being able to see each other 2 days a week.” Fleming also said something similar to this. “Looking out for each other, taking the 1 on 1 conversations between students and staff to heart.” The CVU community values relationships, teachers love their jobs here because of the student connection between everyone.

CVU has done numerous amounts of positive things during this pandemic. Both Wile and Fleming came up with multiple responses to the question What CVU has done well during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wile, our Lead Counselor, focused a lot on how well he thinks the CVU community did on creating a schedule that provides students that come in 2 days a week with either Cohort A or B with the learning that is needed. They coped with the fact that not all students are provided with good Wifi or cellular data to access their asynchronous learning at home, but they figured out ways to make it work. Wile quoted “I think the way CVU set up our schedule was very helpful and productive this year, our focus on student well being and content this year was quite good. Going onto a 4v4 schedule made a big difference for students and staff.”

Fleming, The Director of the Learning Center, didn’t have the same view as Wile on what CVU has done well during the pandemic, but he still had positives! If you knew Rahn, he absolutely loves students and working with anyone. Fleming said, “I really think we did a great job at patience and coming up with answers on the fly.” Fleming also spoke about how teachers are taking the time to connect and see students for extra help and just seeing them, because only coming to school 2 days a week isn’t much time. 

 

photo by Debbie Seaton

Was Prom Really That Different This Year?

By Georgia Bruneau, Mon, June 7th, 2021

HINESBURG- As we know CVU prom was a little different this year. Aside from adding masks to everyone’s outfits, our biggest change was the location. Prom this year was held outside right next to the school. A lot of work went into making this prom enjoyable for everyone. There was a big tent, a dance floor, and even food trucks. That’s a first for our students here and as much fun as it was, most hope for it to be the last.

CVU senior, Maggie Bruneau voiced her opinion on the dance. “It was okay, better than how I expected it to be but, to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m a little disappointed that I will never get to experience a true high school prom but this was fun too. I appreciate the hard work the staff put in to make the night enjoyable and fun for everyone. The food trucks were cool and different, and the red carpet was really pretty throughout the school. I could tell there was a lot of effort put into it.” 

Sophomore Esther Cuneo, like Bruneau, shared the experience of her first prom. “For my first ever prom it is definitely not how I dreamt it would be. But it was fun, very close to normal, I would say it felt like life was almost normal again. But for the circumstances, it looked way better than I thought. The staff definitely put their best efforts into the decorations and it showed, I honestly didn’t think it would look that good. And the food trucks were a great bonus. As for the actual dance… I didn’t stay long. But everyone I saw looked great and seemed to be having a really good time. Overall I would say it was a success, and now our proms can only get better from here” But fortunately unlike Bruneau, that won’t be Cuneo’s last CVU prom, and like she said, “Our proms can only get better from here.”

Some of the prom chaperones have a different viewpoint on how the night really went. “Everyone came in looking great, high spirits, everyone seemed really happy, which was normal prom stuff.” Says campus supervisor Seth Emerson. “It seemed like everyone was having a really good time, the dance floor was crowded the whole time, it looked like people were having a blast! It came out better than I expected.”

Math teacher “Jersey Steve” Reinman agrees with Emerson’s lively take on the prom evening but sets a more realistic tone for the night. “Prom was totally different this year, you had to wear a mask, it wasn’t at the venue it was at CVU in the back of the parking lot, there were a lot of restrictions on what we could and couldn’t do, but that being said, prom was totally awesome this year. The food trucks out there were really cool, and way more people came than I thought.” 

As for Steve’s expectations, the night went above and beyond dealing with the restrictions we had. “But it wasn’t like prom a couple of years ago like when it was at the old lantern in Charlotte, that was a really nice place. But for what our guidelines were, I think we knocked it out of the park!” Most agree with this honest statement, for dealing with a global pandemic our prom staff really made the night “almost normal.”

Photo by Debbie Seaton

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NYC Schools to Open in Fall 2021

Hailey Chase

NEW YORK, NY– On Monday May 24, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools can return to in-person learning in the fall of 2021 in response to relaxed COVID guidelines and increasing vaccination rates in the city.

The mayor expects that schools will be able to accommodate all students while respecting guidelines put forth by the CDC, one concerning rule being social distancing. NYC is home to over 1 million students, and the 3 feet of social distance may become difficult to obey in the highest-populated city in the United States. In response to these concerns, the mayor noted that he expects the CDC to alter social distancing guidelines between now and September. 

The mayor expects there to be a remote option, and schools will switch to remote learning on snow days to continue teaching.

Many colleges and universities have already announced a “normal” return to school in the fall, and it is likely that other cities will follow in de Blasio’s footsteps.

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Wacky Ways to Encourage Vaccination

Jagger Lehouiller  5/20/21

WILLISTON VT– With vaccines rapidly rolling out around the world, hospitals and communities are finding ways to make the vaccine fun, a little more interesting, and more enticing for those who are reluctant.  

Many US states are getting involved. Connecticut is offering a free fountain  drink at select restaurants and stores for those who can provide a vaccination record; Connecticut is now also leading 4th in vaccination rates as of 5/21/21 in the US. 

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Not only is the US finding ways to draw in the community; it’s global. Even Romania is offering vaccines at Dracula’s Castle! According to the BBC, “Medics with fang stickers on their scrubs are offering Pfizer shots to everyone who visits the 14th-century Bran Castle in central Romania.”

Also in Washington and Wisconsin,  select tap houses they are offering a free beer with proof of vaccination referred to as a “shot and chaser”.

Vermonters are getting coupons for a free ice cream with vaccination record.  According to the Vermont Department of Agriculture,  “All the participating creemee vendors have joined in this effort to help protect the public from the coronavirus by covering part of the cost of each creemee,” the agency wrote on its website. “The coupons are limited to the first 10,000 people who receive a vaccine dose on a first-come, first serve basis, until all coupons have been claimed.”

With vaccination rates on the rise, and new incentives getting people vaccinated, things are looking up for our communities.

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How does CVU Feel About Governor Scott’s Three-step Plan?

By Georgia Bruneau, Mon, May 10th, 2021

HINESBURG- With now three effective vaccines and nearly 50% of Vermont’s population vaccinated, we can construct goals and a plan to bring back “normal” life.  Governor Phill Scott has come together with a three-step plan.  The first part of the plan started April 9th; this includes ending travel quarantine requirements, and instead replacing them with testing unvaccinated individuals in less than three days of returning to Vermont. Step two of this plan starts in May and involves increasing the number of people in gatherings inside and outside. The third and final part of the plan is lifting the mask mandate on July 4th. “We’re in the last laps of this race and this plan shows how we can finish strong if we all do our part,” said Governor Scott. 

However, some Vermont residents have worries and concerns about this “good news.” “I would like to have current data on how often the disease is spread while people are still vaccinated,” said CVU math teacher Hannah Carey. Carey also says “If we can have gatherings of 150 inside, non-spaced, and no masks by July 4th, why do I have to wear a mask in a classroom with 27 other kids next year? Where’s the logic here? If you’re suggesting I wear a mask in the fall in my classroom to prevent getting Covid, then why is okay for other people to attend a 150 person wedding inside without being spaced, and you’re eating? How is that all going to work?” 

But teachers aren’t the only ones who have an opinion on the matter. A student from CVU speaks on behalf of the student body about the news: “I feel really excited about the fact that masks could possibly be gone in the near future. If the plan is truly effective it would be an amazing weight lifted off of many people’s shoulders. I think that we are partially on the right track. I think many people have good intentions and the vaccine is a great step in the right direction but many people are getting more relaxed about covid. I don’t have many worries about people not wearing masks by July 4th if everyone sticks to the guidelines; my only worry would be that we push it too fast and we begin to see a spike in cases and then we have to take more steps backward,” says sophomore Anna Morton.

Overall the CVU community is ecstatic about the Governor’s plan for normalcy, but we still seem to be slightly skeptical of the idea. Is it illogical like Carey said? Or a step in the right direction as Morton believes?

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Sports During a Pandemic: The Impact On Student Athletes and Coaches

Ryan Canty, Fri, May 7, 2021

HINESBURG – The 2020-2021 “Covid season” has brought some high school sports teams success and others a hyphenated schedule or even no season at all. As an athlete, I was curious about the impact this season has had on coaches and players in the CVU community. 

Tim Albertson is the head coach for the CVU Varsity Baseball team. “Everybody is extremely grateful for the opportunity to play,” Albertson said. “After watching a full season of games get taken away, the fact that we get to play has made a major impact.” 

After the cancelation of the 2020 spring sports season, some teams find themselves with an opportunity to play the game they love, but for others, the 2021 season was cancelled. The Vermont principals association announced in November that boys’ wrestling and the indoor track and field seasons would be canceled. “I felt pretty sad,” says senior Sebastian D’Amico while reflecting on the cancelation of the 2021 wrestling season. “It’s because I’d been working out a lot and getting in shape. I wanted to win.”  

Covid restrictions and protocols have made it harder overall for teams to compete during the 2020-2021 school year. In the fall, boys football had to downgrade to a 7v7 no contact format. While in the winter, boys and girls hockey had hyphenated schedules and indoor track and wrestling were canceled. 

Seth Boffa, a senior running back for the Redhawk Football team said, “We made the best of it; it was still a lot of fun playing.” However, he went on to say that “being a running back, I couldn’t even run the ball.” 

The ongoing spring sports seasons have already seen adjustments to the Covid restrictions and protocols. The non-contact sports such as baseball, softball, girls and boys tennis and track and field no longer have to wear their masks as long as they are properly 6 feet apart. High-contact sports such as boys and girls lacrosse and boys and girls ultimate frisbee still require masks at all times.

 

For the full story, including interviews with coaches, check out the CVU Show’s May 18, 2021 episode.

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Vermont Mask Restrictions Blown Away?

Sawyer Thorpe

5/14/2021

MONTPELIER, VT– CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky released a statement Thursday evening that abolished mask restrictions for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Today, Governor Phil Scott released a statement saying, “The fact is, if you’re fully vaccinated, the health experts at the CDC have determined there is very little risk. It’s time to reward all the hard work you’ve done over the past 14 months to make Vermont’s pandemic response the best in the country.” 

Additionally, Governor Scott announced that people arriving from out of state no longer need to be tested for COVID-19, skipping 2 weeks forward in the restart plan. Not only do travelers from out of state no longer need to get tested, they also no longer need to quarantine for 2 weeks before beginning their adventures.

As of this press release, nothing has yet come from the CVU administration about how these developments will impact our community.

The Class Of Covid And The Battle Of 2021

Jagger Lehouiller

Hinesburg VT–Hybrid learning has been a very difficult adjustment this year. I decided to interview several students at Champlain Valley Union High School to ask about their experience with Covid throughout their senior year to see if it has been as challenging for them as for me. 

 To my surprise, many students are feeling the same emotions as I am. One senior, Derek Pickard, stated, “although I believe that CVU is a great school and has tried many different solutions to all of the mayhem that was this year, I think student support may have gotten a little tangled this year. With so many other problems occurring and so many substitutions being made to continue the learning experience I believe that individual 1 on 1 student faculty help was not as supportive regardless of all the intent of it being there.”  Many students, specifically seniors, have seen a lack of support/ or enough support this year. With there being so many issues in and out of school, students have felt the school has turned a blind eye on them.

Senior Bella Serafini felt, “I have a very hard time with hybrid learning because I feel disconnected from my teachers and I feel as though learning material is much harder.” Lack of structure and support has led to students having a harder time adjusting to these new schedules. 

In the past, it was required for seniors to create a “Graduation Challenge”. It was an interest-based learning experience built around something you enjoy, and/or are interested in. This challenge was required to graduate, and most looked forward to it. This year, the Grad Challenge is not the same as it was; now students are expected to create a slideshow reflecting their past, present, and future. With minimal information and confusing guidelines this change has led students to confusion.

One student said, “As of today May 6th 2021 I have put zero thought into my graduation slide. I feel as if it is an excuse to make other students who have graduated before feel as if they did there project for nothing a slideshow about myself will not prove to anyone the person am I compared to previous grad projects where you could reflect on what u love through helping the community” another students states, “I think Grad Challenge is a good way to connect with the community, but I think there is too much pressure associated with it.” 

CVU has had quite a confusing and difficult year, but as seniors we have proven to overcome all obstacles. 

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CVU Students on Board the Vaccination Bandwagon

By Erin Fina

HINESBURG- A recent poll conducted at Champlain Valley Union High School shows that out of 274 CVU students, 52% of CVU students have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine, and 19% are fully vaccinated. 

This is great news, as Vermont’s Governor, Phil Scott, just gave the thumbs-up to give full access for the vaccine among Vermont teens 16-18 starting on April 17, 2021. Scott mentioned the importance of getting the group vaccinated as obviously it’s more steps in the fight to end the pandemic but also because, “after all they’ve had to give up over the last year, to allow [the age group] to have some sort of a normal graduation,” Scott said in article recently published by VT Digger. 

As of now, Vermont is ranked #1 nationally in vaccination rates, with 44% of Vermonter’s fully vaccinated and 62% with at least one dose. 

Vermonters throughout the state have been eager to return to normal life and here at CVU High School, we are no different. With 81% +/- of the CVU student body saying that they plan to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so already, an anonymous surveyor stated that the reason that they choose to get vaccinated was to “protect those around me and reach the herd immunity the world needs to return to the original normal”. Herd immunity, as Anthony Fauci explained, is reachable when 80% of the population is immune to the virus. 

At CVU, if all goes as planned, the CVU community could have the potential to reach full herd immunization rates by the start of the fall semester of 2021. 

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Can Hiking Help Your Mental Health?

By:Katrina Kajenski 5/4/2021

Hinesburg-This pandemic has taken a toll on student’s mental health. Without sports, and an overall lack of access to exercise, student’s mental health has certainly suffered. Studies from the Primary Care Companion Journal, show that lack of exercise can decrease mental help substantially. A senior from CVU in Hinesburg Vermont, Charlotte Couperthwait is a mental health advocate from Bring Change to Mind Club, and a two-varsity-sport-athlete. I spoke to her on May 4th about how mental health and exercise/sports correlate. 

When asked about how the pandemic has affected her mental health, Charlotte said that, “Covid definitely took a toll on my mental health. My anxiety was heightened dramatically and it was really hard to handle sometimes.” One strategy she recommended to the CVU community that helped her was to go outside on a hike with her family. In correlation with exercise and mental health, she said that “exercise can help. For me, it makes me feel productive and puts me in a growth mindset which I think is eneficial for mental health.” One thing she also wanted to share with CVU is to recognize that, “everyone is struggling right now, especially with the pandemic going on, but really try and focus on yourself and make sure you are doing stuff you enjoy. Look at the little things that make you feel better and try and do it more frequently.”

A study done by the Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry claims that just a short walk can affect brain function. The study states that, “thirty minutes of walking can reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods… This is done by improving self-esteem and cognitive functions.” Covid-19 has put many students into a “slump” and a great way to get over that hump is to start going outside. Listed below are some places in each town where you can go on a hike or a bike path. See you outside, CVU!

Willison: Williston Community Park/Cross VT Trail Location

Hinesburg: Geprags Community Park Location

Shelburne: Shelburne Bay Park  Location

Charlotte: Mt. Philo State Park Location

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India’s COVID-19 Second Volley

Sawyer Thorpe

INDIA– In the beginning of the pandemic the Indian government downplayed the critical situation that COVID-19 would put them in, and now instead of the government suffering, it’s the people. 

As of this report, casualties continue to climb: the current death toll in India is at about 700 per day. Although, that is currently thought to be 20% less than the actual number due to under-reporting. As the pandemic continues, the Indian government continues to spend money on things such as state houses and government buildings. Instead of spending this money on the citizens of India. Doctors and nurses in India are beginning to fall ill which is complicating the pandemic crisis.

Throughout the pandemic, Indian politicians had publicly posted on twitter their thoughts on the reaction of their government to soon later have that same government take their post down off of the website. 

“India will never forgive PM @narendramodi for underplaying the corona situation in the country and letting so many people die due to mismanagement.” Said Moloy Ghatak, an Indian government official publicly stated on Twitter.

As Indian residents continue to call out their government about how ill prepared they were and still are to face a pandemic, their words are partially silenced and hidden away by their government.

As international efforts to give aid to nations in poverty are underway, Indian government officials continue to ignore the safety boundaries that was announced by the World Health Organization. It was reported that the prime minister of India had a political rally with it’s home minister as well.

As India once exported COVAX vaccines in large numbers, they have more recently halted all exports in order to vaccinate the citizens of India instead of those of the entire world due to the inability to prepare for the unknown waves to come.

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Teaching During Covid: An Interview With CVU’s Jeff Hindes

By Brennan Murdock, Fri, May 7, 2021

HINESBURG – This year has been tough on all of us, and we’ve all had changes in our everyday lives. One of the largest topics that I’ve seen covered during this global pandemic has been how students like me feel about returning for the 2020/ 2021 school year. How our classes have been split up, how we have to wear masks, and how we have to take many other precautions that interfere with our education. As a student, I’ve heard all about that. What I haven’t heard about at all is what it was like for teachers to adjust to these huge changes in the classroom, to deal with split classes, shortened courses, and online work.

Has it been easier or harder? More or less stressful? I am curious about the pros and cons of teaching at CVU during the COVID-19 pandemic, and am looking to shine some light on how this school year has been for our educators. What was it like shortening courses, communicating with students while wearing a mask, dealing with online classes, and only seeing half of their regular students in person each day?

Jeff Hindes, a CVU Humanities teacher, described this year as “logistically challenging.” He compared shortening his course material to “creating an abridged version of a book”, where it was crucial to select the most important themes in order to still convey the same story, but in a smaller amount of time. Hindes also said that he personally doesn’t find wearing a mask to be much of a hindrance when teaching, but expressed some difficulty in communicating with students. “The biggest problem that I have is understanding students, particularly those who are already a little soft spoken to begin with.” 

Here at CVU, students are split into two groups by last name. The first group has in person classes on Monday and Tuesday and asynchronous work on Thursday and Friday, the second group has the opposite schedule. On Wednesdays, however, classes are fully virtual and include students from both groups. This form of online schooling has been a big challenge for some teachers, but it certainly has its pro’s, too. “On Wednesday I have my Thursday/Friday and my Monday/Tuesday kids all in the same place, and so I can introduce a concept or introduce a project and then students can begin to work on it, and because they’re all in the same place at the same time, I only have to explain it once,” Hindes said. This is one of the best things about remote Wednesdays for teachers. It’s a perfect opportunity to provide instruction on upcoming or current assignments while all of their students are present at once. The downside is that most students and teachers are forced to sit in front of a screen all day long, which can get very tedious.

Separated students means much smaller in person class sizes, yet another strange adaptation brought to the classroom during this school year. Hindes stated that he doesn’t necessarily see this as good or bad, but “just kind of weird.” Some classes can be as small as four students, which definitely aligns with the phrase “just kind of weird.” While tiny classes are a lot to get used to at first, they can provide a much more focused class that can more easily adjust its pace to the needs of each student, since there are so few. 

This year has had no shortage of stress for any of us. Most would say it has been much more stressful than previous years. However, Hindes’ response to this question came as a bit of a surprise. “I think all things being equal, the stress level is about the same as a normal school year, but the stressors are different, if that makes sense.” He went on to say that during a normal school year he has many more moving parts, and sees more students each day. So for Hindes, his work for school is less stressful than normal, but the added stress of a global pandemic brings it back up to a fairly regular level. He is hopeful that next year, things will be returning to a relatively normal state.

For me, this school year at CVU has just been different, rather than bad. It’s had its issues, but has ended up being a learning experience for everyone, even teachers. Through these huge changes, we’ve been able to more easily see what worked well and what didn’t, and hopefully move forward with the best of both worlds. With vaccines now being distributed and fully in-person school nearly in sight, we can finally have hope that the next few years won’t be quite so chaotic for our students and educators, or for the rest of the world.