Tag Archives: Pandemic

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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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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.