By Guy Page
Mike Desautels, owner of a Newport store who was fined by the State of Vermont for not observing state mask mandates during the State of Emergency, today said his mask-free daughter is being kept out of class and in a guidance counselor’s room with no other students, no windows, and no teacher. Her Northeast Kingdom school is enforcing this isolation even though the student has a doctor’s note exempting her from wearing a mask.
“I got a doctor’s note for my daughter so she doesn’t have to wear a mask at school. She was in school for a week when the school nurse called us and said we have to have a diagnosis on her doctor’s note or she has to put a mask on or can’t come to school. I said I am not getting you more information because that is my daughter’s personal medical records. The superintendent said she will not be allowed in school without the diagnosis.
“I called my lawyer who also told them that they cannot have that information. The NCSU lawyer wrote my lawyer and said she can’t be in school without it. My lawyer then sent the guidelines from the department of education and said we will not give that information and they better let her in school and not wear a mask.”
“Then we get an email yesterday afternoon from the principal:
Dear Mike & Amy,
As you requested, here is the information regarding classroom participation for your daughter. Your child will be offered a mask upon entering the school building unmasked. The mask offer was declined today. Per direction from Superintendent John Castle, Friday, she will be isolated in the classroom to the extent possible. Tuesday, she will be isolated outside of the classroom if she is not wearing a mask or does not have a diagnosis from the doctor.
“So this [Wednesday] morning in school my daughter was pulled out of her class. She was sent to the nurses office, where she stayed with the guidance counselor. I am not sure but the guidance counselor is a certified teacher? We need a little guidance – do we pull her out? We can’t leave her in a room with no windows or a teacher. I can’t leave her in school like this. How can they be allowed to do this?”
Editor: readers are encouraged to provide possible solutions in the ‘comments’ section for this article.
SCHOOL BOARD CANCELS MEETING WHEN UNMASKED PARENTS APPEAR – Mask-free students aren’t the only Vermonters being excluded from normal school processes. As reported in the media, the Missisquoi Valley (Northwestern Franklin County) School District board cancelled a school board meeting in progress last night. An on-the-scene witness, Suz Seymour, offered this account in an email last night:
“I went to attend the Missisquoi Valley School Board meeting tonight in Swanton, and literally, as we were walking down the corridor to enter, a flood of folks came walking out and said ‘The meeting has been cancelled.’ I watched as many from the school board all in masks, furtively skirted away from us, the JQ Publix (almost all not in masks). Questioning the parents in the parking lot, they said that they had entered were very far away from the school board members, and were asked to put masks on before the meeting could be called to order. The board chair said ‘I’ll call this meeting to order as soon as everyone puts on masks.’ Nobody did. So he said, ‘Okay this meeting is cancelled.'”
The MVSD dashboard shows 10 cases reported in the last seven days in its Swanton, Highgate, and Franklin schools.
County Courier (covering Franklin County) editor Greg Lamoureux today asked Gov. Scott if a State of Emergency would be needed to restore the functioning of local government. Scott said he didn’t think that would be necessary.
SCHOOL MASK MANDATE EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 4, VAX INCENTIVE GRANTS OFFERED – Gov. Phil Scott announced today the ‘advisory’ that all students and staff remain masked has been extended to October 4, in light of the high transmissionability of the Delta wave of Covid-19. He also said Agency of Education officials are preparing a grants totalling an estimated $2 million statewide to incentivize schools to reach an as-yet-undetermined threshhold of vaccination of eligible students – perhaps 70-80%, he said.
Students will have a say in how the money is spent, Scott said. Vermont Daily Chronicle asked him about the possibility of bullying by incentive-minded students:
“Your new school guidance gives students a say in how to spend millions in state grants if their school gets to 80%. That’s dangling a lot of money in front of children. Are you trying to incentivize children to exert peer pressure, and in any case how will you prevent zealous students from bullying uncooperative peers?”
“It’s a good project for kids to get involved with. It’s a good exercise for them,” Scott said. “Our education department will be monitoring the situation,” he said in an assuring tone, but added: “We want them to get enthusiastic.”