From The Desk of Dr. Grace
February 2021
Greetings!

Another month has all but passed. While it seems as if time is just flying by, it also seems to be crawling…crawling towards that light at the end of the tunnel. You know the light I’m talking about--the one where vaccines will eradicate this rampant virus and the community will begin to bustle again with activity. A signal that a new normal has started to take root. It is going to happen…and today we are closer to that reality than we were yesterday, so that is where I choose to focus…on today and tomorrow and what it can and will bring!

The Vanguard School opened its doors to almost all students and staff on Feb. 16. I say ‘almost all’ because we have over 60 students who have chosen to remain remote, possibly for the rest of this school year. However, any student who is interested in returning to school has that option for the rest of the school year. Of course, it is the goal of The Vanguard School to return to 100% in-person instruction as early as Extended School Year (ESY) this summer and if not by then, by September 2021. Remote instruction is a specific platform that must meet several standards. It must be licensed and approved by the PA Dept. of Education. If COVID-19 is under control and the public health experts agree that most, if not all, the guidelines can be lifted by July 2021, The Vanguard School will discontinue its remote instruction. We will resume ‘normal’ operations of 5 days/week of in-person instruction. However, I am getting ahead of myself as we barely know what tomorrow will bring, much less 5 or 6 months from now!

The takeaway is that school is open and public health guidelines are our mileposts. Everywhere on this campus there are signs, markers on the floor and students and staff walking 6 ft. apart. We will retain all guidelines until public health experts say it is safe to lift them. Adult and Recreation Services is considering the guidelines for our summer programming, as well. As of this writing, we are planning on providing our ‘traditional’ summer camp experience. In fact, registration for summer camp is now open. Just click on this link to register your camper. For more information on other summer programming, please visit http://www.vfes.net/ars. It is our goal to slowly make our way back to the old way of programming, but I stress, if the public health guidelines remain in place on a state and local level, VFES and all its programming will adhere to those guidelines and require that mask-wearing and other protocols be followed in all our summer programs.

We are making a new way on a path that used to be second nature. Coming to school used to be the norm. Today, we have to ensure the environment is protected as much as possible against a serious virus before allowing students and staff to return. Summer fun used to be as carefree as jumping into a pool or playing a game of tag. Today we have to ensure a physical distance of 6ft. and make sure no one is touching anyone. It’s hard to play tag that way! But, we will adjust, tuck and pivot because we will not let memories of summer fun and the routine of daily classroom instruction become a victim of this virus. Yes, it is slow progress, but we are experiencing progress nonetheless.

I invite you to join us in building a stronger future by doing what needs to be done today. Patience, gumption and heart…that is what we all bring. I hope you and yours continue to be safe and healthy. I look forward to the day we can welcome visitors back to our campus. Fingers crossed it is not too far away.

Best,
Grace Fornicola, PhD
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