From The Desk of Dr. Grace
October 2020
Hello Everyone,

It is already the end of October. On one hand, the days crawl and on the other hand, they fly by.

It is a milestone month for VFES. On Monday, October 26, we will begin to strategically re-open our campus to students and staff. As I write this, staff have been coming and going all week to prep classrooms, identify needed supplies and take opportunities to say hello to colleagues they have not seen in 7 months. Our campus is ready to welcome everyone back. We have purchased (and will continue to purchase) necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we have identified student schedules and groupings and we have identified spaces on campus where classrooms can meet to maintain the social distancing requirements within classrooms. To our Vanguard Families, you should have received an e-blast on October 22 from me that included a link to the COVID-19 Family and Staff Handbook. This handbook includes public health guidelines and Vanguard School protocols. If you did not receive it, but you are receiving this newsletter, please respond to this newsletter so we can send you the link to the handbook.

As we welcome students and staff back into the Brutten and Mierley buildings, we will be welcoming them through newly-renovated front doors that lead to enhanced safety areas. Should you eventually have an opportunity to visit the campus and enter one of these buildings, you will find a waiting area and secure front doors that will be released inside the building by an administrative assistant. You will be asked to provide a state-issued photo ID and check-in through the visitor management system. Please Note: All visits must be scheduled in advance for the foreseeable future. All visitors will have their temperature taken and be asked to answer 5 questions before being allowed access through the second set of secured doors. If a visitor answers ‘yes’ to one of the questions, the visitor will be denied further entrance and will be required to leave campus. The screening questions are the same questions you have been answering when you go to medical offices or other community businesses.

The Adult and Recreation Services program continues to operate within the parameters of the counties our adults live in. We are happy to report that slowly, but surely, community businesses are re-opening, and many of the adults in employment support services are receiving services and working. If your child is an adult, 18 years and older, and faces barriers to employment, please reach out to Alexandra "Sascha" Baello, Director of Adult and Recreation Services for further information. Sascha’s email is albaello@vfes.net.

During these beautiful days of fall, we have also kicked off our Annual Appeal. I trust everyone has received our letter and list of ways you can support our efforts at VFES. Of course, we, like so many other nonprofit organizations have been faced with unplanned and unbudgeted expenses as a result of COVID-19. Your support for any of our efforts is always deeply appreciated and put to good use. If you would like to donate today, please click on this link: vfes.net/donate. Again, any support is a gift to us. As a nonprofit that runs an approved private school, the dollars you may read about being allocated to public schools do not trickle down to approved private schools. We are often ineligible for the additional fiscal support all our public schools enjoy. This is one reason why we have continued to solicit your generosity. Thank you again, for whatever support you can offer.

I hope you enjoy the pictures along the margins of the exterior renovation of the Mierley Building. The interior of Mierley and Brutten are equally beautiful.

As I said in my Annual Appeal letter, I am choosing to be optimistic and committed to ensuring the safety and health of our students, adult participants and staff. We open campus with our eyes wide open and plan to stay informed. We will wear masks, social distance and promote handwashing. Our students who are remaining virtual will be missed on campus, but we respect their choice to remain virtual. I ask all of us to do our part in our homes, communities and workplaces by wearing our masks.

I send my very best to you and your families. Please take good care of each other. We look forward to seeing everyone back on campus when the time is right.

Warmly,
Grace  
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