Hello Vanguard Families,

On behalf of VFES and The Vanguard School, I wish you a happy new year!
 
I am writing today to provide you with our plan to re-open for in-person instruction starting Tuesday, January 19, 2021. We all know that January 19, 2021 was the identified day to return to in-person instruction and we plan to do just that. In fact, after deliberations and following the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) most recent recommendations to bring young students (elementary) back as soon as January 25, we have created a schedule that increases the number of staff and students on campus between January 19 and February 16.
 
We have all eagerly awaited this return to campus and in-person instruction. We are excited to get the ball rolling in order to bring all students back in a safe and orderly fashion. Below you will find our staggered re-opening plan. 
 
It is our goal, as of this writing and barring any direction from PDE, The Department of Health or the Governor’s office to the contrary, to have the campus at ‘full’ operations, 4 days/week as of Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Below is the breakdown of returning students and employees. I will spell out, as best I can, the staggered approach to returning the Vanguard School staff and students and VFES staff.
 
Week of January 19 (Closed on Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and week of January 25:
• Cohorts A and B will operate on the 2 days in-person/3 days remote schedule that we started on October 26, 2020.
 
Week of February 1:
• All Elementary School Students will resume 4 days/week of in-person instruction. 
• All Intensive Teaching Classrooms supported by PaTTAN will resume 4 days/week of in-person instruction. These students and their families will receive additional communication from the program supervisor.
• All remaining MS and HS students, as well as all VTC students will remain on the 2 days/week in-person instruction, 3 days/week remote until February 15, 2021. 
• Wednesdays will remain remote for the foreseeable future.
 
Week of February 16 (Closed on Feb. 15 for President’s Day):
• All Vanguard Students, including remaining MS, HS and all VTC students will resume in-person instruction 4 days/week. 
• Wednesdays will remain remote for the foreseeable future.
 
The Vanguard School Leadership Team will ensure communication to all transportation departments and LEAs over the next several days. We realize there may be some missteps in the weeks ahead, but with planning, preparation and enough advance notice, we believe we will minimize the missteps and slowly re-open the School and campus for 4 days of in-person instruction. I know some of you may be asking when we will go back to 5 days/week. My honest answer is, I do not know. For now, Wednesdays remain committed to enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of buildings, classrooms, playground equipment, etc.  All staff and students will be required to obey the public health guidelines established through the Health and Safety Plan for the foreseeable future. In fact, it is feasible that mask-wearing, social distancing and routine handwashing will all remain in place to the very last day of school in June. As in the past, we will continue to follow the rules and recommendations from the PA-DOH, Chester County Health Dept. (CCHD), PDE and the CDC. 
 
As of this writing, several of our Vanguard families have chosen to keep their student(s) in 100% virtual instruction. This option for instruction remains available through the end of this school year. For families who may be interested in transitioning their student(s) to in-person instruction, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your program supervisor to discuss how to safely and thoughtfully transition your student to in-person instruction. It will require planning and advance notice, but it is also an option available to families who eventually may be interested in in-person instruction.
 
We are working with Chester County Health Dept. to organize the administration of vaccines to any employee who is willing to receive it. As of this writing, we do not know any of the logistics. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold vaccination clinics here on campus. Therefore, we are uncertain of where and when we will be able to secure a vaccine. We know that educators are identified under Phase 1b and we hope to share as much information with our staff as soon as we get it. 
 
Please direct your questions to your student’s program supervisor. If you are uncertain who that may be, you may respond to this email and your question will be forwarded to Vanguard School Leadership. 
 
I am grateful for your patience and your support. We all look forward to seeing our students back on campus soon.

Best,
Grace

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