Dear Parents/Guardians:

It has been an exhausting two weeks, with cases in every school, high numbers of absences, large administration of Test to Stay kits and several classes out. In fact, today Barstow and Lothrop are out with over half of the student population affected (through close contacts). We are told we are in the midst of the peak of this surge and it will start to slow down in a week or two. Let us hope so. A huge shout out once again to our highly competent and professional nurses for all they are doing to trace, test, and communicate with families, and to our admin assistants and our principals/admin team for helping with this work. Every case can be several hours of contact tracing and positive cases are popping up seven days a week. Read below to see how things are changing.

This email covers

  • Board Vacancy Information

  • Changing School COVID Guidance

  • Vaccination and Booster Shot Information

  • Veggie Van Go Jan 24

  • MAEC Climate Survey for RNESU Parents

  • Superintendent Search Information

  • Calendar Notes

  • School Board Meetings 


The Barstow Unified Union School District is seeking candidates for the Office of School Board of Director* for the coming election in March 2022:

The Otter Valley Unified Union School District is seeking candidates for the Office of School Board of Director* for the coming election in March 2022:

*All seats are three year terms unless noted otherwise. Petitions are available through the links above, at your Town Clerk’s Office and the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union Central Office at 49 Court Drive in Brandon.  Requests for petitions can also be made by calling the RNESU Central Office at (802) 247-5757.

Completed petitions Consent of Candidate Form, are due to your Town Clerk by Monday, January 24, 2022.  Petitions for town specific seats require signatures of the lesser of 1% of registered voters or 30 signatures.  Petitions for at-large seats require the signature of 60 registered voters.


As of this writing, I do not have the official written guidance from the Agency of Ed, but I do have an overview of what to expect:

  • Schools will shift away from contact tracing and weekly PCR surveillance tests. Entire classrooms will not need to be sent home for being close contacts

  • Schools will send home rapid antigen test kits to unvaccinated and symptomatic students and to close contacts to test at home for five days before coming to school

  • Vaccinated students who are close contacts will be able to attend school without testing if asymptomatic. Students are considered fully vaccinated if they have completed their two dose series of a vaccine

  • School nurses will be able to test anyone in the school community who develops symptoms using rapid antigen or LAMP tests

So what does this mean? 

  • We will not be doing Test to Stay in classrooms of students nor sending home entire classrooms. 

  • Instead we will give test kits for at home testing to those identified as close contacts who are unvaccinated or symptomatic. 

  • Weekly surveillance testing will come to an end (date uncertain). 

For updated information on close contacts and what to do if you are positive:

When I receive complete guidance from the AOE, I will communicate the details further. 


Leicester School will have a Vaccination Clinic available for all families on Feb. 8 and March 3.

Registration is required through the state site. This is the link to the registration portal. 

 Please register only for the 2/8 clinic. We will schedule your child for dose 2 on the day of the 2/8 clinic as part of the exit process.

 Children ages 12-15 are now eligible for a booster shot. See Health Department FAQ for more information or talk to your child’s pediatrician. Appointments are available in the state's registration system.


Veggie Van Go is a free fruit and vegetable distribution to all RNESU families and staff.  Normally occurring on the 3rd Monday of each month, January’s date will change to Jan 24, from 10-11 am at the OVUHS parking lot. This event is sponsored by the Vermont Foodbank and is open to all students, families, and staff affiliated with all Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union Schools: Barstow Memorial, Lothrop Elementary, Neshobe Elementary, Otter Creek Academy at Leicester, Sudbury and Whiting., & Otter Valley Middle and High School. There are no eligibility requirements and no reservations needed. 


All RNESU Parents are invited and encouraged to complete the following anonymous Climate Survey for RNESU parents:

This Climate Survey is part of a study being conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) to understand how RNESU can advance equity across our district, including feelings and experiences of safety, belonging, and equitable access to high-quality instruction and support services. As you are the backbone of our schools, your feedback will be so critical in informing this study.

If you have questions about the survey or the MAEC study, don't hesitate to contact Susannah White, Equity & Engagement Coach, . Thank you for your time and care in completing this important survey.


The Superintendent Search Committee has narrowed down the candidate field to three candidates  and will be conducting first round hiring committee interviews on Thursday, January 27. Plans are in place for students, faculty , staff and the community to meet the finalists once they have been identified. RNESU has a web page to keep the community informed about the search process. You can follow it here.

Important Reminders:

Calendar Notes

  • No School Jan 17 for Martin Luther King Day

  • Early Release Jan 21 for Staff Professional Learning Committees

  • February break is the week of Feb. 21

  • Next year’s calendar is in development and should be completed in early February. The first day of school is anticipated to be Aug 31, 2022


School Board meetings are open to the public as in-person meetings with a zoom option for those who wish to attend virtually. Meeting information can be found on the district calendar or on the district website,,  

All boards have now approved budgets for 2022-2023 for voter approval on March 1, 2022. Stay tuned for more information or go to the board page to see the presentations.

Upcoming meetings:

  • RNESU Board meets Jan. 19, 5 pm

  • BUU Board meets Jan 31, 6pm 

  • OVUU meets Feb 2, 6pm. The Jan 19 meeting has been cancelled

Stay warm this weekend and watch for a possible snow storm Sun - Tuesday!

Jeanné Collins, Superintendent of RNESU

School Safety Hotline # (844) 723-3488 or or text to 274637, type in keyword SAFE4VT and then your tip