Beginning March 14, the Addison Central School District (ACSD) transitioned to “mask-optional” status following new Vermont state guidelines. In an email sent to the ACSD community, ACSD Superintendent Peter Burrows thanked students and staff for helping keep the school safe over the past two years and emphasized how all members of the community could now decide whether or not to wear a mask.
ACSD is a public district comprising nine schools and approximately 1,000 students from seven towns. The district includes Mary Hogan Elementary School and Middlebury Union Middle and High Schools located in the town of Middlebury.
“It is completely understandable that we will each approach this change from our own personal experiences,” Burrows said in the email. “Within our schools, staff have focused on talking to and supporting students with their masking decisions while working to create a community that respects each individual’s choice.”
ACSD announced Feb. 16 that they were planning to re-evaluate mask mandates following Governor Phil Scott’s announcement that schools with a vaccination rate of 80% and higher did not need to extend the mask mandate starting Feb. 28.
After receiving this announcement, ACSD embarked on the process to re-consider masking policies, seeking input from the scientific community. The district hosted a COVID Community Conversation on March 8, featuring state experts and local pediatricians. The panel discussed public health and answered questions from the public.
The email announcement also linked a video featuring students and staff from Middlebury Union High School sharing their perspectives on whether or not they will continue to wear their masks, highlighting the importance of individual choice. Some stated that they would continue to wear masks to protect themselves and immunocompromised family members. Other students shared that they felt safe enough to unmask at school again and welcomed a return to normalcy after two years of wearing masks at school.
ACSD will continue to provide antigen testing for students and staff and keep their Covid-19 reporting dashboard updated.
Charlie Keohane ‘24 is an Editor at Large.
She previously served as SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.
Keohane is undeclared but is planning to study environmental studies, creative writing, and psychology. She is also a member of the women’s track and field team and a radio host on WRMC. This past summer, she interned at the Middlebury Admissions Office and now spends her free time hiking, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.