Dear Parents/Guardians

Schools in the supervisory union have experienced many cases these past three weeks and several classes have needed to shut down. A number of students and adults alike have had positive test results. As we head into the holidays, please keep in mind our young students and their families and wear a mask at indoor gatherings. It is a small thing to do but can affect many! 

The December break begins on Dec. 23 and students return to school on Jan. 3. Enjoy every minute. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!

This email covers

  • Gifts of Gratitude

  • Surveillance Testing Dec. 20

  • MAEC Climate Survey for RNESU Parents

  • Virtual Academy for 2nd Semester Enrollment Dec. 22

  • Superintendent Search

  • Food Options for Families

  • Testing Options Including Test to Stay

  • School Board Meetings and Board Openings

  • Reminder: Early Release Day Dec. 17


December is a month when many people focus on giving and kindness. This month, RNESU is focusing on Gifting Gratitude for our staff to recognize the positive things our staff do on a daily basis.  

A digital form has been created to facilitate an outpouring of appreciation for what our staff does for students and their families. Whether large or small, each day is filled with small acts of kindness, connection and support that contribute to individual successes and well-being. 

 If you would like to show your heartfelt gratitude for an RNESU staff member, click on this link and submit your message of appreciation. Your message will be delivered with care during the month of December to the recipient. Note: It will be anonymous unless you put your name on the actual message.

Surveillance Testing Dec 20

Due to the holiday break coming up, Surveillance testing will be done on Monday Dec 20 the week of vacation instead of Wed Dec 22. The next testing will be offered on Wednesday Jan 5 upon our return. 

Note: We will not be contact tracing during the break. If you have a positive case in your household (and we sincerely hope not), please call the Department of Health and leave a message at your child’s school. We wish health and happiness for all of our students, staff, and families. 

Virtual Academy 2nd Semester Enrollment Deadline Dec. 22

Applications for Virtual Academy are now open for the second semester! If you are interested in having your student(s) enrolled from January-June, please visit the RNESU website to access the mandatory recordings and application. Please note that applications are due by December 22nd. This is a pilot program for the 2021-2022 school year only. 

 Superintendent Search Process

The RNESU board has begun the superintendent search process. They will be seeking input from the community over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for an email that gives more information!

 MAEC Climate Survey for RNESU Parents (Closes Jan. 31)

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.

 Food Options for Families

With the winter break approaching, we're sharing information about food resources for households with children. Last year, our schools were able to provide meals to students over breaks, but most schools, including ours,  are not able to do that this year. As a result, we want to be sure households know how to get food for their children while schools are on vacation. 

  • Veggie Van Go at OVUHS Monday  Dec. 20 from 10-11am, the Vermont Foodbank will distribute free fruits and veggies at Otter Valley Middle and High School, 2997 Franklin St, Brandon, VT 05733, through their Veggie Van Go Program.  All families of school children and staff are welcome!! This free monthly produce distribution (3rd Monday of each month) event 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. 

  • Everyone Eats is sponsoring restaurant made full meals for 1st come 1st serve pick up on the following dates and locations

  • Neshobe Elementary School Mondays 5-6pm

  • VT Farmers Food Center Rutland, Mondays and Thursdays 4-5:30 pm

  • Hunger Free Vermont has created a flyer on accessing Vermont food programs. Please share this flyer widely. The electronic version contains live links that will allow people to quickly connect with a variety of food resources and assistance.

 Important Reminders:

 Testing Options Including Test to Stay

Schools are now prepared to offer Test to Stay as an option if we have capacity to meet need when a positive contact is identified in a school. This means that if a student is identified as a close contact, is unvaccinated and has no symptoms, instead of quarantining they may be able to take a rapid antigen test at school every morning for seven days with parental consent and remain in school as long as results are negative! This will help us to reduce the number of times a student must learn remotely during a quarantine. 

In order to access this program, we need to have no more than a class or two affected at one time (we are limited in capacity in how many we can test at once) AND must have parental consent for the test AND have parental agreement to either stay with their child when tested or return to pick them up if their test is positive. 

 In order to give parental consent for this program, please fill out this form. We cannot use the tests on your child without it and your child will need to quarantine as they do now. Please give consent on BOTH forms:

VT AOE COVID Response Testing Consent Form

 School Based Consent

Barstow -

Lothrop -

Neshobe -


OV -

Please note: we can only use antigen tests for unvaccinated asymptomatic children and adults who were identified as close contacts. It will not be used on vaccinated people or those who have had COVID in the past few months, as it is not as effective and we do not have an unlimited supply. Anyone with symptoms, vaccinated or not, needs to stay home and take a PCR test.

School Board Meetings and Board Openings

In August, Board meetings returned to 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,,  

Current School Board meetings are largely focused on developing the budget for next school year. Attend or watch on Peg TV!

  • BUU Board meets Dec. 20, 6 pm at Barstow School and online

  • OVUU Board meets Jan. 5, 6 pm at OVUHS Library and online

  • RNESU Board meets Jan. 19, 5 pm at Lothrop School and online

Interested in serving on a school board? Go to the school board page on to learn what seats are open and to get a petition.

Have a wonderful, restful vacation! Stay well!

Jeanné Collins, Superintendent of RNESU

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