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Family Newsletter 12.4.20

Dear Harwood Families,

After coming out of the woods on Wednesday night I was greeted by the sparkle of lights illuminating some of my neighbors’ trees and I found myself exhaling and immediately thinking of Elena Aguilar and her words about December, “The brain’s negativity bias is exacerbated by fatigue and poor self care, so the start of December is an optimal time of the year to focus on the bright spots.”

So, this weekend we want to invite you to literally “focus on the bright spots” by enjoying the River of Lights Festival throughout the Valley and Waterbury this year. See below for viewing sites: (lanterns made by Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston Elementary schools will be at the Waitsfield site.)

  • Dac Rowe Park - North Main Street, Waterbury - Entrance on Main Street with Exit on Winooski Street

  • Bonus Site - Winooski Street Bridge lit by Waterbury Winterfest

  • Crossett Brook Middle School - Route 100 - Duxbury

  • Camp Meade/Red Hen Bakery - Route 2 - Middlesex

  • Waitsfield Elementary - Route 100 - Waitsfield

This is a drive through event. Lanterns can be viewed for several hours well into the night. Lanterns will be ready to view by 5pm.

Perhaps this bright spot will inspire other reflections and moments that provide other metaphorically “bright spots.”

In partnership,

Laurie, Duane and Meg


Harwood Introduces Transit Cards for All Bus Riders

Beginning Monday, December 14, Harwood Union Middle/High School Bus riders will be issued Harwood Transit cards (ZPass System) to assist school staff with identifying what students ride which bus each day regardless of any change in the bus they take to or from school. This is more important than ever given during this COVID school year. Harwood will pilot this system in December with the goal of full implementation beginning January 2021. Please contact Duane Pierson at with any questions.

What is Zpass?

ZPass is an innovative student electronic ridership system which provides school staff with the time, date and location that a student enters and exits a school bus. The program software is widely used and trusted by school districts across the nation. Each school bus is equipped with a Transit Card reader. As students enter and exit their bus, they simply tap or swipe their transit cards in front of the card reader located at the bus entry door. (See the pictures above) The system then records the time, date and location of entry or exit. This data is transmitted to a secure database only accessible to school administrative staff and authorized transportation staff.

How will we use the Zpass system at Harwood?

All Harwood bus riders will be required to swipe their Harwood Transit Cards when boarding, riding or departing a school bus. In the event a student loses their ID or it is damaged, they will receive an additional ZPass ID free of charge during our pilot time period. If a student loses their ID, they will not be denied transportation; however they will need to obtain a replacement ID from the main office in a timely manner. Daily bus students will be required to use their Transit Card each time they enter or exit a bus. At this time we are only utilizing this system for daily school bus transportation.

When will Students begin using this system?

  • On Monday, December 14, the Monday/Tuesday Bus Students (Harwood Gold Group) will receive their cards (with a Harwood Lanyard)

If a student does not receive a Transit Card they should see Nancy in the front office.

  • On Tuesday, December 15, the Harwood Gold Group will use their cards as they board and exit their am and pm bus

  • On Thursday, December 17, the Thursday/Friday Bus Students (Harwood Black Group) will receive their cards (with a Harwood Lanyard) during TA.

If a student does not receive a Transit Card they should see Nancy in the front office.

  • On Thursday, December 18, the Harwood Black Group will use their cards as they board and exit their am and pm bus



  • Starting Monday - December 7th we will be moving screening inside. Harwood doors will continue to open at 7:45. Upon arrival students will need to remain 6 feet apart while waiting to be screened. Screening will be done inside the doors of the south entrance, back stairs and main lobby. Please note that if you leave after drop off or your child arrives on the bus and needs to leave due to the screener a parent will need to come to pick up.

  • Why are social gatherings prohibited right now?

    • Vermont is seeing a surge in new COVID-19 cases. Recent data have shown that social gatherings, both inside and outside, at homes, bars and social clubs, and among sport teams are currently driving outbreaks in Vermont. This is why there are restrictions on social gatherings at this time.

This is what you cannot do:

  • You are not allowed to gather with people you don’t live with. This includes all inside and outside social, recreational and entertainment gatherings, and in public and private spaces. For example, this means you cannot go over to a family member or friend’s house or go to a restaurant with someone you don’t live with.

  • Visitors to Vermont cannot gather with Vermonters or with people from another traveling group. This includes sharing lodging with another household or traveling group. Travelers may not stay with a Vermont host or stay in a Vermont lodging establishment or short-term rental with another household. Even if they have completed a quarantine, or intend to quarantine with another household, they may not gather with another household in Vermont.

This is what you can do:

  • People who live alone may gather with people who live in one other household.

  • People can take in and shelter those from another household who are living in a dangerous, unhealthy or otherwise unsafe situation.

  • You can do outdoor fitness activities with one other person from another household. However, both of you must stay at least 6 feet away from each other and wear a mask at all times. For example, you can bike, hike, walk or run with one of your neighbors.

  • Visitors to Vermont can socialize only with the people they are traveling with.

More information can be found here and answers to FAQ’s can be found here.



  • As we continue to prioritize safety and wellness at Harwood we ask you to complete this absence google form for every day your child is absent. This provides us the information needed to follow up accordingly and support our ongoing decision making.

  • Calendar reminders:

    • 12/10 & 12/11 Gold Cohort - Picture day make up times

    • IMPORTANT - CALENDAR changes: in order to balance days of instruction please note that the week of Thanksgiving will have a different schedule:

      • 12/21 - Black cohort day

      • 12/22 - Gold cohort day

    • 12/23 - 01/03 - December Vacation - NO School

    • 1/29 - Last day of Semester 1/Quarter 2

Expectations for students when absent

  • Students are responsible for:

    • sending an email to all their teachers when they are absent.

    • communicating if they know they will be out multiple days they will let the teacher know and update as needed

    • checking google classroom to see what they need to complete

    • completing asynchronous assignments signing up for an ELO to work with their teacher

    • communicating with teachers if absent for more than three days to discuss what they need to complete to keep up with classroom expectations.



Dear HUUSD Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff,

During this time of additional and potential stressors, we want to offer care and support. To put it simply; it's a lot… but we can do difficult things. Students and/or families may be struggling with increased time at home, depression and anxiety, financial stressors, isolation from their friends and decreased access to their traditional support systems and activities. During stressful and uncertain times, there is potential for increased use of ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug) substances, suicidality, and other mental health conditions. As reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers have reported experiencing disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.”

There are many issues that can interfere with one’s ability to engage in their community and school. In addition to the other supports offered for student well being at this time, the Harwood Unified Union School District would like to remind families and caregivers of services and resources available to them. Please access a list of local resources here.

For additional resources and information, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @harwoodschoolcounseling.

Please contact Mara Urban with questions about ATOD resources or your students school counselor with specific questions or concerns about your student.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Mara Urban, Student Assistance Professional, (802) 882-1111

in collaboration with the CBMS and HUMS/HS School Counselors

Tara Cariano, HUHS School Counselor (802) 583-8152

Erin Dezell, HUHS School Counselor (802) 583-8149

Jen Dremiller, HUMS School Counselor & Wellness Center Counselor, (802) 583-8155

Jennifer Hempey, CBMS School Counselor (802) 583-8071

Sally McCarthy, HUHS Director of School Counseling, (802) 583-8175


For the 17th year the Harwood Rotary Interact Club is partnering with Circle to embark on our annual Gifts of Kindness drive from November 30 - December 15. Circle is located in Barre and their ultimate goal is to end domestic violence. They offer an array of services designed for outreach, advocacy, and prevention. In addition, they provide an emergency shelter for women and children fleeing from domestic abuse. We are collecting gift cards to enable families currently residing in the shelter to purchase clothing, gifts, groceries, personal items or gas.

Best Type Of Gift Cards: Local businesses, Gas, Grocery, Restaurants, Toy stores, Box stores, Visa, ext.

We have drop boxes at Harwood Union High School (send in with students to drop off in the main office), Red Hen Bakery, and Three Mountain Cafe!

You can also mail in your gift cards!

Harwood Union High School

458 VT Route

100 South Duxbury, VT 05660

Attn: Ellen Berrings

Any amount is appreciated and you can help our local businesses while helping families in need, when you purchase gift cards.

We thank everyone for donating and hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

  • Are you interested in criminal justice or restorative justice? Please join us for a Career Lab over Zoom on Tuesday, December 8th at 10:30 with Carol Plante, the director of the Montpelier Community Justice Center. The organization that Carol leads helps community members resolve problems peacefully. They work with victims and perpetrators of crimes to build understanding, promote accountability, and provide opportunities for healing. Join us to learn about careers in this interesting field of criminal justice! Please email Rachael Potts for more information and the Zoom link.

Dear Harwood Community,

We are student members of the Vermont Youth Lobby, a youth organization that is hosting our first virtual community movie screening and dialogue.

On December 4th, between 5:00 and 8:00 PM (EST) we will be hosting a virtual screening of I AM GRETA, followed by an online youth-led conversation at 8:00 PM where we all discuss the film and talk about some concrete things Vermont youth can do to have a bigger impact.

You are welcome to sign up for just the movie screening or both the screening and community dialogue. The great news is our film screening is virtual and free meaning that anyone from around the globe can attend! Invite your friends and family from far and wide!

Pro tip: Go all out for community movie night and order dinner from your favorite local business!

Thanks, we hope to see some of you there!


The Vermont Youth Lobby



Everyone Eats! Everyone Eats is a program that engages local restaurants to make to-go meals for anyone who has been impacted by COVID 19. Pick up is at Sugar Fish VT (not Sugarbush) on Saturdays from 11-1:00, 168 Fiddlers Green by the laundromat. You will receive one individually packaged frozen dinner for each person in your household. Also, Farmers to Families Boxes are available first-come, first serve. Sign up using the following link: You will only need to enroll once. Please come each week to pick up meals. If you have questions, call Jess Tompkins at 802-793-1116 or email


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