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Vermont News Updates For Tuesday, September 1

A mannequin wearing a face mask
Abagael Giles
A vendor sells face masks on Church Street in Burlington.

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of ongoing local coverage of the coronavirus, an outbreak tied to a party in Killington and more for Tuesday, September 1.

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The latest coronavirus data:


Six new cases of COVID-19

Vermont’s Department of Health reported six new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

Two were in Chittenden County and four were in Rutland County, where the state continues to track an outbreak from a gathering at a Killington hotel. Another 3,170 people tested negative.

In all, Vermont has recorded 1,635 people who have had COVID-19. One person is hospitalized with the disease, 1,432 have recovered and 58 people have died.

- Mark Davis and Elodie Reed

Rutland to hold pop-up test clinic following outbreak at local party

Vermont is continuing to investigate a COVID-19 outbreak tied to a private party in Killington. So far, 14 cases have been traced to the Aug. 19 event at the Summit Lodge, which hosted more than 40 people. 

Gatherings of up to 75 people inside and 150 outdoors are permitted under state guidelines.

The Lodge is a 44-room hotel that’s been operating in Killington since the 1950s. Its owners did not respond to a request for comment

Shannon Clough manages the Snowed Inn in Killington and expressed confidence that the outbreak can be contained locally.

"The good thing about it up here is that everybody really knows everybody as far as the locals go,” Clough said. “And I think that we'll be able to tackle it much better than a larger city would be able to."

A pop-up test clinic will be held in Rutland City Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Asa Bloomer Building. People can register online.

Read the full story.

- Nina Keck

Lt. governor and Democratic nominee criticizes governor's back-to-school plan

The Democratic candidate who is trying to unseat Gov. Phil Scott in November says the Republican incumbent has mishandled the reopening of public schools in Vermont.

David Zuckerman said Scott should have used his executive authority to enforce consistent school reopening plans across district lines.

“The governor has not provided that critical leadership or sufficient guidance or support for our schools,” Zuckarman said.

School districts have adopted a hodgepodge of reopening plans, with some going to fulltime in-person learning, and others going entirely remote.

Zuckerman said the variety of reopening plans has created chaos for students, parents and teachers.

- Peter Hirschfeld


Scott warns Vermont's success with COVID-19 could change quickly

Gov. Phil Scott says Vermont's success in combating the coronavirus could change quickly if people fail to follow basic health precautions.

At his news briefing Tuesday, the governor pointed to Hawaii's recent experience. He said the state had one of the lowest counts of COVID-19 in the country, but now cases are multiplying quickly. He said Vermonters must remain vigilant to avoid the same thing happening here.

“But sometimes we get complacent because we see that we're doing well. That's my fear that everyone – that we believe our own magic and then we don't believe that there's a problem,” she said.

Scott said he will not announce additional steps to relax COVID restrictions on businesses and public gatherings until he sees how the state does with schools reopening next week.

Read the full story.

- John Dillon

State reports it has approved 12 new child care hubs, with 20 more planned

The Scott administration says Vermont parents and students should have more child care options available when schools reopen next week. Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said the state has approved 12 education "hubs" to provide child care services, with another 20 in progress.

The hubs are designed for students whose schools do not fully open for in person learning.

Smith said it was an enormous challenge to locate and staff these hubs before school start Sept. 8.

“Remember what we're doing here,” Smith said. “We're putting a whole new child care system in place in a couple of weeks. And that is something I don't think we've ever done as a state.”

Many of the new child care centers are located at schools. Smith says they can serve 6,000 children.

Read the full story.

- John Dillon

Gov. Scott endorses Scott Milne for lieutenant governor

Republican Scott Milne has received a high-profile endorsement in his bid to become the next lieutenant governor.

Gov. Phil Scott endorsed Milne Tuesday, saying he "needs a working partner" in the lieutenant governor's office, according to the Milne campaign. Scott also pointed to Milne's business experience, running a travel agency.

Milne faces Democrat Molly Gray in the November general election, who won a hotly-contested primary in August. This is Gray's first run for public office. Milne has previously run unsuccessfully for governor and U.S. Senate.

- Henry Epp

Juvenile detention facility to close Oct. 1

The Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center will close on Oct. 1 according to the Vermont Department for Children and Families.

WCAX reportsthat DCF Commissioner Sean Brown says he believes that the department will move ahead with a partnership with a nonprofit that will upgrade an existing facility in the state to meet DCF standards. Brown says the new facility will cost the state less to operate than Woodside.

Vermont's Juvenile Defender General Marshall Pahl celebrated the decision, saying Woodside was not a facility that aids in rehabilitation for children. Pahl said: "Once they’re out of that environment, their behavior changes dramatically."

- Sam Gale Rosen

Upper Valley Aquatic Center offering to host students learning remotely

With a ventilation system designed for large, indoor spaces, the Upper Valley Aquatic Center is offering to host grade school students stuck at home during the pandemic.

They're inviting 3-5 graders to form two separate remote learning pods at the swimming center.

Students will work online with their regular teachers while two adult monitors will assist on site. One local public school student whose family has chosen their school's full time remote option has signed on.

Hours would resemble the usual school day, and after-school activities, like swimming lessons, are available to help working parents.

Matthew Young, customer service director at the Center, came up with the idea.

“I don't know if I would consider it innovative: There was a need and I think innovation comes from need,” Young said. “So, yes, in part, it is innovative and in part, it was an obvious choice.”

The center hopes to maintain the service until schools fully reopen.

- Betty Smith

Bennington applying for $500K grant for housing project

The town of Bennington is applying for a $500,000 grant to help renovate a historic residence that would be leased to a local group seeking to end homelessness.

The Bennington Select Board approved the grant application request from Shires Housing. In March, Shires Housing acquired a mid-19th century Greek Revival house in the community. The nonprofit group hopes to upgrade the house's seven residential units and construct two new units and an office in the outbuilding. The work would make the property more accessible and energy efficient.

The Bennington Banner reportsthat once the renovations are done, the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless will lease the property.

- Associated Press

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