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News Roundup: State Officials Report Just 2 New COVID Infections

Three pople wearing summer clothing and no masks arrange and plant flowers in containers in downtown Morrisville.
Elodie Reed
/
VPR
From left, Morrisville Alliance for Culture and Commerce volunteers Mary Lou Nichols, Tricia Follert and Paul Trudell arrange flowers along Main Street in preparation for summer event season.

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Tuesday, June 1.

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1. Vermont officials report just 2 new COVID cases

Vermont officials reported two new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Three people are currently hospitalized, with one person in intensive care.

The state’s death toll remains at 255 people.

- Elodie Reed

Scott administration says “convenience” key to getting people under 30 vaccinated

The Scott administration says it's making good progress increasing COVID vaccination rates for people under 30.

For a number of weeks, the response rate in this age group was the lowest in Vermont.

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith says the state shifted its strategy to reach younger people, and decided to bring the vaccines to where these Vermonters were gathering. That includes places like beaches, farmers markets, race tracks and walk-in clinics.

"It isn't the reluctance, it's the convenience, and we're really zeroing in on, like I said, ‘Where you live, where you play and where you work,' is what we're zeroing in on in this strategy,” Smith said.

This increase makes it very likely that the state will soon reach its goal of vaccinating 80% of all eligible Vermonters with at least one dose of the vaccine.

- Bob Kinzel

Education secretary: Schools should expect full-time, in-person return in fall

Secretary of Education Dan French says all Vermont school districts should prepare for a return to full-time, in-person learning after the summer break.

And he says starting this fall, his agency will no longer waive the attendance regulations that have allowed for remote learning.

“In the fall, such flexibility around attendance will not be provided,” French said. “We’ll use our normal regulations, which define attendance as students being physically present in school.”

French says exceptions will remain for students who are at high risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19.

And he says the agency will consider special allowances for schools that want to keep some form of virtual learning in place for certain students.

- Peter Hirschfeld

Towns considering lifting local mask mandates

As Vermont's vaccination rate increases, some towns may lift their local mask mandates.

The select boards in Brattleboro and Wilmington will consider dropping their mask orders at meetings on Tuesday. That's according to the Brattleboro Reformer. Meanwhile, the town of Dover recently dropped its mask rule.

Gov. Phil Scott loosened statewide mask rules several weeks ago, but some communities have kept their local guidelines in place. That includes Burlington, where the city council recently delayed a decision on the local mask mandate until at least June 7.

All this comes as the percentage of Vermonters 12 and up who have received at least one vaccine dose nears the 80% threshold set by the Scott administration to lift all pandemic restrictions in the state.

- Anna Van Dine

2. Coalition effort in Rutland to show support for LGBTQ, BIPOC communities

Streetlight banners with rainbow hearts and large signs with the words “All Are Welcome Here” are popping up in downtown Rutland.

It’s part of a coalition effort to show support for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.

Avery Provin came up with the idea. He says growing up gay in Rutland, he often felt excluded and alone.

When he was home from college because of the pandemic, the 22-year-old says there were no local events celebrating LGBTQ Pride – something he wanted to change.

“I think visibility is the first step,” Provin said. “And when one marginalized group is trying to push forward, they need to like, include all marginalized groups, and that’s where we’re coming from.”

Conversations Provin had with others in the community led to the campaign and events celebrating Pride Month this June.

- Nina Keck

3. Petition gathers more than 500 signatures to reinstate Danville "Indian" mascot

More than 500 signatures have been gathered in a petition to request the Danville School Board reverse its decision to remove the "Indian" name and mascot.

The Caledonian Record reports the petition was submitted to the school board last week ahead of their June 1 meeting. The board will decide on what action to take on the petition at that meeting following a period of public comment.

Petition organizer Lindsay Morgan hopes the signatures will persuade the board to reverse course on the name change, or put the decision to voters on town meeting day.

After six months of community input, the Danville school board in March voted to immediately drop the Indian name and mascot.

- Matthew Smith

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