Brattleboro COVID-19 Update

We all received encouraging news earlier this week when Governor Scott released his “Vermont Forward Plan” that described a phased reduction in restrictions for both indoor and outdoor activities. It is important to note that the Governor and other State officials have stated that this schedule is subject to change. It is based on certain assumptions regarding increased vaccination numbers and decreased new case numbers. If those targets are not met, the schedule will be adjusted. We will continue to closely monitor that data and public health experts’ advice.

We intend to be cautious in reopening Town facilities to ensure that we do not move too quickly and endanger Town employees or the public we serve. Please read these weekly COVID updates from the Town and other information released by Town departments to stay up to date on Town decisions and actions as COVID-related restrictions are eased. Based on local conditions and expert advice, we may decide not to move as fast as was indicated in the Governor’s plan. 

Selectboard Meeting Notes – Safety Items Move Forward, Carbon Neutral, and New Energy Fund

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved of moving forward with the recommendations of the Town manager regarding the Community Safety Review Committee recommendations. Everything that can be underway is underway.

The board decided to go for a 6% investment in Cow Power and created a new fund with $70k  to help reduce emissions and consumption.

Post-COVID Lives

Life with COVID has been difficult, but humans are a flexible species and we have adapted fairly well to the new normal. There will always be those who do not possess a shred of common sense or decency and thankfully the leader of that group has lost most of his power. The yahoos will persist and the rest of us have to keep as much distance as possible from them.

Thankfully, they are the minority and preventing disease transmission has become part of the daily routine for the majority. That is why we will eventually see a day when other things take priority. The big question is, “When will that day come, if ever?”.

I am trying to imagine what the world will be like a year from now. It is an activity that is all guesswork but it is something that helps to provide some hope for a more active and open society. I think it will take close to a year before there are any significant changes in life as we now know it.

Windham Southeast School District School Budget Vote And Info Session

Due to COVID safety there will be no in person Windham Southeast School District Annual Meeting this year. You can vote on the school budget and for school board members by requesting a school ballot from your Town Clerk and voting absentee or by voting in person at each of the polling locations in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, voters are strongly encouraged to vote through absentee ballot.

A Virtual Public Information Meeting on the proposed FY ’22 School District Budget is scheduled for Tuesday, February 23 via Zoom at 6pm. The link to the Information Meeting agenda and how to call in, as well as budget documents can be found on the school district’s website listed below:

Brattleboro 75 and Up – Get Your Vaccinations

Vermont’s vaccination enrollment program is open for people 75 and older. It is a statewide, centralized registry system. No need to call your hospital or doctor’s office. 

They would prefer you to register online, but there is a phone number: 855-722-7878

Hours for the phone center are: Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

A few things to know:

The Vaccine Rollout – Too Many Unknowns

World governments are trying to deal with the complexity of vaccinating enough of their populations to provide an adequate level of herd immunity to be able to declare that the COVID 19 pandemic is under control. Having a Darwinian health care system and a lack of federal leadership means the U.S. will most likely lag behind the rest of the world in vaccine rollout. Experts are guessing that anywhere from 70-90 percent of people need to be vaccinated to meet herd immunity efficacy .

One of the major problems that all countries face is the fact that no one really knows how the pandemic will play out, even under the best of vaccine rollout scenarios. In addition, there are many unknowns about how vaccines work and how the virus behaves.

Brattleboro VFW Reality Sets In

The recent situation with COVID has resulted in some hard truths for the Brattleboro VFW. Clubs have taken a beating financially, along with a lot of other businesses.

We have had to cancel all our functions since March. No dinner/dances, birthday parties, wedding receptions, regular bingos, cancer or Brattleboro Firefighter’s fundraising bingos, banquets, holiday parties, etc. etc.

We had to shut down completely for three months starting in March, but still the bills came in. Some grants from the government helped pay some, but not all of those bills.

A New Bill, Another Slap In The Face

The elite American ruling class, aka Congress, has once again proven that they do not understand or respect the hardship that a majority of Americans are experiencing. They are also making it clear that they are only willing to offer crumbs to a starving population.

The most recent stimulus package that just passed after months of political posturing is a slap in the face to most Americans. It provides a one-time check of $600 to people whose income is below $75,000. The people who crafted this legislation have no idea what $600 buys in the real world. I suspect most of them never shop for their own necessities, never clean their own houses and could not tell you what a gallon of milk, a gallon of heating oil or a package of toilet paper costs.

Vermont Guidelines for Safe Holidays

Here’s what the state of Vermont says about gathering during the holidays:

For the period from December 23 – January 2, one household may gather with one other trusted household. That is a maximum of two households gathering during this period.
Staying home and with people you live with is still the lowest risk. Gathering with people you do not live with is not recommended for people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 or people who care for them.
If you do gather, the Health Department strongly encourages getting tested 7 days afterwards.
If you gather with anyone from out of state, everyone in both households must quarantine for 14 days, or 7 days with a negative test.
The travel policy has not changed. If you travel outside of Vermont, you must follow quarantine requirements.

A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special

covid christmas special

I promised you a new holiday treat for this year, and here it is: A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special.     It is a super cute animated Christmas story made especially for a special year, featuring a masked snowman, masked singers, socially-distanced Santa, toy shopping, Mom, and a decorated tree by a fire. And lots of mask jokes.

I didn’t set out to make a new holiday special. I was working on some Christmas card ideas and Lise saw what I was doing and suggested they might make for some nice animation. That got me thinking, and before long I was able to string together a series of card ideas into a parody of a couple of my favorite holiday films.

Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Summary – December 2020

T’is the month of December. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

You can find the November numbers here,  October stats here,  September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.

Will a COVID Vaccine Be Safe and Effective?

It is difficult for the average person to understand what they need to know about a COVID vaccine before they decide to be inoculated. The vaccine will be available within weeks or months and public health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.

Government health officials are saying that the vaccines developed have proven to be safe and effective and that the best chance we all have for moving on and living in a world not controlled by the behavior of a virus is to continue to use masks, social distance and to take the vaccine when it becomes available.

According to Francis Collins MD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it will take 80% coverage (vaccine administration) to get to herd immunity, and that is not likely to happen until the summer of 2021if all goes well.

Brattleboro Town Manager COVID-19 Update – What’s New Nov 27


• Town field services continue transitioning back to the way in which they operated during last spring’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” period. For now, the way in which the public receives those services still is relatively normal, but the work is being done in accordance with many special procedures required by the State of Vermont and recommended by public health officials. As we move into even more restrictive practices for the protection of employees and the public, we will identify those changes in future “COVID-19 Response Status” updates. 

• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department encourages everyone to transform your front yard, apartment, or house into a bright and decorative celebration of winter! We all need a little light in our lives, so get ready to challenge your neighborhood, your friends, and your family to help us “Light Up Brattleboro.” Join us as we come together to show our festiveness and help bring joy and light into the lives of others. Here’s how you can participate: 

Brattleboro COVID-19 Update – November 20, 2020

• In compliance with Governor Scott’s instructions on November 13 for offices throughout Vermont to “reinstitute, to the maximum extent possible, … telecommuting or work from home procedures,” Town office operations have transitioned this week back to the way in which we operated during the “Stay Home Stay Safe” period in March and April of 2020. Office employees are working from home most of the time. Some employees are coming into their offices occasionally when it is necessary to accomplish a particular task or to provide a needed service to a member of the public. Since Town employees and the public we serve all have learned to transact most of our business electronically or by phone, we have found that the vast majority of our Town office work can be performed at our homes. 

• Town field services also are transitioning back to the way in which they operated during last spring’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” period. For now, the way in which the public receives those services is relatively normal, but the work is being done in accordance with many special procedures required by the State of Vermont and recommended by public health officials. As we move into even more restrictive practices for the protection of employees and the public, we will identify those changes in future “COVID-19 Response Status” updates.