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Vermont to question schoolchildren over Thanksgiving gatherings, and require quarantine for violators

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For parents who don't follow the state's rules, their kids must return to remote learning

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The state of Vermont has announced that schoolchildren and their parents will be questioned about the nature of their Thanksgiving gatherings after the kids' return to school, and children in families that admit to violating the state's rule against celebrating with another household will be required to quarantine at home.

What are the details?

Earlier this month, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of any kind between households. The state's website notes that the ban "includes both inside and outside social gatherings, in public and private spaces."

On Tuesday, state officials delivered an added threat to those who dare to visit Grandma for Thanksgiving: Children will be banned from the classroom and must return to remote learning at home for two weeks — or for one week if they can present a negative COVID-19 test result after that time.

In a lengthy Twitter thread on Tuesday, Scott urged citizens to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus as the state experiences a surge in cases, and asked folks "to help by avoiding getting together with people outside your households and not travel this week."

"Unfortunately, we know some will still get together and schools have asked for help," he continued, before announcing that the Vermont Agency of Education "will direct schools to ask students or parents if they were part of multi-family gatherings and if the answer is yes, they'll need to go remote for 14 days or 7 days and a test."

The Republican urged businesses to adopt the same policy, adding, "We also advise businesses to consider asking employees to quarantine if they don't adhere to gathering restrictions. This isn't a way around the ban or an excuse to get together. The more we adhere to this policy, the faster we'll lower case counts & ease up on restrictions."

State officials hope families will be honest

Vermont Education Secretary Dan French told the Burlington Free Press that state officials hope that families will be honest in answering their questions about Thanksgiving plans.

"Schools operate on trust with their parents and their students, and we're hopeful this guidance will give them some additional tools to help everyone do the right thing and keep school safe," French said.

The outlet noted that the rules against households interacting does not apply in the workplace, at retail stores, or in schools.

Anything else?

WPTZ-TV reported that since the beginning of November, Vermont has reported more than 1,500 new cases of COVID-19, including a single-day record 148 cases, and that "a model provided by the state's Department of Financial Regulation projects a 41% increase in new cases over the next month."

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