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To the editor: As Vermonters, while we mourn the lives lost in our communities from the COVID-19 pandemic, we also can acknowledge that as a state, we have fared fairly well through this pandemic that has tragically taken over half a million American lives and so many more beyond our shores. Easy access to open outdoor spaces and vigilance have helped keep Vermont’s case counts low and our friends and loved ones safe. Without a doubt, however, this has not been easy, and to say that our lives have been disrupted would be an understatement. Still, we are making real progress in our fight against COVID-19.

More and more people are making the right decision for themselves and for their community to get vaccinated. The roll-out in Vermont has been fairly efficient, all things considered, with multiple sites in our own area now administering vaccines with everyone 16 years of age and older able to sign up to be vaccinated. Pop-up clinics have provided priority inoculations for specific groups, such as first responders and educators who we need to have vaccinated to speed up our return to normal life, or our BIPOC community members who have faced much higher rates of hospitalizations from COVID.

As a mother, community educator, and a Windham County State Representative, the well-being of our community is of utmost importance to me. For that reason, I want to thank all of the individuals and organizations who are stepping up to do what they can to help keep the people of Windham County and southern Vermont healthy and safe. This includes our frontline health workers at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, our first responders including our fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel, and other less visible groups supporting us all now and throughout the past year as we have dealt with the pandemic. As an SIT Graduate Institute alumna, I am particularly proud of and thankful for SIT and World Learning as they continue to host vaccine clinics on their campus. While the nonprofit organization runs life-changing study abroad and even life-saving development programs around the world and brings international exchange visitors to Vermont to experience all that our wonderful towns and cities have to offer, underlying their work is a commitment of service to our community.

While SIT and World Learning is a great example of what makes this area a wonderful and dynamic place to call home, thankfully, this institution is by no means alone in supporting our community. So many people and organizations are also stepping up. I believe that this cooperation and spirit of community bodes well for the future of southern Vermont.

State Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun, D-Windham 4

SIT Graduate Institute alumna

Bellows Falls, April 20