Mulberry Bush will be a tremendous loss

BRATTLEBORO — We were shocked and saddened to hear about the announcement from the Brattleboro Retreat on Oct. 23 to close Mulberry Bush Independent School on Dec. 23.

As current/former families and students, we are heartbroken that our beloved and well-respected school, one of the largest in Windham County, will be shut down.

This abrupt closure in the middle of the school year will leave more than 50 families scrambling for child-care coverage during a pandemic, when openings are few and far between in our region.

In addition, our qualified and dedicated teaching staff - many of whom have been part of Mulberry Bush for 10 years or longer - are now also having to find new positions in an already-stretched-thin industry further hampered by COVID-19.

Multiple transitions have already been difficult on families and children during the ongoing pandemic, and removing children from their trusted and loving caregivers will only add to this instability. Some families will also be burdened with the additional financial impact from this closure.

It is important to also stress that early childhood education is not only crucial to our families, children, and teachers directly affected by the closure, but also that strong, supported early childhood education and child care is crucial to a viable, vibrant community and economy for all.

We need the community and our elected officials to stand behind our children and to advocate for stronger early childhood education programs, and more of them, to make up for this tremendous loss. Especially now.

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