The once-innocent question of what students did over their Thanksgiving break will take on a new meaning in Vermont, according to Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
Vermont is among the states that have laid the blame for a rise in coronavirus cases on small gatherings that have flown under the radar of bans on larger groups getting together.
As such, state officials have told residents not to have traditional Thanksgiving dinners that can include multiple generations or families.
In an effort to crack down on anyone celebrating the traditional way, Scott said students will be asked to inform on their families.
“Unfortunately, we know some will still get together and schools have asked for help. [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,” he tweeted Tuesday.
“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,” Scott added.
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. 10/
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) November 24, 2020
As part of his Twitter thread, Scott said every person carries the seeds of potential disaster.
“[Y]ou never know if you’re going to be the domino that leads to a nursing home outbreak or pushes an entire school to remote learning,” he tweeted.
When asked about putting students in a position to inform on their parents, Scott on Tuesday defended his edict, according to the Vermont Daily Chronicle.
“This is fair warning. If you’re planning on having gatherings outside your households, if you don’t want to have your kids in remote learning and quarantine for a seven-day period, maybe you should make other plans. I’m not sure it’s ‘tattling’ on anyone,” he told reporters.
Some pushed back against Scott.
Using government institutions to convince children to rat out their parents. Where have we seen this happen before?
— Kurt Eckert (@kurtjeckert) November 25, 2020
Vermont schools will grill students on their Thanksgiving celebrations, governor announceshttps://t.co/QJenAGRhB2
This where this is all head. Govt using our children to spy & report back to “authority” figures. The Nazis at least were honest about their nefarious behavior.
— iamtherealRGM (@RGMNumber8) November 25, 2020
Maybe VT could use some of your expertise, as they ask CHILDREN to snitch on their parents/families. As a child of the “iron curtain”, where neighbors and family members betrayed each other, I wish I’d had a trigger warning before reading this. https://t.co/6lwzp3LPWx
— Sylvia Fogel MD (@FogelSylvia) November 24, 2020
Other Vermont officials painted Thanksgiving as a potential catastrophe for the state.
“The fact is, Thanksgiving can make things a lot worse for us here in Vermont. The virus doesn’t operate any differently just because we want to keep up traditions,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said, according to NECN.
“As soon as we travel, get together with friends, let down our guard, we actually do risk reopening the floodgates even wider at a time when we really need to keep them closed.”
Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak noted that nationally, 38 percent of Americans plan to have holiday events that bring together 10 or more people.
If that were to happen in Vermont, he said, there could be as many as 3,800 new coronavirus cases leading to up to 50 hospitalizations.
“These are certainly numbers that are quite stark and quite disturbing,” Pieciak said. “This is not a projection. This is not an estimate. This is really a worst-case scenario, and we really need Vermonters to respond so that we don’t experience anything like the numbers we just mentioned.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.