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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Good Advice From Reading’s Health Officer

Note: This column was out of date minutes after I sent it to the editor. All events listed here have been canceled.

For someone who works from home and is a world-class introvert, social distancing in this time of COVID-19 should be easy for me. For the most part, it is, even though I often feel a little trapped and a little anxious. These are strange days, but some common sense and clear thinking will help me, you, all of us, get through this.

Mary Springer, Reading’s Town Health Officer, placed two informative posts on Front Porch Forum last week. With her consent, I am reprinting part of them here. Not everyone is on Front Porch Forum, so perhaps a few people are reading this for the first time. Of course, you may have read or heard this information elsewhere, but it bears repeating.

Older folks and those with compromising medical conditions are at greatest risk for developing complications from the virus. Take steps to protect yourself by cleaning your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with those that are sick.

Stay home if you’re sick and monitor yourself if you have been exposed to COVID-19. If you should fall ill, call your healthcare provider. Quarantine yourself for at least 14 days. If you need home healthcare, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to the VNA. Should you need food or supplies, and you have no one to assist you, contact the Reading Town offices or the Health Officer (

They will provide solutions for any issues that might arise.

For the most up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19, including from the CDC, visit

Mary ended by saying Reading officials are keeping informed and developing plans in the event a quarantine is necessary. This is precautionary, as an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure. How very true.

Out of an abundance of caution—a phrase I hear a lot lately—the Reading Recreation Commission canceled the third of the four Winter Concert Series shows last Saturday. I spoke with John Balch, one-third of the Bluegrasoles. He was disappointed, but he understood. The commission wants them to play at some point, and I am sure we can work something out.

Other large-by-rural-Vermont-standards events have been canceled around the region, and I am sure there will be more of this to come. In fact, as I am writing this, I received a notification that Governor Scott is ordering schools to be closed by Wednesday, the day before this column hits the newsstands.

Here are a few Reading events that, as of this writing, are still scheduled to happen.

The Maple Cook-Off, set for March 28 at 5pm, is still a go. So while you are home because of events being canceled, why don't you dig through your cookbooks or go online and find a delicious maple recipe to enter into the competition? If you recall, last year we had a great variety of food at the event. It was a lot of fun to celebrate sugaring season and to taste all those delicious dishes.

People who enter the competition can sample their competitors’ entries for free. For people who want to come and help determine whose maple dishes are the best, admission is $8 for individuals, $5 for kids, and $20 for families.

If you want to be a contender, email your contact information and what you plan to make to There will be prizes for the best entries.

All proceeds for this event will go to the Reading Green Spaces Committee's efforts to beautify

Puddledock Park. While the patches of remaining snow creep away to expose grass that looks soggy and dead and our dirt roads are rutted, muddy messes, we'll have to use our imaginations to envision the park as a thing of beauty. But you know it will be!

The Reading Public Library will hold the Silent Book Club on April 1.

The Reading Recreation Commission is still planning on holding the final show in the Winter Concert Series. That show is scheduled for April 4 at 7pm. As always, check here, Front Porch Forum, and the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page ( for updates. You can also check here for information about Adverse Conditions, a local duo who will be playing that show.

Also, the Rec Commission still plans on holding the Reading Bunny Hop on Saturday, April 11. By then, I hope, the snow will be gone, crocuses will be poking through the dirt, the number of new COVID-19 cases will be on the decline, and we can all get back to typical springtime in Vermont.

Of course, things may change. Keep an eye out here, on Front Porch Forum, or where ever you get your local updates.

Happy first day of spring, and please stay safe!

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

Note: I end my print column with a request to send me story ideas. As you know if you read my column, I write about upcoming events. Since there are no upcoming events, I would love for you (especially folks who live in Reading) to send me stories about how you are coping with social distancing. What are the funniest, strangest, most heartwarming, scariest unexpected thing you and your family have experienced during these days of coronavirus?

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on March 19, 2020.

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