Coventry schools go remote, as town’s infection rate soars

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COVENTRY, R.I. (WLNE)– Coventry Public Schools will switch to distance learning beginning Dec. 15, Superintendent Craig Levis said in an announcement Thursday.

Citing data that put the town’s positivity rate at 15.3 percent, up from the previous week rate of 12.6 percent, Levis said that was twice the state’s average and one of the highest in the state.

“Over the last few days, we have seen an increase in the number of staff who are close contacts with someone positive, several staff members who are experiencing symptoms, and the number of students and staff identified as being positive or waiting for test results,” Levis said. “This has been an extremely difficult decision to make but I believe it is in the best interest of our school community.”

The switch to full distance learning will continue through the holiday break, Levis said.

School leaders will  “continue to monitor the positivity rate throughout the holiday break and the impact this surge has on our students and staff,” Levis said.

The news follows a strong message from Gov. Gina Raimondo urging schools to stay with in-person learning at a briefing earlier Thursday.

“To those superintendents who go virtual, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself to work a little harder” Raimondo said.

The governor pointed to data from the state’s asymptomatic pilot tests. She said one Central Falls elementary school had shown a positivity rate of only 1.6%.

On-site asymptomatic school testing will be available to any school that wants it in January, Raimondo said.

On Saturday, the town of Coventry will offer free coronavirus testing to all residents.

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Categories: Coronavirus, Rhode Island