Gov. Raimondo says schools will have to get creative

The governor sat down with ABC6 reporter Amanda Pitts for a one-on-one conversation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)– In an unprecedented year, schools are going to have to get creative.

That was one of the highlights of a one-on-one discussion between Gov. Gina Raimondo and ABC6 reporter Amanda Pitts when they sat down together last week.

“Putting tents in parking lots, teaching the kids outside, lunch outside, nurses station outside,” Raimondo said, on what some of those creative solutions might look like.

As the number of virus infections looking forward remains uncertain, the start date of schools remained a topic on residents’ minds.

Today, ABC6 learned the start of schools will be pushed back to Sept. 14.

The move was intended to give districts more time for planning

“We’re gonna do everything we can to get the children in school, but obviously we need to make sure that it is safe,” Raimondo said.

To that end, the governor put in place a figure that would determine if a community was safe enough to open for in-person learning.

There must be less than 100 cases per 100,000 people in a town.

The governor acknowledged that would leave some of the communities in Rhode Island’s urban core struggling to reopen.

“If today were August 31st, Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls would not be cleared to go back for full in–person,” Raimondo said.

The governor acknowledged this was another challenge for districts that have already struggled to keep pace with more affluent communities.

“The children who struggle the most at home are the ones who, you know, they’re lower income, they might not have a computer, they might not have perfect Wi-Fi, their parents might not be able to stay home and help them,” Raimondo said. “I’m gonna work my tail off to get the numbers below 100 per 100,000 in Providence, in Pawtucket, in Central Falls, because these kids deserve a chance to go back to school.”

The governor acknowledged that some living situations may present a challenge, especially for children living with grandparents or older guardians.

Raimondo offered some suggestions for how families may keep safe in those scenarios.

“Have the kids wear masks even at home,” Raimondo said. “Lots of handwashing, separate the kids from the older folks. If at the end of the day, you have that kind of a family situation, you have to make your own choice.”

Raimondo and Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green are expected to to have more information on schools at the governor’s weekly coronavirus briefing tomorrow at 1 p.m.

©The Associated Press 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island