Parents anxiously await R.I. school re-opening plans

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Gina Raimondo is set to announce her decision on how districts should approach the school year, whether it be in-person, virtual or a hybrid model. The announcement will come Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

The clock is ticking. The announcement comes weeks before school is set to start on September 14. Parents like Julia Arnold of Warwick anxiously await the decision, waiting to know what this year will look like.

“Who knows what’s happening, we don’t know!” Arnold said.

Julia Arnold is a mom of two in Warwick. She chose to home school her kids and has been doing it for years. While the announcement doesn’t change her plans, she knows, as a mom, how it could change others.

“I don’t know, I guess I don’t understand waiting this long,” Arnold said. “We’re not making lunch plans. These are parents that need to make plans for child care and virtual learning if that’s what’s happening.”

Warwick schools, along with Pawtucket and Cumberland, already announced their plans before the Governor’s decision. The three opted for virtual learning.

“Warwick already announced their plans,” Arnold said. “A lot of people were upset about it, but at least they were able to make plans ahead of time.”

The Governor has repeatedly advocated for students to return to the classroom, but she’s said from the beginning that her decision will be based on the current science and data.

Last month, the state asked school districts to lay out plans for three scenarios – in-school learning, virtual and hybrid models. Governor Raimondo’s decision will be based off of five reopening metrics: statewide data, local data, testing capabilities, supply readiness and operational readiness.

While the clock ticks down on the future of schooling this year, Arnold says she hopes whichever it goes, that people look at the bigger picture.

“I hope everybody remembers that this decision isn’t about their family or even their district, but it’s about the community as a whole.

Last week the Governor announced the National Guard will launch an “education operations center” that will help schools prepare to reopen and remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories: News, Our Schools, Providence, Rhode Island