Parents react to new Rhode Island school reopening benchmarks

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Inoska Quezada worries about sending her kids back to school, and feels parents haven’t been a big enough part of the reopening process.

“They sent us a survey in June,” the Providence mother said. “But they haven’t really asked parents what their thoughts are. They haven’t asked us for any input.”

She says that includes the new benchmarks for schools to reopen.

The first is statewide readiness: the state must be in Phase 3 or higher.

The second is municipal readiness: What is the incidence rate in a particular community?

The third is testing readiness: An average test turnaround rate of 48-72 hours.

Fourth is supply readiness: Do schools have enough sanitizer and masks, for example?

And fifth is operational readiness: Are buildings prepared?

Quezada says the aging school buildings in Providence are not.

“They obviously haven’t been fixed,” she said. “So now they’re thinking about putting kids back into these buildings. The ventilation is atrocious.”

The governor indicating for the first time Wednesday that parents will likely have the right to keep their kids at home for distance learning, for any reason. It’s something Quezada says she still plans to do until the benchmarks are clearer.

“It’s not acceptable,” she said. “It’s putting our children, the teachers, and all of the support staff at risk.”

Governor Raimondo also says the state is considering implementing mask breaks for children, as Massachusetts plans to do.

RIDE will provide recommendations for each school department the week of Aug. 16.

Categories: Back to School, Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island