Providence parents react to first day of school

Some students in Providence Monday attended their first day of school in persons since March, though some continued at home.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Some students in Providence Monday attended their first day of school in persons since March, though some continued at home.

Officials called the first day of in-person-learning by and large a success.

“There’s a lot of anxiety with it being the first day, but also of course with the pandemic,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “But from all of the parents I’ve spoken to and all indications I’ve gotten throughout the day, it’s a big exhale.”

Some of the Providence parents ABC 6 spoke with say they did feel more comfortable after the first day, but also recognize this may not have been everyone’s experience.

They also applauded the release of the walk-through checklists by the district, but say they still need specifics on possible issues in each classroom.

Parent Jeremy Giller, whose children will start in person learning later this week, says he’s happy to now have the walk-through information released by the district.

However he says that there were still electrical issues and other things listed as issues at his children’s school, and  he doesn’t know if that will affect their classroom.

“It’s great to see that the district did come through and release those reports,” said Giller Monday night. “I would also add though that those reports themselves point to some classroom specific issues, without identifying which classroom.”

He and parent Jenna Karlin say they are also still unclear about what the ventilation plans are for each school and classroom, and what the plan will be in the cold, winter months when an open window won’t necessarily be feasible.

“The district has said it’s developing classroom by classroom solutions around ventilation and so we really need to see those to understand whether it is going to be a safe experience,” said Giller.

Karlin, who has a kindergartner, said goodbye after his temperature check with the nurse.
She says she did feel more comfortable by how her son’s school was handling things.

“The school itself is definitely trying the best it can and the challenges really come from the district,” said Karlin.

She added that despite her comfort level Monday she is still considering things on a day by day and week by week basis.

“If they don’t continue to release information; more ventilation information, cold weather ventilation plans, is it really going the way they say it’s going, and testing information, those are all things that could very quickly get me to change the decision I’ve made,” Karlin told ABC 6.

Karlin also said attendance at her son’s school was significantly down and that half of his class did not attend Monday.

She’s also heard from a handful of parents across the district who did not end up sending their child to school today because of safety concerns, and are unsure whether they can or should enroll them in virtual learning.


Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island, Your Health