Providence Public Schools reveal three options for returning to school

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Superintendent of Providence Public Schools, Harrison Peters, hosted a virtual town hall over Zoom on Wednesday night.

During the town hall, Peters went over several different options for what K-8 schools might look like in the Fall.

The first option, involves all students returning to their current school. In this plan, there would be four different start times. Some students would have to walk up to a mile to their bus stop. Buses would only be able to take students up to grade 6.

“7-8 grade students will not be bused. They will more than likely have to be on virtual,” said Peters.

In option two, K-5 students would attend the school closest to their home, also known as their “neighborhood school.” Students in grades 6-8 would attend their current school. There would be three start times and regular bus stops.

“Another question I get a lot: ‘My child transferred out of my neighborhood school, please don’t send them back.’ We’re looking at that,” said Peters.

A third option would have all students attend their neighborhood school. This would effect more than 3,000 students. There would be two start times and regular bus stops.

Students enrolled in special programs (special education, dual language, etc.) would stay at their current school.

In all of these plans, classes would have 25-30 students.

If the coronavirus worsens by the time school starts, class sizes may have to be reduced to 12-15 students. In that case, students would either have to alternate between in-person and distance learning on an A/B schedule, with students attending every other day/week. Or, grades K-5 would attend in-person, while grades 6-8 would learn remotely, so the elementary students can spread out in the middle schools.

“Each one of these have very significant down sides,” said Peters.

A plan has to be submitted to the Rhode Island Department of Education by July 17.

Before a decision is made, Harris said he wants to hear from parents.

“We want the community and parents to help us weigh in in deciding,” said Peters.

There is now a survey online that parents can take to pick which option they like the best. The survey is also available en español.

Parents can also email questions/comments/suggestions to innovate@PPSD.org.

There will be a town hall later this month to discuss reopening the high schools.

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