Rhode Island schools post reopening plans online

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Friday is the deadline for Rhode Island school districts to post their reopening plans online.

The plans have a lot in common. Superintendents across Rhode Island are planning to have remote learning available throughout the school year, particularly for students with existing health conditions or those who do contract COVID-19.

“Some form of a remote learning component, to be able to quickly respond to that, so there wouldn’t be any interruption or break-off in instruction,” said Dr. Thomas DiPaola of the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association.

But there are some distinctions based on the results of parent surveys.

In rural districts like Chariho, where students may live several miles from school, a parent survey found “90% of students will need bus transportation.” The survey also found “75% of families are ready for or leaning toward full in-person learning.”

Communities like Cranston, Johnston, and Pawtucket, for example, focusing on a hybrid model that keeps schools at 50% capacity.

“One of the metrics the governor talked about this week was the community readiness, and largely that had to do with the prevalence or incidence of the virus in a community,” DiPaola said.

The high prevalence in Central Falls is a reason why some parents there don’t want their kids learning in-person.

“It’s kind of like putting me in a situation where I’m choosing between my child’s education and my child’s life,” said parent Ashley Breault.

She’s calling for more Plexiglas around desks and tables, saying it’s not realistic to expect students – especially young ones – to social distance.

A lack of nurses, and relying on home temperature checks, are also a cause for concern for Breault.

And now the governor’s recent decision to keep the state in Phase 3 is casting a new level of doubt over the process.

“In less than four weeks, you’re going to want to reopen schools with a whole bunch of kids, and you just cut backyard barbecues down from 25 in phase three to 15, then there’s a problem,” she said.

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