RIDE Commissioner says schools will reopen Aug. 31 but snow days will be virtual
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – During today’s briefing, Governor Raimondo reiterated that the state is doing “very very well.”
As many are still out of work, businesses continue to reopen. As the pandemic has taken a toll one way or another on everyone, she asks for everyone to continue sticking together during this uncertain time.
She said the virus has not gone away and is still very much with us, although it is thankfully not having the devastating effects it was having a few months ago.
The biggest announcement Raimondo shared with the state today, is that schools will be open for in-person learning this fall.
Education and the coronavirus have been an important and complicated topic throughout the course of the pandemic.
Raimondo said, “Distance learning by in large has been successful”, but with in-person learning, kids will do better.
In-person learning will make it easier for parents to return to work, which will help the economy.
The Rhode Island Department of Education has issued a standardized statewide calendar for the school year which has been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
The first day of school will begin on August 31st.
Guidelines for school districts to base their reopening plans will be posted by June 19.
All school districts are required to submit separate plans for reopening, which the plans will involve having all students in school, a hybrid plan, and resuming distance learning if a coronavirus resurgence were to occur.
Districts must submit their plans for feedback on meeting state guidelines to RIDE by July 17.
As all answers are not available today, it is asked that school districts be flexible and innovative while making their plans.
School will look very different than most are accustomed to. Raimondo said districts can expect more cleaning to be done, spreading out of student desks, fewer kids on buses, more bus pickups, staggered start times, and potentially the wearing of masks.
She was adamant that no one can enter a school building sick and school districts may have to rely on distance learning throughout the year to get through times like this.
Throughout the pandemic, Governor Raimondo has lead the fight against the coronavirus pandemic using data based on science and facts, and she will continue doing so.
According to the CDC data and the RIDOH, when in Phase 3 of Rhode Island’s reopening, it will be safe to reopen schools. The governor expects the state to be in the middle of or past Phase 3 by August 31.
Getting back to school for in-person learning in the fall is going to take an incredible amount of planning to safely get there, but Raimondo said, “This is owed to the kids for no disruption.”
Students may be disappointed as the state’s Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green says that school cancellation snow days will no longer be a thing since distance learning can be used when weather affects physical school closures.
The state plans on allocating $42 million of the state’s Federal CARES Act fund for necessary resources to make in-person learning possible. The state is also prepared to use additional funds if needed.
The graduating class of 2020 was also be recognized. An announcement was made that on June 15, the graduating class of 2020 will have a special celebration aired on Rhode Island PBS. Viola Davis will be providing a keynote speech, along with appearances from Patriots players and Rhode Island’s own Billy Gilman. Following the celebration, a virtual concert will be aired.
A separate announcement was made saying SNAP participants in the state of Rhode Island will now be allowed to buy food online via Amazon or Wal-Mart.
Raimondo said she will hold COVID-19 briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, moving forward.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) reported 66 new cases and 4 deaths on Wednesday. RIDOH says they recorded 2,539 tests on Tuesday.
RIDOH announced 55 new cases and 9 deaths on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, 812 people in Rhode Island have died from COVID-19, according to RIDOH data.
There are currently 148 people in the hospital, 27 in the ICU, and 16 requiring a ventilator.