RIDOH: 10-14 cases identified at Winsor Hill Elementary in Johnston; School closed Tuesday

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Winsor Hill Elementary School in Johnston was closed Tuesday after multiple cases of coronavirus were identified.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, 10-14 positive cases were identified as of Tuesday afternoon.

Johnston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bernard Dilullo Jr. told ABC6 on Monday that the school department decided to close the school after a staff member tested positive.

Dr. Dilullo alerted parents on Monday night. He said Tuesday will be spent contact tracing.

The school will reopen on Wednesday, the superintendent said in an email to families Tuesday night. He said everyone needing to quarantine has been notified.

“Not even two weeks in, and all of a sudden… now we’re home,” said Natalia Pina, parent to two children at the elementary school.

Pina believes the case numbers are higher than what’s being reported, as she said in her daughter’s fifth-grade class alone there are 13 positive cases. Because of that, her daughter and her classmates were sent home for the remainder of the week.

“As of now, I know my daughter is staying home until Monday. She said there was only seven of them in class yesterday.”

She said she’s heard from other parents that case numbers are higher in other classrooms.

“I actually heard there was actually 18 cases in one of the other parent’s classes as well with their child. I know there was one confirmed on my stepson’s class as well on Friday, so I know the cases have been building up since last week,” Pina said.

She’s not the only parent frustrated. Tiffany Vanstone is a parent to a third-grader and a fifth-grader and had to change her work schedule to be home more in case they’re sent home again.

“It’s frustrating. I switched my hours at work to nights because I had a feeling things like this would happen often. It’s like, I don’t know what to plan for my day at all, I don’t know what the next day will be if I’ll have kids home or not,” Vanstone said.

She said her children aren’t learning while at home. They weren’t sent home with any schoolwork, she said.

“They have stopped distance learning. They didn’t send home the elementary school kids with their chrome books this year. It’s like back to summer again. They’re watching TV and not doing much, not learning.”

Pina, who kept her children home last year to do distance learning, said she wishes that would be made an option again.

“Are we staying home? I prefer them to now be distance learning if this is gonna be a continuous, repeating pattern. It’s like, should they go back to giving them the option of distance learning? Which I personally would probably prefer to do that, knowing that my child is safe and now I don’t have to worry about every time they go to school if they’re getting a phone call or coming home with covid and spreading it.”

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island