Teachers return to schools with dirty HVACs, water damage, and rodent droppings

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Many teachers across Rhode Island returned to the classroom for the first time on Wednesday to prepare for the upcoming school year.

However, some teachers did not like what they found.

Pictures surfaced on social media of schools in the Providence Public School District with dirty air conditioning units, water damage on the walls and floors, and rodent droppings in classrooms.

“Teachers are reporting to buildings today. Buildings needed to be safe today,” said Stephanie Meuse, the organizer of the group Safe Return to School RI.

She said the Superintendent of the Providence Public School District promised all 43 school buildings would undergo a deep cleaning.

“I think there’s an awareness that the buildings have been in the shape of disrepair for a long time,” said Meuse.

A video was also posted to twitter showing teachers at Young & Woods Elementary School in Providence trying to fit 26 desks into a classroom, but could only fit 13 with social distancing. In-person classes there start in less than two weeks.

Other pictures were posted of a first grade classroom at a Cranston Public School showing tables socially distanced, but multiple students would be sitting close to each other at the tables.

“I think if they were separated, and I know it’s an extra cost– but if we had some Plexiglas, that that would be better,” said Nicole Renzulli after seeing the photos of the first grade classroom. Renzulli has three children in the Cranston Public School District.

Governor Gina Raimondo said there are 14 teams from the Department of Health conducting walk-throughs of the state’s 300 public schools.

Raimondo said the walk-throughs are not inspections, but instead an opportunity for the state to see what different schools need in order to reopen.

“Other schools are saying, ‘We need desks. Our kids are at tables. We can’t separate them at tables.’ We said, ‘Fine, we’re going to help you get desks,'” explained Raimondo.

She said the walk-through checklists will be posted on back2schoolri.com alongside each district’s reopening plans, so residents can see what boxes each district checked.

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