Pilgrim High Officials: RIDOH Believes Covid Outbreak is Connected to School Dance

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Pilgrim High School switched to distance learning this week because of a Covid outbreak, and a school official told ABC6 that RIDOH thinks there is a connection between the outbreak and a homecoming dance. 

A video, shot by a journalist with the Warwick Beacon, shows unmasked Principal Gerald Habershaw walking between students, many without masks, at the homecoming dance in early November.  

COVID-19 policy for the district dictates that students and staff need to wear masks in all school district buildings.  

In response to the video of the dance, Warwick Public Schools released a statement at the time that said, “The Warwick School District has clear policies and procedures in place that are aligned with RIDOH protocols which have been shared with all schools. It is very disappointing to see these COVID protocols and District policies were not followed at Pilgrim’s Homecoming.”

“I think it stinks,” George Smith, who says his niece tested positive for COVID-19 after going to the event, said. “I mean, I wish she didn’t have it, I obviously don’t want her to get sick.” 

According to Smith, his niece tested negative for COVID-19 before Pilgrim’s homecoming. 

“And she was tested after and she tested positive,” Smith said. 

Smith’s son also attends Pilgrim, but, he said, he was not at homecoming.  

“I know my son in particular would much rather be in class. He struggled a bit with the distance learning, last year, so he’s a bit frustrated,” Smith said.   

School district officials told ABC6 News they are investigating the lack of masks at the event.

Pilgrim High will be partnering with RIDOH to hold a COVID-19 testing clinic on Wednesday from 8-11 a.m.

A spokesperson for Warwick Public Schools said they will wait to see the data from tomorrow’s Covid testing clinic before making a decision about classes for next week.

Categories: News, Rhode Island