Warwick school committee to eliminate plan for kindergarteners in Veterans middle school

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Warwick School Committee members approve a motion to eliminate the plan to move kindergartener’s to the Veteran’s Middle School.

The committee has voted to move kindergarteners to their home schools, as soon as the air filters are put in.

While most schools in Rhode Island are back in session, things have been off to a rocky start in Warwick.

Parents say distance learning has been a struggle, especially for kindergarteners.

In a special called meeting by the Warwick School Committee, parents submitted concerns and comments about how pre-k and kindergarten has been going so far.

One parent’s comment read, “After watching my son’s engagement and learning diminish in the first week of school, it is beyond alarming to think we would even consider doing distance learning any longer for kindergarten students.”

Just a week after the district announced kindergarteners would return to the classroom in a hybrid model at Veterans Middle School, committee members were torn, questioning if the cost and timeline were worth it.

“When I woke up this morning, I was in favor of postponing because of the expense,” Committee Member David Testa said. “$100,000 can buy a lot more air purifiers for the areas we haven’t allocated for yet. But, we have to weigh that against what do kindergarteners loose.”

Veterans Middle School is the only one state officials checked off on for its HVAC system. However, the cost to clean and prepare it for a return to the classroom falls at about $100,000.

The district has since purchased 600 air filters. The new installation date is set for October 23. If the installation falls on schedule, kindergarteners would only have about at month at Veterans Middle School before they had to relocate back to their home schools.

“It also takes three to five days to move all the kindergarten stuff from the classroom to vets,” Committee member Kyle Adams said. “Now, it’s $100,000 for two weeks. And because it’s hybrid it’s only going to be five days because they’re only there two days a week.”

However, many worry about delays in the delivery, installation and preparation time. They also worry about the social and emotional impact it will have on kids.

“All in favor? Aye.”

But in the end, the vote to eliminate the original plan was approved and distance learning will continue for the time being.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Warwick