Raimondo declares schools are ready to open on Sept. 14

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 2:00pm

This is a developing story.

With a backdrop of what Gov. Gina Raimondo called a “primarily good news” environment in Rhode Island in terms of coronavirus cases, the governor said all school districts in the state, except two, are able to go back to full in-person learning by Sept. 14 “and that is what we expect you will do.”
Raimondo, however, almost immediately added a caveat, stating that most likely school districts will “ease into” in-person learning inorder “to work out the kinks.”
“Open as much as you can beginning Sept. 14,” said Raimondo. “Many of you will take a staggered approach and that is fully responsible.” With that, Raimondo said her goal was to have every student back into school by Tuesday, Oct. 13, the day after the Columbus Day national holiday.
Raimondo said that every district, with the exception of Providence and Central Falls, had submitted re-opening plans that have been approved by the state Department of Health. Requirements include face mask wearing for teachers and students, response plans if a student or teacher tests positive, social distancing protocols and to name a contact person on testing and tracing protocols. Raimondo also said that a newly formed team will also do an in-person walk through of every school building prior to opening to ensure the building is ready, and that there would be foillowups throughout the year to ensure that safety and health protocols remain “up to snuff.”
“It is going to take some time. There will be staggered starts. Some kids may go for seven days and then distance learning for seven days,” Raimondo said. “Have patience as we try to get this right.”
Raimondo opened her press conference on Monday, Aug. 31 by going through the Covid-19 case situation in the state. The positive rate is at 1.2 percent, adding that some days the positive case rate among those tested was less than one percent on some days. Raimondo also said the state was testing as many as 45,000 people a week, which she said was twice as many as Massachusetts and 50 percent more than Connecticut.
“In general, it is a good news story. We’re not out of the woods. The Coronavirus is still with us,” said Raimondo. “I come before you today with confidence that the steps we’ve taken and the systems in place are by and large working.”