RI Sets Goal for School to Start in Classrooms August 31st

Story by Ava Schrage, Staff Writer/ Editor

As more and more public areas are beginning to re-open after being closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, the question of whether or not schools will reopen for the upcoming school year in the fall has remained up in the air for the state of Connecticut. However, June 10th’s announcement from Rhode Island’s governor Gina Raimondo may act as a guide to CT, as Raimondo released her goal of having students return to their schools on time, starting on August 31st.

Although this is just a target date for in-person learning, it very possibly could be changed overtime if things don’t go as planned. Currently, there has been a total of 812 COVID-19 related deaths throughout RI. As beaches, restaurants, stores, and other public places are experiencing more normalcy, a sudden spike in deaths could lead the state to completely reevaluate and readjust goals.

Assuming that everything goes according to what’s anticipated, there will still be key alterations and precautions implemented into RI school districts to protect the safety and health of students, staff, and families. The CDC suggests that by Stage 3 of reopening, it will be safe to have students return to school, if districts are willing to adhere to their directions on how to do so.

When returning to school, it’s expected that students will be required to wear a mask, separate themselves on buses and in classrooms, refrain from sharing materials, and have their temperatures taken by a thermal scanner before coming into the building in the morning. In addition to this, if a student happens to become sick after having gone to school, they must quarantine themselves at home for a minimum of two weeks, along with any other staff member or student in the building who they have come in contact with.

In order for these precautions to take place, a large sum of money needs to be put towards buying masks for students, more buses, more bus monitoring staff, and more custodians to sanitize and disinfect all classrooms after every period and bathrooms twice a day. To achieve this, the state of RI will provide $42 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to districts across the state, with more available is needed. The majority of this price comes from the issue with bussing, as students having to distance themselves from each other by 6 feet will result in not having enough seats available with the current number of buses owned by each school.

As the 2020-2021 school calendars are being announced, another change is being made to school systems, which is that the ‘birth’ of distance learning will now result in the lost tradition of snow days and professional development days off. In the future, these days out of school will be switched to being taught online so that they will not have to be made up at the end of the school year.

In her recent announcement, Raimondo stated, “We owe it to our children to have no disruption in their learning.”