CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Beginning later this week, Cranston students will be learning from home for the remainder of the calendar year, school officials said Monday in a letter to faculty and staff.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, all of the district’s school buildings will be closed through at least Jan. 4, 2021, according to the letter. In accordance with the school calendar, classes will be held virtually until holiday recess begins on Thursday, Dec. 24.
Officials said the decision was made because of the recent surge in cases and their inability to properly staff all of the schools.
“Our school district has been working very hard to keep our schools open for those students who have needed or wanted to have in-person learning opportunities,” the letter read. “We are grateful to our staff and administrators for the unbelievable amount of time and effort that they have been putting in over these past few months managing in-person learning simultaneously with distance learning, along with managing a global pandemic.”
“With the inability to consistently and predictably manage our staffing due to positive cases, quarantining, testing time requirements, and just general absenteeism, it is not fair to parents and staff to not know from one day to the next if we can open our schools,” the letter continued.
Officials said they will reassess the situation in January, taking into account the advice of Gov. Gina Raimondo and the R.I. Department of Health, before deciding whether to reopen schools or continue with distance learning.
Members of the group R.I. Parents and Educators for Safe School have been sounding off against in-person learning since July. Group founder Stephanie Meuse says she’s glad that Cranston is going virtual, but as a teacher understands the difficulties.
“I know that it’s not best practice, but the thing is that it keeps 100% of my students safe,” she said.
The Rhode Island Department of Education’s council on secondary and elementary education will be meeting Tuesday night via Zoom. Meuse says she plans to log on and urge the board to require all schools go completely virtual until at least January 11.
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