RIDE: More COVID cases among distance learners than those attending school in person

School Updates

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ More Rhode Island students learning remotely have tested positive for coronavirus than their counterparts who have returned to their classrooms, according to data from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner, Angelica Infante-Green made the announcement at the Board of Education’s quarterly meeting on Tuesday night.

“The majority of cases in students that we have, have been kids that are in virtual learning and in home schooling,” she said. “That’s the majority of our kids that have tested positive, so there’s a little bit of an irony there.”

According to data from RIDOH, a total of 33 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among people in the in-person learning community since students resumed school on September 14. Nineteen of those people are students.

Meanwhile, the state said there have been 44 confirmed cases among those in the virtual learning community; forty of those are students.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said they are still not seeing any larger groupings of cases.

The state also plans to launch a dashboard this week breaking down COVID-19 cases by school.

“That’s something we wanted to do from the beginning is be transparent,” Infante-Green told 12 News. “I think what’s interesting is also knowing how the cases came about.”

At the Board of Education meeting the commissioner said some cases at schools were linked to adults getting sick and coming into work. She said some were college students who were student-teachers. Others weren’t aware they had the virus.

“Our first case it was an adult who came in, who thought [they] had allergies,” Infante-Green said. “And she went to the school nurse. The school nurse sent her to get tested. In three hours the other two people had been quarantined and before midday everybody knew what the information was, so it was pretty well executed.”

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