Some districts decide against in-person learning, despite green light from Raimondo

School Updates

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Districts across Rhode Island are forced to make a decision on whether to begin the school year with in-person learning after getting the green light from Gov. Gina Raimondo earlier this week.

Raimondo on Monday gave all but two school districts in Rhode Island permission to reopen in-person learning fully on Sept. 14.

But not every district is currently planning to do so.

At least three school districts ─ Warwick, Pawtucket and Cumberland ─ have voted to start the school year with distance learning.

Pawtucket Superintendent Cheryl McWilliams tells 12 News that the city’s School Committee is “reaffirming” its previously passed plan to begin the school year remotely.

Warwick Public Schools announced Tuesday that it plans to do the same. The Warwick School Committee held a meeting Tuesday afternoon regarding reopening plans for elementary schools.

“We will move forward on plans to begin the 2020-21 school year in distance learning,” the committee members said in a statement. “Special education programs, pre-school and career and technical education students will continue to be planned for an in person environment.”

Although Cumberland voted last week to start the school year virtually, education officials tell 12 News they’ve decided to go back to the drawing board.

“I think what we need to do this week is get in to the details of what do we need to do to get to a phased in reopening,” said Karen Freedman, vice chair of the Cumberland School Committee.

The Cranston School Committee is holding a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss their plans and will make a decision on whether to start school in-person or remotely.

The state’s new guidance allows districts to take four weeks to gradually transition into full in-person learning, though it states all should get there by Oct. 13.

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