Providence plans staggered return to in-person learning for students in New Year

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Students in Providence will return to in-person learning following the winter break, but not all at once.

In an email sent to parents Wednesday, the district said it’s planning a staggered return to the classroom for grades Pre-K through 12.

“This phased approach will allow the district to conduct testing as students return to prevent potential exposures,” the email reads.

Students are scheduled to return by grade over the course of three days:

  • Pre-K, kindergarten and grades 1, 6 and 9 – Monday, Jan. 3
  • Grades 2, 3, 7, 10, 11 – Tuesday, Jan. 4
  • Grades 4, 5, 8, and 12 – Wednesday, Jan. 5.

All students were sent home prior to winter break with the materials needed for distance learning. Those who aren’t returning immediately will be learning remotely until their scheduled return date.

The district said all teachers and staff, regardless of the grade they work with, will be required to return in person for the first day of classes.

As of now, students are not required to produce a negative test prior to returning to school, though getting tested is strongly encouraged.

“With the uptick in cases across the state and increased demand for testing, we urge you to schedule a test as soon as possible,” the email continues.

The district plans on hosting a walk-in testing clinic for all students this Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Providence Career & Technical Academy.

In order to get tested, students will be required to show their Providence Public Schools ID.

When asked about the possibility for a statewide virtual learning mandate, a spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee said all school districts will be returning in person in the New Year.

It’s unclear at this time whether districts can decide whether to shift to remote learning or stagger students’ return dates like Providence.

The spokesperson said McKee will detail the state’s back-to-school guidelines during a scheduled media briefing Thursday.

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