PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While school’s out for the summer in many communities, students, parents and teachers are starting to enjoy the break from class. However, they’re also constantly wondering what will happen next year.
One thing for sure though is each school district has to come up with three separate plans for how school will operate, and be funded, by July 17.
“The goal is schools reopening in person. Nearly every school. Every kid. In person. August 31st,” said Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green.
With safety as the priority, Governor Raimondo and Infante-Green admit they’re not quite sure what the next school year will look like.
“We need to have plans for whatever it looks like so that’s why we’re going to have these three plans in motion, so no matter what comes our way, we’re able to be prepared,” said Infante-Green.
The state released new, concrete guidance on how districts can open, so superintendents can start planning what works best for their specific district.
“Not every community has been equally affected by this terrible virus. Exeter looks different than Central Falls,” Raimondo said.
A model of the ideal situation for elementary and middle school students would be keeping them in the same groups of 30 or fewer people all the time.
“Any time more than one stable group is in the same place, so maybe two groups of 30 are in the same space, cafeteria or whatever, the two groups have to be 14 feet away from one another,” said Raimondo.
Since high school students know how to better social distance, and rely on switching classes for different subjects, they’ll have more freedom. But if there’s an outbreak of COVID-19, a “Plan B” must be in effect.
“Plan C” would restrict in-person learning even further, with the focus prioritizing young kids and differently abled and multilingual students to still be in the classroom if possible.
Governor Raimondo acknowledged that they’re going to have to get very creative when it comes to safely busing everyone to and from school.
She also commended the more than 2,000 students who already signed up for free online summer classes to enrich their learning before next school year.