East Providence, mostly, allows return of in-person school instruction

Kent Heights Elementary building remains closed due to virus outbreak

By Mike Rego
Posted 11/30/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence School District administration’s strategic decision to cancel in-person instruction Thanksgiving Week in an attempt to quell the recent rise in …

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East Providence, mostly, allows return of in-person school instruction

Kent Heights Elementary building remains closed due to virus outbreak

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence School District administration’s strategic decision to cancel in-person instruction Thanksgiving Week in an attempt to quell the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases appears to have worked as all but one of its buildings re-opened to pupils and personnel on Monday, Nov. 30.

Superintendent Kathryn Crowley said continued staff shortages at Kent Heights Elementary School because of positive test results and those deemed in close contact will keep that building shuttered through Friday, Dec. 4.

Last week, the superintendent announced the administration was taking advantage of the built-in recess days around Thanksgiving to close each of its buildings, which to a greater and lesser extent, have all experienced some sort of outbreak among students and staff.

Schools around the state are closed each Wednesday according to Rhode Island Department of Health protocols to clean and disinfect facilities. Last Thursday was the holiday and buildings traditionally shut the Friday after Thanksgiving.

For obvious reasons, the district’s nursing staff has been particularly susceptible to the virus. Also, several instructors and building administrators have contracted the virus from partners who work in other schools around the state.

Students attending both in-person classes and those who are receiving virtual instruction have almost in equal measures attained the virus, possibly even more so those who distance learn because they are not necessarily following preventative measures put in place by the district in buildings.

To that end, Superintendent Crowley received word from the DOH of two positive COVID-19 test results for students and one staff member at the high school on Friday, Nov. 27.

At the same time, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced her plans for a two-week “pause,” including elements related to schools, beginning Monday, Nov. 30.

Though the state would allow a switch to remote instruction entirely for high school students if administrators wished to do so, the governor is urging all districts to continue offering in-person lessons for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8.

The governor stressed while superintendents may choose to shift high schools to limited in-person learning, students with special learning needs and others who need in-person instruction must continue to receive it.

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