Providence Schools Plan Partial Reopening

Governor Gina Raimondo
The Director of the Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH.
Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green

Based on the latest COVID-19 data for the City of Providence, Providence Public Schools will start the school year with a partial reopening that offers in-person learning for all elementary grades and a combination of in-person and distance learning for other grades.

“We are excited to welcome our students back to school, and we are dedicated to getting off to a great start,” said Superintendent Harrison Peters. “We appreciate that Governor Raimondo and Commissioner Infante-Green relied on science and the latest data to prioritize safety when determining the best reopening scenario for Providence Public Schools this fall.”

This announcement does not impact the approximately 6,500 students who chose to enroll in the Virtual Learning Academy, which will follow a 100% remote learning model through January.

Details of the partial reopening are as follows:

·         Students from prekindergarten to grade 5 will return to school in person beginning Sept. 14.

·         Students in grades 6 and 9 will start the school year with an alternating schedule that switches daily between distance learning and in-person learning. The schedule repeats every two weeks.

·         At this writing, students in grades 7 and  10 are scheduled to begin the school year with distance learning only and transition to an alternating schedule by Sept. 28.

·         Also at this writing, students in grades 8, 11 and 12 will begin the school year with distance learning only and transition to an alternating schedule by Oct. 13.

·         Certain special populations of 6th-12th graders, such as select multilingual learners and students in self-contained special education programs, will be able to return to school for in-person learning either on a daily or alternating basis, beginning Sept. 14.

Alternating schedules allow secondary schools to reduce their capacity by 50%—one of several measures the district is taking to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To enact these schedules, students will be assigned to one of two groups. Group A will report to school on the days that Group B follows distance learning, and Group B will report to school on the days that Group A follows distance learning.

The district will inform families of their group assignments no later than close of business on Wednesday, Sept. 2. It is important to note that, to make the alternating schedule more manageable for families, the district will assign siblings to the same group, even if they attend different schools. The district is also working on a parent guide to help walk families through the reopening of schools in Providence.

Related Information

·         Virtual Learning Academy: Families enrolled in the Virtual Learning Academy will be invited to information sessions next week to discuss scheduling, curriculum and the roles of learning coaches. The district will be sharing registration information for those families today and tomorrow.

·         Transportation: The number of Providence students traveling by school bus this fall has dropped by 42% due to following factors: students enrolling in the Virtual Learning Academy, kindergartners attending only neighborhood schools and families opting out of school bus transportation. As a strategy to limit the virus transmission, school bus capacity is now limited to a maximum of 36 students, and the district is adding runs to accommodate this change. The district will notify families of their school bus routes and run times early next week.

·         Technology: Most families who received loaner Chromebooks this spring will use those same Chromebooks for distance learning this fall. Newly registered students, as well as students who turned in their Chromebooks in the spring, will hear from their school shortly with plans for picking up technology. Students who are enrolled in the Virtual Learning Academy and do not currently have chromebooks will be contacted by the school with which they were last affiliated.

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