Greetings North Providence Community,
I am writing this message to inform you that all North Providence schools will move to Distance Learning starting December 21st through January 8th.
After carefully monitoring COVID19 data of statewide increases in positive cases and growing quarantines of students & staff members, this temporary move to Distance Learning, impacting a total of 8 school days, is the most prudent decision at this point in time. North Providence has been fully committed to in person learning which we know is vital to the academic and social emotional well-being of our students, while also ensuring the health and safety of all students and staff. When the decision was made in September to reopen R.I. schools, it was acknowledged that in order to appropriately operate during a pandemic, there would be times when districts would need to move to Distance Learning periodically, especially in the winter months. Since the start of school on September 14th, we have had approximately 90 positive cases and over 500 quarantined/close contacts. Thanks to the phenomenal work of our entire professional staff, we have been successful keeping our schools safely open and properly staffed. As Superintendent, I am immensely proud of the extraordinary commitment to students and families demonstrated by our school community.
At this point in the pandemic, there are many new obstacles to address due to the widespread transmission of the virus, combined with increased travel and interaction during the upcoming holidays. Another major factor is that our staffing levels are severely depleted by close contact quarantines, as well as the lack of available substitutes to properly cover all classrooms. RIDOH is working extremely hard and doing its absolute best to notify people in a timely manner of exposure to the virus and the need to quarantine, but there are significant delays occurring in the testing, contact tracing, and notification process. With the upcoming holidays, the contact tracing process likely will be further inhibited, and with increased travel, many more families and staff members will need to quarantine up to ten days into January if they visit states with a high positivity rate, as mandated by RIDOH.
For all of these reasons, implementing Distance Learning during this time period will ensure that our schools are not disrupted by a surge of new positive cases and quarantines. The time also will allow us to deeply clean our buildings once again. Our goal is to resume in person learning after this period of time, and then to continue to manage circumstances through the remainder of the school year.
We know that this move to Distance Learning will impact families, and we are notifying everyone now so that there is ample time to plan. In addition, this advance notification also will enable our teachers and support staff to plan lessons to maintain a high level of student engagement and instruction during Distance Learning.
Please note that this new schedule is not an extension of winter break, and that students will continue to learn and be taught virtually. The schedule is as follows:
December 21, 22, 23: Distance Learning for all students
December 24 through January 3rd: Vacation
January 4-8: Distance Learning for all students
Our goal is that on January 11th all schools can reopen for in person learning, though this date could be subject to change based on school/state COVID19 data.
Please note that Chartwells Food Services will be distributing meals to families from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM at NPHS, Ricci MS, Whelan Elementary School, and Centerdale Elementary School on Mondays and Wednesdays, December 21, December 23, December 28, December 30, January 4, and January 6. If you have any questions about meal service, please contact Donna Humphries at Chartwells at email@example.com.
We will continue to update families and staff members as necessary if new information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the school principal or your child’s teachers directly.
We are grateful for your continued support and understanding during this challenging time. We wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday season.
Joseph B. Goho, SuperintendentNorth Providence Public Schools