Reopening of Schools: While the district is still finalizing plans for the upcoming school year, please see below for the information they have released in regards to re-opening scenarios, health and safety, and transportation. As we continue to get new information in the coming days and weeks, we will be sharing with you ASAP!
Reopening Scenarios: Providence has the responsibility to reopen our schools in a manner that keeps our students and entire school community safe, which is why Providence is laying out four potential scenarios (full reopening, partial reopening, limited reopening, COVID-19 resurgence) for reopening in response to evolving health conditions. These scenarios are listed below. Once a scenario has been selected by the district, we will communicate with our families immediately.
Health & Safety: The health and safety of our students, teachers, staff and wider community are our top priorities as we reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. We are following all Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and best practices. Please see these protocols summarized below:
Face Masks Required
The wearing of cloth or disposable face masks will be required for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors throughout the school day. This includes:
- When students ride the bus to or from school.
- When students arrive and are dismissed from a school or facility.
- When students are in classrooms.
- When students are in common areas and hallways.
- All visitors to Providence schools or facilities must wear a face mask.
- Providence Schools will provide all students with one cloth face mask. Every school will also have a supply of disposable masks available in case students or staff forget their masks.
- All families should download and use the My Symptom Checker portion of the Crush COVID App to screen their children before the school day for the following symptoms: fever, cough, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat or loss of taste of smell. If students have risk factors or symptoms then they may not take yellow bus transportation or come to school.
- All students taking yellow school bus transportation will be screened daily by bus monitors. Monitors will ask students to provide a thumbs-up if they have no symptoms, or a thumbs-down if they are experiencing symptoms.
- All students who walk or get dropped off will be screened daily at school checkpoints using the same thumbs-up/thumbs-down system.
- Students and staff are expected to regularly wash or sanitize their hands throughout the school day.
- All Providence Schools buildings will have hand soap available in restrooms and hand sanitizer in locations where handwashing is not feasible.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
- All school buildings will receive a deep cleaning before the start of the school year.
- Our facilities vendor Aramark will be significantly increasing staffing to:
- Clean high touch surfaces in common areas throughout the day
- Sanitize bathrooms throughout the day and after each group use
- Clean and disinfect all school buildings on a daily basis including high-touch points like tables, desks, chairs, countertops, windowsills, cabinet handles and doorknobs, light switches, and telephones.
- Cleaning materials will be available in all classrooms and offices so staff can wipe down and clean surfaces throughout the day.
- To minimize opportunities for transmission, students will be placed in stable groups whenever possible. This means the same group or cohort of students will remain together, often in the same classroom, throughout the school day.
- Stable groups will be up to 30 students under Partial In-Person reopening and up to 15 students under Limited In-Person reopening.
- Interactions between stable groups will be limited wherever possible.
Social distancing of six feet or more will be implemented where possible including in hallways and stairwells.
Transportation: Getting to and from school is going to look different this school year. To comply with health and safety guidelines and to minimize the risk of spread, school bus capacity will be reduced, and new screening procedures will be in place. Below is a summary of what to expect getting to and from school this school year. As we receive more information from the district, we will immediately share with our families.
School Bus Transportation
- Screenings: Prior to getting on a school bus, all students will first be screened by a bus monitor using a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system. Monitors will ask students to provide a thumbs-up if they have no symptoms, or a thumbs-down if they are experiencing symptoms.
- Face Masks: Students are required to wear face masks at all times while getting onto, riding in, and getting off their school bus.
- Limited Capacity: In all scenarios, capacity will be reduced by 50%.
- School Bus Cleaning: All school buses will be cleaned and sanitized following Rhode Island Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines.
Drop Offs and Walking To School Options
- Families may opt-out of busing and instead either drop their children off at school or allow them to walk to their school. We are also working to expand “Walking School Bus” programs.
- Screenings Upon Arrival: All students dropped off or walking to school will be screened daily at school checkpoints using a thumbs-up no symptoms / thumbs-down experiencing symptoms system.
- Due to reduced school bus capacity, there will be more runs to and from schools at the start and end of each school day. As a result, we are adjusting bell times from two general times to three.
- Bell times are available online at providenceschools.org/schools.