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Update for the Week of March 23rd
Update for the Week of March 23rd
Paul Barrette
Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hello OCRS families,

First and foremost, I hope that all of you are safe and healthy. In these very uncertain times, it's important that we all focus on what's most important, caring for our families and loved ones in the best ways that we can. As a Smithfield parent myself, I am also figuring out the best way to balance being a father, husband, principal, and teacher. What I do know is, if we are all kind, patient, and understanding with each other, we will be able to work together to do what's best for all of our children in these very uncertain times.

As we transition to our first "distance learning" week, I wanted to share some information with you, as well as offer some suggestions, information, and resources that you may find helpful.

The focus for this week (March 23-27) is on the learning packets

The learning focus for this week is the learning packets that were sent home with students on the Friday before the early "April Break". Please do not be concerned with any online or virtual learning for this week. We know that this is a challenging transition for families, especially families that still need to work from home, and we want to try and make things as manageable as possible. Online learning will not begin until the week of March 30th. All four elementary schools will be sending out more details about online learning to our families on Wednesday, March 25th.

Be patient and understanding with your child, as well as with yourself
  • We know that the transition to distance learning is going to be challenging for everyone, families, students, and teachers. Being calm and understanding when working with your child is a more important priority than worrying about completing all of the assignments and activities in the learning packets.
  • We know that homework and schoolwork and can create friction between children and parents/caregivers under the best circumstances. Work with your child and the rest of your family to create realistic expectations about what can be completed within the time that you have available. The schedule provided by your child's teacher is a suggestion; make a schedule that works best for your family.
  • Take lots of breaks, especially when you or your child is getting frustrated. There are tons of suggestions online about breaks that fit the social distancing guidelines. Here are some suggested "Brain Breaks" assembled by our friends in North Smithfield! At OCRS, we love Go Noodle for Brain Breaks!
We're here to help!
  • All of the OCRS teachers and staff, including myself, are here to help! Please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can find all of the staff email addresses on the OCRS website at
  • If you see your child is struggling with something, please reach out to us via email. Don't wait until you or your child is overwhelmed. We want to support you in making distance learning as successful and manageable as possible!
If you still need your child's learning packet

If your child was absent or dismissed early on Friday, March 13th and you still need to pick up their learning packet, please contact Mr. Barrette via email to set up a time.

Additional learning materials

Family pick up of additional materials, Thursday March 26th

Our teachers and staff will be working hard in shifts this week to put together additional learning materials for your child. These materials will include your child's math book, reading books, science notebooks, and any other materials your child's teacher thinks it important to have. Teachers and staff will be assembling these materials in "grab and go" piles and we will be organizing them in the gym.

We have a tentative schedule for families to stop by the school on Thursday, March 26th to pick up these materials. Because we know that many families have multiple students at our school, we're setting up the schedule based upon student last name, rather than by grade level. If you have students with different last names, feel free to select a time that matches the last name of any of your children. Here is the tentative schedule balanced by the numbers in each range:

  • Student last name A through D, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Student last name E through M, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Student last name N through Z, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We ask families to park in the school parking lot or in front of the school and walk to the left side of the building near the playground to the gymnasium doors (Door 4). We will have all of the packets of learning materials organized by grade level and classroom and clearly labelled for "grab and go". For the health and safety of everyone and to comply with the governor's social distancing guidelines, we would ask families to enter the gym by Door 4, locate their child's packet, and leave the gym by Door 5.

Device and internet access survey for families of students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students took home their school Chromebooks to use for online learning beginning on March 30th, so we know that they are in pretty good shape. As we prepare to take learning online in the coming days, we've created this survey to find which Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students need access to WiFi and/or a device. If you have not already, please take a moment to let us know what your digital access looks like outside of school by filling out this quick survey. The district's technology team will be using this data to try and get all families what they need to participate in online learning.

Free meals in R.I. for children

Please find below a link to free meal sites in Rhode Island for children. Unfortunately, there are not currently any sites listed in Smithfield, but new sites are being added every day.

Student medication left at school

We know that a number of students receive scheduled doses of their prescription medication from the school nurse while they are at school. Sometimes this medication is rationed or constrained by the pharmacy and families are not able to easily get a refill. If your child has medication left at school that you absolutely need to retrieve, please contact Mr. Barrette and he and Mrs. Forte will setup an appointment to meet you at school to pick up the medication. We are looking at Thursday, March 26th as the best day for pick ups.

Receiving the Latest Updates

Also, it is important for all OCRS families to make sure that they regularly check the district and school websites and social media accounts to receive the most up to date and accurate information. Dr. Paolucci has been sharing regular information about the district's preparations and plans for keeping students healthy during the coronavirus outbreak. Here is how to make sure that you see that information and stay up to date.

District-wide Information

Download the Smithfield Public Schools app (info for all six schools)

Download on the Apple App Store

Get it on Google Play

District Facebook and Twitter pages

Smithfield Public Schools Facebook page Smithfield Public Schools Twitter page

Old County Road School information

To stay up to date with the latest OCRS information, please check out the OCRS website at Also follow OCRS on our Facebook page at, our Twitter feed at

I will continue to update OCRS families as information changes and new guidance is published by the governor and the Department of Health. Stay healthy and I appreciate all of your support and cooperation as we work together to best serve the needs of our students!

Mr. Barrette

One of my favorite song lyrics with one of my favorite photos