Hello OCRS families,
Thank you for your continued support during this period of online learning. The teachers and staff are all working extremely hard and we appreciate everything that you are doing at home to assist and support your children in their learning.
Clarification on April 3rd and 17th "Staff PD" Days and April 9th and 10th "No School" Days
The decision to adjust the school calendar for the entire state was announced by the Commissioner of Education just this Monday afternoon, so I can understand how it might be a little confusing for families. Hopefully, this will help clarify things!
There is NO SCHOOL or Online Learning at all on April 9th and 10th
The commissioner has decreed that April 9th and 10th are days completely off for students, teachers, and staff. There will be no online learning taking place during these two days. Essentially, all students, teachers, and staff have a 4-day weekend!
There IS Online Learning for students on Friday, April 3rd and Friday, April 17th
There is online learning for students on Friday 4/3 and Friday 4/17, but there won't be any "live" teaching via video because the teachers and staff will be participating in professional development on those days. Teachers will post in Google Classroom some low-key activities for students to engage in on these Fridays. Some examples will be to finish up owed work, read to someone in your house (or read silently), play a math game, draw something that you learned about this week, etc. Please don't forget to sign your child into the online attendance form on these two days because they still count as school days.
The school nurses from all four elementary schools have been working together and they assembled some notes and information that they thought might be helpful for families. Please find the "Nurses' Notes" linked here, https://5il.co/ehh4.
YouTube access for elementary students
Due to the incredibly unique and challenging circumstances that we are all working within, there have been a number of discussions among district administrators and principals about enabling access to YouTube for elementary students while online learning is taking place. The decision was made today as a district to enable YouTube for students when using their school Chromebook to allow for access to the wide variety of learning resources that are available.
Please see below a message from the district's Director of Technology, Mr. Scott Barnett for more information.
"For the purpose of facilitating more online educational resources for our teachers, we are temporarily lifting the block on YouTube for K-5 grades. This is the most supervised group of students in regards to online resources and teachers are embedding their materials in Google Classroom and Google Slides, rather than directing students to the website directly. Many educational material suppliers use this service to host their videos and the block has had a negative effect on our teachers' ability to have the best online resources available. We believe the benefits of this decision at this time outweigh the risks regarding YouTube content and we continue to request that teachers refine and select resources that are presented in their Classrooms and Slides and not direct students directly to YouTube resources to minimize distractions and access to unrelated content. We ask that you continue to monitor your student's screen time outside of the planned classroom lessons to provide further supervision of their use of these resources."
Internet access for families at home
To ensure that all Rhode Island students have access to the WiFi necessary for online learning at home, the Governor today announced Monday that all households that have a smart phone with a WiFi hot spot feature AND have cell phone service from the four most common providers in our state – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint – will be able to activate the hot spot feature for free. There will be no activation fee, no usage fee, and no overage fee. This policy will last until at least May 13.
Students learning and playing outside