Hello OCRS families,
This morning Dr. Paolucci shared the fifth Smithfield "Return to School Planning Report" with all Smithfield families. If you have not yet read it or if you did not receive it, I strongly encourage you to read the weekly report in its entirety at https://www.smithfield-ps.org/article/272841.
Below is some additional information that I thought OCRS families may find helpful.
Smithfield's "Return to School" Plan
The R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) required all public school districts to submit their plan for returning to school by Friday, July 17th. Smithfield's plan was submitted on-time to RIDE and can be found online for all families to view at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UuF1oYUtjWqyCDXfebNS8_2yYbJ5t69BwhH5qDQKHZ0/edit
This plan was required to include planning for three separate potential scenarios; a full in-person return to school, a partial in-person return to school, and a limited in-person return to school (distance learning). RIDE is going to review the plans of all districts and provide feedback within the next two weeks. Based upon that feedback, districts may need to make changes to their plans which we would again share with families and staff.
The latest information that we have is that the state of R.I. will decide by August 17th which of the scenarios all districts will be using for the return to school; a full in-person return to school, a partial in-person return to school, or a limited in-person return to school (distance learning). Individual districts will not be making this decision; it will be a statewide decision. For example, you shouldn't see Smithfield using a distance learning scenario for the opening of school while neighboring Johnston is using a full in-person scenario. I know that this has been a concern for a number of families and there is a lot of confusion around this topic.
Is Distance Learning an option in a full in-person return to school scenario?
There has been a lot of confusion between communities around this topic because the planning guidance from RIDE to the school districts has been interpreted differently by various school districts. In following the planning guidance from RIDE, Smithfield did not see an option for also offering distance learning as part of the full in-person return to school scenario. However, we do want to know from families if you would be interested in a distance learning option if it is something that RIDE allows us to offer as part of the full in-person return scenario.
Please fill out this form (one per student) by Monday, July 20th to indicate if you would be interested in distance learning as an option if it is allowed by RIDE, https://forms.gle/UxFxYGYhsXwSKx4q9.
An additional challenge for all school districts and families is planning for safe bus transportation. Smithfield is asking all families to indicate their opt-in/opt-out commitment to bus transportation using an online form. This information will really help in the planning for transportation. If you have not already, please fill out this form (once per student), https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScv4VFeVnFnK8VQz7VpFb3UDiN9Qc5eXr6Fslipg7xSoiRooQ/viewform.
As a district, we have been working incredibly hard to follow the guidance set forth by RIDE to create our "Return to School" plan and to ensure that our plan includes all three required scenarios. As this process continues and we receive feedback from RIDE on our plan, we will continue to communicate with families and staff about what changes may need to be made.