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Update for the Week of October 4th
Update for the Week of October 4th
Paul Barrette
Sunday, October 04, 2020

Hello OCRS families,

Thank you for your continued support, engagement, and communication over the first three weeks of school. The more closely that teacher, staff, and students' families work together, the better we can meet the needs of our students and quickly make adjustments as things change.

OCRS Virtual Open House Wednesday, 10/7 from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m.

Like many things this school year, Open House is going to look a little different than it has in the past. However, what will not change is that Open House is a great opportunity for parents and families to meet their child's teachers and learn about what their child is learning. This year's elementary school Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and it will be VIRTUAL. Families will NOT come to the school building for this year's Open House. Families will join Google Meets set up by teachers to get tours of both the in-person and virtual classrooms, as well as to hear about what is happening in the classrooms. Teachers will be in-person at school in order to be able to connect with families via video chat and to show their classrooms.

Mr. Barrette will send out a visual schedule on Monday evening to make it easy for families to find the links to virtually visit their child's teachers on Wednesday night. Just a reminder that Open House is not intended to be an opportunity for families to have one-on-one in-depth meetings with teachers about their individual child. The purpose of Open House is a chance for families to visit the classrooms and meet the teachers. If you have very specific concerns about your child, please reach out to your child's teacher to schedule a separate meeting.

PTA General Meeting

The first PTA General Meeting of the year will be held on Tuesday, 10/6 at 7:00 p.m.  This will be a virtual meeting and all OCRS parents and guardians are invited and welcome to join. The Google Meet joining information is You can also join via phone at 513-816-0448 PIN: 259 450 291#.

PTA OCRS "Spirit Wear" online orders until 10/11

The OCRS PTA has been working with their vendor to open up the OCRS "Spirit Gear" website for orders from any families who are interested in purchasing an OCRS t-shirt, fleece, or hat. In order to get this first order of the year in, families will need to submit their order by October 11th. Families that are interested can place their order online at You can see a breakdown of the products being offered by checking out the attachment. You can also email Jon Poyourow with any questions at

Online Free and Reduced Meal Application

The district's online free and reduced meal application is now available! You can access it at or by visiting the Smithfield Public Schools website at, select Explore, Food Service & Nutrition, School Lunch Applications, 2020-2021 Online Meal Application and follow the online instructions. This will eliminate the need for a paper application and will streamline the process of applying.

As previously shared with families, the USDA is providing free breakfasts and lunches to all children under the age of 18, but only until 12/31/20 (sooner if funding is depleted). All families are encouraged to take this free benefit while it's available. For those wishing to continue with the free or reduced meal benefits after the USDA program expiration date, an application must be submitted. Please consider filling out an online application.

Reduced Cost Internet Access Options for Families

With virtual learning, reliable internet access for families is more important than ever. There are several options for reduced cost internet access for families in need. Please see the linked flyer for the "T-Mobile Project 10 Million" program and also click the link below to a list of multiple options for reduced cost internet access,

School Improvement Team

We are looking for a few parents interested in serving on the Old County Road School Improvement Team (S.I.T.)! The mission of the S.I.T. is to focus the school on student performance and a process of continuous school improvement that involves and informs all members of the school community in this work.

Responsibilities of the School Improvement Team are:

  • Recommendations of changes to school procedures and handbooks that are consistent with state and local policies and standards.
  • Review of school data and identification of the educational needs of the students attending the school.
  • The formulation of an annual School Improvement Plan.
  • Review of the school building budget.

If you are interested in volunteering to serve on the OCRS S.I.T., please email Mr. Barrette.

Small Toys and Activities for Recess

Because each class stays with its stable pod during recess, students must still maintain physical distance from each other, and students cannot share equipment, there aren't as many play options for students this year during recess. To provide students with more play options during recess, this year students are allowed to bring to school small toys or activities (coloring books, puzzles, books, etc.) to be used during recess. These toys are ONLY to be used during recess and MUST fit into a gallon ziploc-type plastic bag. As always, video games and electronics are not allowed at school. For their own health and safety and the safety of others, students may not share these items.

Sign-up for a Smithfield Public Library Card

Thanks to our friends at Smithfield's public libraries, we have a video to use with students to encourage signing up for library cards. We encourage families to watch this short video with your child and take advantage of the two wonderful public libraries we have here in Smithfield!

Follow up on positive COVID case

As OCRS families are aware, on September 29th the R.I. Department of Health was notified that a Kindergarten student at OCRS tested positive for COVID-19. Staff worked closely with RIDOH’s COVID-19 Unit to determine who had close contact with the person who tested positive. Out of an abundance of caution, the team decided that the entire kindergarten class, along with selected staff who work in this classroom, needed to be quarantined.

While it is understandably upsetting and disappointing that we have a positive case at our school, it is not unexpected and it illustrates why the guidelines, routines, and protocols that we have in place as a district and a school are so important. Because of the ongoing hard work of the OCRS staff, we had all of the information requested by RIDOH readily available and were able to quickly respond. As a school, with the assistance of our assistant superintendent, we also assembled learning materials for all of the students that were quarantined and delivered those materials to families the very next day. This allowed the students who are quarantined to immediately make the shift to virtual learning.

While it is certainly not ideal, we know that there will be COVID-19 cases throughout the school year and we have planned in advance for this scenario. Our success as a school community will be measured by our ability to limit the spread once a case is identified and our efforts to ensure that learning continues for our students.

Upcoming Dates and Events

PTA General Meeting, Tuesday 10/6 at 7:00 p.m.

OCRS Virtual Open House, Wednesday 10/7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Columbus Day, NO SCHOOL, Monday 10/12


Thank you again for your continued Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy throughout these first few weeks of school. Those three important words are going to continue to guide us throughout this school year and we will all need to continue to make adjustments as the year progresses. As long as we approach those adjustments with the best interests of our students as our priority, I am confident that this will be a safe and successful year.

Mr. Barrette

1st grade playing safely together at recess