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Update for the Week of February 21st
Update for the Week of February 21st
Paul Barrette
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Hello OCRS families,

I hope that students enjoyed their time during the February Break to relax and to have some fun with their families. I know that all of the staff have definitely appreciated the opportunity to recharge and we're ready to welcome students back to school this week, both in-person and virtually.

There is a LOT of information included in this Weekly Update, so please take your time reviewing it.

5th Grade D.A.R.E. Program Starting in March

In partnership with the Smithfield Police Department, we are very happy to announce that the 5th grade D.A.R.E. program will be starting across all four elementary schools in March. Officer Ryan came and visited OCRS right before February Break to let both the 5th grade teachers and students know about the start of the program. While he is in the school building and working with our students, Officer Ryan will be following the same COVID health and safety protocols that all Smithfield teachers and staff have been following. More information will be sent out to 5th grade families in March, but we wanted to share the good news with you!

Elementary Snow Day Guidance

It is Smithfield’s goal to provide students with synchronous instruction on distance learning days that are precipitated by inclement weather. When school closures are predicted or anticipated, Chromebooks will be sent home with students so that they can engage in live instruction.

Principals will inform teachers when a school closure is possible or anticipated so that the following materials can be sent home with students:

  • Chromebook and charger
  • MyMath workbook page(s)
  • paper and pencil

All other materials can be accessed online. There may be times that it is necessary to send these materials home even though a decision about school closure has not yet occurred.

On distance learning days, synchronous instruction (live lessons) will be provided for morning meeting, ELA, math, interventions, support services, and specials. Science lessons will be posted to Google Classroom. Teachers will also be available during office hours.

When a school closure is not expected or able to be announced in advance, students will complete asynchronous tasks on the distance learning day.

  • Teachers in each grade level will develop a “snow-day” packet that includes math, ELA, and science tasks that are appropriate for the grade-level. Specialists will create an activity or assignment that is specific to their subject area. The packets should be sent home with students and set aside for school closures that occur without advanced notice or in the case of a power outage on a distance learning day.

When students return to school, whether after a weather cancellation OR when a cancellation does not occur, students should always bring back their Chromebook, charger, and MyMath workbook. The “snow day” packet can remain at home for any potential weather cancellations in the future. Also, if there is no weather cancellation, students who normally attend school in-person should return to school. In-person students cannot remain home and join the virtual learning tutor when school is in session.

Regular Student BinaxNOW COVID Testing

Like all six Smithfield schools, OCRS will be continuing with regular student BinaxNOW COVID testing during the school day approximately every two weeks. The next testing day at OCRS is Monday, March 1st. The testing process at OCRS has gone very smoothly and we thank families for your cooperation and support.

If families have already returned the signed BinaxNOW testing consent form, there isn't any additional paperwork for your child to be continued to be tested at school. If a family did not return the signed consent form and you would like your child to participate, please find a parental consent form available for download at If you need a paper copy, please email Mrs. Deus at school and she will make sure that one is sent home with your child.

Travel Guidance Reminder

The district is again sharing our new policy about travel. An executive order issued by the governor allows for three quarantine options for someone returning to RI after traveling to a US state where greater than 5% of COVID tests are positive (check the RIDOH website for an updated list of these states at

  1. The “gold standard” is to quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms.
  2. As an exception, you may provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to your arrival back in RI.
  3. Travelers may also receive a COVID-19 test during their 14-day quarantine period in RI. If they get a negative result, they can stop quarantining but should still self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

The district is now allowing members of our school community to use the testing options above to reduce or eliminate the need to quarantine. Please notify Mr. Barrette and Mrs. Forte if your family is travelling so we can review all of the information and keep everyone in the OCRS school community safe.

We also remind parents that travel during school days is considered a non-excused absence, even with the availability of distance learning.

Free Lunch and Breakfast for Students

I keep including this information in the Weekly Update because it is such an amazing opportunity for students and families!

School meals (breakfast AND lunch) are free for ALL children (in-person and virtual learners) for the entire 2020-2021 school year! In-person learning students simply need to order lunch in the classroom each morning. Pick up of meals for virtual learning families takes place Monday through Friday at Smithfield High School, Door #2 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Weekend meals are available for pick-up on Friday.

A family with two children will save $66.50 per week on breakfast and lunch and we encourage OCRS families to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!

Supporting LGBTQ+ Kids

The Tri-County Community Action Agency is offering a session on February 24th at 6:00 p.m. titled "Supporting LGBTQ+ Kids: A discussion on how to have meaningful conversation". The session will be facilitated by Dr. Will Giordano-Perez, Medical Director of Tri-County Community Action Agency specializing in LGBTQ+ care and Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Parents can register for this session at

PTA Information

5th grade committee meeting

The OCRS PTA 5th Grade Committee is meeting online on Wednesday 2/24 at 7:00 p.m. All 5th grade families are invited and encouraged to attend. You can find additional information at

Upcoming Silver Graphics PTA Fundraiser

The OCRS PTA will be offering an unique fundraiser that will feature the artwork of our OCRS students on a variety of products that can be safely ordered online and delivered right to families! We are working with Ms. Moretti, our OCRS art teacher, to help students create artwork. Students will be creating their artwork with Ms. Moretti during Art class this week. Virtual learning students will be able to create their artwork at home and upload a photo or a scan of the artwork directly to the vendor's website. More information about the upload option for families of virtual learning students will be shared next week.

Online Book Fair

The OCRS online Book Fair will be held from February 22nd to March 7th! A specific email will be sent to families on Monday with the link to the online virtual store. Families should have received a paper notice before February Break.

Upcoming Dates and Events

OCRS Online Book Fair, February 22nd through March 7th

5th Grade Committee Meeting, Wednesday 2/24 at 7:00 p.m.

Student BinaxNOW COVID Testing at School, Monday March 1st

Flex Day (NO IN-PERSON LEARNING), Monday March 15th

Ongoing thanks to OCRS families for your Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy. Those three words are guiding 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 continue to be a safe and successful year.

Mr. Barrette