NP schools will phase into full in-person learning

NP schools will phase into full in-person learning

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence School Department has announced a phased reopening process to begin next week after Gov. Gina Raimondo gave most school districts across the state the green light to teach all students in person this fall.

After Raimondo’s announcement Aug. 31, North Providence officials communicated with parents two days later about the changes to this year’s back-to-school schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting next week, North Providence will begin transitioning the students who have opted for in-person learning back to school in small groups split alphabetically by last name. Supt. Joseph Goho said the phased return would help students and staff better acclimate “to the numerous new routines, procedures and protocols that will be required.”

“We chose to transition in this manner during the first week to ensure a smaller, more personalized re-entry for students and staff, as well as ease of child care for families,” he said.

Students who have chosen in-person learning will return to school as follows:

• Monday, Sept. 14: Students with last names beginning A-K

• Tuesday, Sept. 15: Students with last names beginning L-Z

• Wednesday, Sept. 16: Students with last names beginning A-K

• Thursday, Sept. 17: Students with last names beginning L-Z

• Friday, Sept. 18: Students with last names beginning A-K

Starting on Monday, Sept. 21, all in-person students will attend school.

During the first week – or at any other point during the school year – children who do not attend school in-person will be participating in virtual learning.

Families with siblings or students with different last names or in different parts of the alphabet may attend school together by informing their school principal.

Although the governor is allowing districts to fully reopen, Goho said any family who has selected virtual learning for the fall will still have the option to start the school year learning at home. Distance learning will begin on Sept. 14 as well.

The North Providence School Committee approved the purchase of Chromebooks for every student who needs one this year, a move Goho said would ensure equity and access for all families. Due to nationwide demand, he said the computers are expected to arrive at some point soon, and that the distribution process would be communicated by each school when the devices are available.

Building principals are planning virtual school orientations for families, and Goho said the district has been working to prepare the school buildings to open, including hiring a consultant to audit and certify the HVAC and air circulation conditions of North Providence school buildings.

“We are continuing to prepare buildings with the necessary equipment and safeguards for optimal health, including HEPA filtration, fresh air exchange, UV lighting, sanitation and other measures to meet CDC guidelines,” he said. Goho told the School Committee last month that the district is in “good shape” to reopen.

Goho took time to thank North Providence families for their patience and understanding as officials navigated an unprecedented situation, for which he said there is no playbook.

“As superintendent, my job is to listen to student, family, staff and community feedback, and then make common sense decisions for our schools. I’ve been an administrator in North Providence for over 22 years, and I have seen firsthand that by working together in the best interest of our students and each other, the community of North Providence can overcome any challenge.”

“No matter how the school year unfolds, we are all in this together, and we will succeed because of that unbreakable bond of mutual respect and caring,” he said. “As our schools reopen, I know that teaching and learning will continue to reflect excellence, and that we will also be attentive to the social emotional needs of everyone during this unique time.”