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Governor Raimondo and the the Department of Health will provide an update on COVID-19 in Rhode Island during a press briefing at 1 pm today.

What’s Up Newp will carry it live below and on our Facebook Page as it happens.

Updates from press briefing;

Gov: Says she and her husband got tested for COVID-19 this morning, says she tested negative.

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Gov: Reminder tests available for asymptomatic employees in close-contact business or in childcare. Anyone who attended a protest can, too.

Gov: On schools – Gov. says she’s setting a goal that state will return to full in-person school this fall. Rhode Island Department of Education working on contingency plans as well.

Gov: Rhode Island will have a standardized statewide calendar, first day of school will be August 31st. Statewide calendar will be released later today.

Gov: Says “perfect attendance culture” will have to change. Kids can’t go to school with the sniffles. She says the state will rely on distance learning in these situations.

Gov: Health guidance and data shows it’ll be safe to open schools in Phase 3, which could start as early as next month.

Gov: By next Friday, state will post the minimum health and safety requirements that must be met by school districts. School districts have until July 17th to submit plans to RIDOH.

Gov: Says she knows that it’s going to cost more money to operate, to help districts with additional expenses the state will be making available $42 million from CARES Act Funding.

Gov: Next Monday (June 15th) at 7 pm there will be a special on Rhode Island PBS, Your Year 2020, for the Class of 2020. It will be followed by a virtual concert, United for Grads, with Grammy nominated musicians, celebs.

Gov: SNAP Participants are now going to be able to buy groceries online using their EBT online via Amazon or participating Walmart stores.

Education Commissioner: Cox is giving teachers $1k each. Marissa Bianco from Newport Providence, Michael Carlino from Rogers High School in Newport, and Paula MacMillian from Cumberland. “Use it anywhere you want during distance learning or when you go back to your classroom,” she says.

The Rhode Island Department of Education shared the following information following the press briefing;

State Announce Next Steps on Path to Open School This Fall

Releases Statewide Planning Calendar and Outlines Support for School Leaders

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante Green today announced several key steps to fulfill the state’s commitment to safely reopen public K-12 schools this fall. The Governor’s goal is for all districts to work to return to in-person learning on August 31.

The primary element is a statewide calendar for all public school districts to use during the 2020-2021 academic year. The calendar is a dynamic planning tool, which RIDE will update and share throughout the school year in response to the unfolding public health situation. It will provide consistency to families and students, while also enabling educators and school systems to collaborate on activities like shared professional development.

“We are planning for a safe, in-person return to school this fall,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “The first step comes today, with our new statewide school calendar. This gives us a solid foundation to ensure our students are back in their classrooms as soon as possible, while providing the flexibility we need to quickly respond to changing circumstances. We are moving forward on all fronts to make sure school opens on time.”

“The entire Rhode Island education community stepped up to make distance learning happen on short notice this year, and for that we should be extremely proud,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “We are working to develop a range of options to help schools open, make sure students learn, and safeguard their health and safety. By putting all our school systems on a common calendar, we will be able to provide the high levels of support and coordination we need no matter what the future brings.”

RIDE is working with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to develop a continuum of school-reopening scenarios, which balance prioritizing the health and safety of school communities with providing in-person instruction as soon as possible. RIDE will be providing guidance to districts, charters and state-run schools next week to help them develop their own individual back-to-school plans. Those plans will be submitted to RIDE for review and implementation support.

Highlights of the statewide 2020-21 school year calendar include:

  • All Rhode Island public schools will begin on August 31, 2020. 
  • All Rhode Island students and teachers will have a Winter vacation from February 15 through 19, 2021.
  • All Rhode Island students and teachers will have a Spring vacation from April 19 through 23, 2021.
  • The following days will be statewide professional development days: September 21, October 19, November 16, December 14, January 25, March 15, April 12, and May 17. Those days will be distance learning days for students.
  • Snow days will still be determined at the district level, and school will be held via distance learning.
  • Graduations can be held by high schools any time after their 170th day of instruction, which is expected to be June 2.
  • The statewide school year for students will end on the 180th day of instruction, which is expected to be June 16, 2021. School systems may choose to add instructional days to their calendar beyond the 180-day required statewide calendar.
  • While RIDE encourages private schools to follow the statewide calendar, those decisions will be made at the school level.

“The consistency of the school calendar is one step in addressing the enormous challenge of supporting children in every ZIP code,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of RIDOH. “Access to stable, quality education is a major socioeconomic and environmental determinant of health. While addressing the immediate health threat posed by the pandemic, we must continue working on the underlying, structural factors that drive health disparities to begin with. Every child deserves an equal opportunity to grow up healthy and flourish.”

The Commissioner stressed that schools will be ready to conduct distance learning throughout the school year if students become sick, are quarantined, or are otherwise unable to attend school for an extended period of time. RIDE will continue to work with local education agencies (LEAs, which include districts, charters and state-run schools) to review statewide plans and coordinate with local education leaders on implementation.

The state is planning to provide financial support to LEAs as they implement their individual reopening plans. There will be a focus on equity, including a prioritization of resources for communities with high levels of community spread of COVID-19. Support will include additional funding from the CARES Act to offset increased costs LEAs will incur, such as increased transportation and cleaning costs. Details of additional support is expected to be finalized by the end of June, as more information about the state’s FY21 budget is developed.

For more information on specific districts and schools, please contact the appropriate local school district or school. Learn the latest about RIDE’s response to the public health situation by visiting RIDE’s COVID-19 web page.


Press Release From RIDOH

Governor Announces Goal for In-Person Learning This Fall, Updates for SNAP and Rhode Island Works Recipients 

Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and Angélica Infante-Green, the Commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) provided details today on the state’s response to COVID-19. 

The Governor announced that all school districts are aiming to return to in-person learning on August 31st. The state’s approach includes the adoption of a statewide calendar for all public school districts to use during the 2020-2021 academic year. RIDE is working with RIDOH to develop a continuum of school-reopening scenarios, which balance prioritizing the health and safety of school communities with providing in-person instruction as soon as possible. RIDE will be providing guidance to districts, charter schools, and state-run schools next week to help them develop their own individual back-to-school plans. Those plans will be submitted to RIDE for review and implementation support.

Schools will be ready to conduct distance learning throughout the school year if students become sick, are quarantined, or are otherwise unable to attend school for an extended period of time. RIDE will continue to work with local education agencies (LEAs, which include districts, charters, and state-run schools) to review statewide plans and coordinate with local education leaders on implementation.

The state is planning to provide financial support to districts as they implement their individual reopening plans. There will be a focus on equity, including a prioritization of resources for communities with higher rates of COVID-19. Support will include additional funding from the CARES Act to offset increased costs LEAs will incur, such as increased transportation and cleaning costs. For more information, visit RIDE’s COVID-19 web page

The Governor also announced that, for the first time, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are now able to select and pay for their groceries online using their EBT card at Amazon and participating Walmart stores. For more details, visit dhs.ri.gov

DHS also recently received approval to issue a Rhode Island Works emergency payment to families currently receiving these RI Works benefits. This payment is to help offset expenses that may have occurred during this pandemic. The $1.6M through the CARES Act will help 3,700 Rhode Island Works families and is a one-time payment for families who were eligible in either April or May and are receiving benefits in June. The funds will be put on parents’ EBT cards on June 19th. For more details, visit dhs.ri.gov

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH announced 66 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 15,756. RIDOH also announced four additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 812. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

Key messages for the public

  • Rhode Island is now in Phase 2 of the reopening process. More information about Phase 2 is available at www.reopeningri.com.
  • Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).
  • Close contacts of someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they haven’t been tested, should quarantine for 14 days following contact. Close contact means being within approximately six feet of a person for a prolonged period.
  • When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering.
  • Keep your groups consistent and small.
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).
  • People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022.
  • Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

The Latest Rhode Island Data

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