For teachers, students, parents, and probably most of all, superintendents, the start of the 2021-22 school year is filled with promise and high expectations, but also with uncertainty as COVID continues to spread, with more young people becoming infected and a vaccine yet to be available to most of those in elementary schools.

Newport School Superintendent Colleen Burn Jermain joins WhatsUpNewp for a videocast Tuesday at 1 p.m. to talk about the upcoming school year, and review how well the system dealt with the challenges of a difficult 2020-21. The start of school is slightly more than a week away, with classes scheduled for Sept. 8.

We’ll also ask the superintendent about additional requirements of students and teachers at the start of the year – the mask wearing mandate, rumors of accelerated COVID testing for young students, any testing requirements for student athletes?

We want to know if the school system expects some students to be behind because of remote learning last year, how the system will deal with parents who don’t want their children to attend in person, and whether the schools are fully staffed? In many districts, school officials are encouraging parents to drive their children to school because of a shortage of bus drivers.

There also appears to be a nursing shortage in Rhode Island, and we wonder whether that’s had any impact on the schools. 

We’ll ask about any other procedural changes, and how the school buildings are being equipped to provide additional ventilation, along with security precautions? 

And, of course, we want to know about the school building project and its progress.

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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.