Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 07-23-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 23-29, 2020 WOONSOCKET 3 WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Education Department has submitted its plan for reopen- ing schools to the Rhode Island Department of Education, and that plan does not involve bringing stu- dents back to the buildings full-time. Instead, the plan involves a com- plicated combination of in-person and virtual learning, and even that, district leaders acknowledged, could change depending on how things turn out in the weeks ahead. "Hopefully, things go well as we start the school year. Hopefully, the number of cases statewide goes down. We don't know what it's going to look like at the end of the sum- mer," Supt. Patrick McGee told the School Committee last week. The basics of the plan involve sending students to school for two to four days per week depending on their grade level and keeping them home for virtual learning the remainder of the time. McGee said the virtual learning days would look similar to what families experienced this past spring, when students received assignments to work on at home. According to the current plan, the entire district, grades pre-K through 12, will have a virtual learning day on Mondays. McGee said they chose Monday due to the large number of holidays that fall on Mondays and also because the state plans on host- ing professional development for teachers one Monday per month. Students in pre-K, kindergarten and grade 6 will attend school in person for the remaining four days of the week. For students in the remaining grades, however, the plan will look a bit more complicated. Students whose last name begins with A through L will attend school in per- son on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and virtually on Thursdays and Fridays. Students whose last name begins with K through Z will attend school virtually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and in person on Thursdays and Fridays. In cases where siblings have differ- ent last names, children will attend based on the older student's last name to keep families on the same schedule. The scheduling puzzle is the result of concerns about student capacity and social distancing in classrooms, concerns that have driven districts in some other parts of the country to delay reopening schools this fall. In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced schools will reopen on Aug. 31, but that reopening could look very different depending on a student's home district. McGee said the district hopes to bring students back for more days of in- person learning as the year goes on, but that will depend on what's happening in the community. "We hope that when we implement this plan, the num- bers in Woonsocket go down. We hope that we don't have any cases of students and staff who have the symptoms and test positive," he said. At-risk and differently-abled stu- dents, he said, will be prioritized for in-person learning. Even once students arrive at school, the day will look different from what they've come to expect. According to School Committee Chairman Paul Bourget, masks will be expected for teachers and strongly encouraged for students when moving outside the classroom, though he said the district does not plan to discipline students for not wearing masks. At the elementary level, students will remain in "pods," eating lunch in their classrooms and remaining with the same students all day. At the high school level, students will have one class per day in person with a teacher, alternating which class depending on the week. For the rest of the day, they'll remain in a classroom with students from that period but log on to their computers to "attend" virtual classes in other parts of the building. The plan, designed to minimize interac- tions between high school students, means that in many cases, 15 students in a classroom could be attending 15 different classes at one time. That portion of the plan already has detractors, including Bourget, who told The Breeze he thinks it needs more work. In addition to the obvious distractions, Bourget point- ed out that many students may opt to stay home knowing that most of their classes will be virtual anyway. "If you're going to bring them into school, teach them live. That's what I would like to see," he said. According to McGee, students will have the option to stay home for virtual learning, and 65 percent of parents said in a survey they're not comfortable sending their student to school regardless of the plan. The results bring up the uncertainty of how many students will actually be in schools this fall, and how many in-person teachers will be necessary to teach those students. Bourget said the district expects to receive feedback from the Rhode Island Department of Education and make adjustments to the plan in the weeks ahead. No full in-person school for Woonsocket students this fall By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com MCGEE BOURGET do you know? You can place a Classified Ad anytime at valleybreeze.com Click on 'Classifieds' Woonsocket Rotary names Bouchard as president WOONSOCKET – Roger Bouchard was installed as Woonsocket Rotary Club president dur- ing socially distant ceremonies at River Falls restaurant in June. Bouchard in his remarks said, "Our Rotary goals call for us to work for diver- sity, equity and inclusion to change who we are to keep us relevant to our community." Bouchard succeeds Edward Skwirz as club leader. Bouchard, a Woonsocket resident, is president and general manager of radio station WNRI. Rotary Club officers for 2020-2021 are: Roger Bouchard, president; Ed Skwirz, immediate past presi- dent; Nicole Brien, president-elect; Suzanne Joyal, treasurer; Mark Harnois, secretary; Pamela Jalette, sargeant-at-arms. Board of Directors: Nicole Brien, Emily Laramee, Denise Bourget, Pamela Jalette, Kim Briggs, Barbara Day, Allen Rivers Rotary Club Foundation Board of Directors: Lisa Carcifero, Michael Dubois, Aram Jarret, David Lahousse, Paul Bourget BOUCHARD 4 WHEEL ALIGNMENT Starting at $ 89.95 RI State Inspection $55 WE'RE OPEN FOR ALL YOUR SERVICE NEEDS 36 BLACKSTONE STREET WOONSOCKET 401-766-3270 WWW.TERRYAUTOLTD.COM Gil & Meika WE BUY CARS NOW CARRYING… Falken Tires! FREE 2 Year Road Hazard Warranty. Pass/LT 2013 F150 CrEW CAb, XTr Loaded, 72K miles $ 21,495 THINK SPrING! Have your vehicle checked before Summer Travel AC SErvICE

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