Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 07-29-2020

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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22 THE VALLEY JULY 29-AUGUST 4, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION name, with the first half of the alpha- bet attending school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (and the rest learn- ing virtually) and the second half on Thursdays and Fridays. Under that plan, Mondays would be virtual learning days for all stu- dents. Goho said dividing the district alphabetically would help ensure sib- lings attend school on the same days. If the governor decides to imple- ment the partial plan, only 25 percent of North Providence students would attend school in-person. Goho said in-person classes would be reserved for pre-kindergarten through grade 2, grade six at the middle school and grades 11 and 12 at the high school. In each scenario, Goho said the dis- trict has prioritized high-need popula- tions. Each plan includes additional social emotional supports. Any scenario with in-person teach- ing and learning would require extra precautions including increased sani- tation and social distancing measures. Breakfast and lunch would be grab- and-go style, with most meals eaten in the classroom. Wherever possible, students groups would be unchanging pods to limit the potential spread of the virus. Transportation will be significantly altered, with bus capacity dropping from 70 students to about 23, or one student per seat. Schedule changes are expected with any in-person learning to minimize congestion in the halls. Parents in the district are split on which option they prefer for their families. Goho said a recent survey of par- ents, which received more than 900 responses in two days, revealed that 43 percent of parents would prefer full distance learning, while 57 per- cent would choose to send their child to school. The survey is open until the end of the week. During last Wednesday's School Committee meeting, North Providence parent Lynn Fontaine made an impassioned plea to the committee to opt for a full in-person reopening. Fontaine said virtual learning is a short-term solution that does not work over time. "As the weeks went on, virtual learning became very difficult for my children and many others," she said. "Students became frustrated and began to disconnect. Their mental state began to suffer. It was not learn- ing." Fontaine said students would expe- rience learning gaps, especially along racial and socioeconomic lines, if online education or a hybrid model is put in place this fall. She asked that families be given a choice, deciding which option works best for them. "I respect every family's decision regarding COVID. It should be a parent's choice," she said, calling it a "win-win for everyone." Nearly every member of the School Committee vocalized their agreement for parents having a choice. Arthur Corsini said the district he teaches in has done just that. Roderick Da Silva, another long- time educator, said he would prefer to return to teaching in-person. "I'm hoping we can go back, but I under- stand there are factors beyond our control with COVID," he said. Goho said North Providence would wait for the governor and the Rhode Island Department of Health "to tell us which plan is in effect," a decision he expects around Aug. 17. School Committee Chairman Frank Pallotta said North Providence's return the school will be a "fluid discussion that will continue right through the middle of August when RIDE makes its determination for the districts. "There is no perfect solution to something that is very fluid and changes every day," he said. "We do not have control of this virus and its path forward. We could have a plan in place today that may change tomorrow." Pallotta said the district would con- tinue to acquire information and data to guide its plans. "We want to make sure we don't enable this virus. We want to mitigate this virus," he said. SCHOOLS From Page One "I think the carousel is a great work of art," said Houle, a Pawtucket resi- dent who works as the special projects manager for the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and is also a member of the National Carousel Association. "We have a real treasure here." The documentary will include video and images as well as a narrative detailing the history of the carousel at Slater Park and its various restorations over the years. In 2008, Houle said she received a grant to make a documentary about the history of Slater Park. Some of that history will be included in this new film. Houle has conducted plenty of historical research, including at the Pawtucket Public Library and at histo- rian Betty Johnson's research library, she said, digging up old articles, including from the day in 1910 when the carousel was brought to the park. "I love the research and document- ing it," she said. According to Houle, the carousel once traveled at 14 mph but after a young woman fell off a horse in 1913 and broke her leg, it was slowed down to 12 mph and now operates at 9 mph. She also said she has about 500 pho- tographs from over the years. She doc- umented the restoration of the carousel last year and has many photos from that. In May 2019, renovations by Red Oak Remodeling, of Coventry, began and included fixing the exterior roof, including shingles and the cupola, as well as the skeleton of the building including walls, windows, doors, and stairs. A grand reopening was held last September. The carousel is still operational but currently closed. Workers are currently installing electrical upgrades including lighting and a fire suppression system. Prior to 2019, the carousel under- went other restorations. It closed in 1969 due to disrepair and was restored and reopened in 1979, according to Houle. Another project was initiated in 1989. The Looff Carousel and Slater Park were added to the National Historic Register in 1976. In 2018, the National Carousel Association unanimously awarded the Slater Park Looff Carousel the NCA Historic Award. Houle said she thinks having the carousel win a national award helped the city realize the meaning and importance of it to the community. "I've been doing this for about 20 years," she said. "It's been a hobby of mine." For the film, her friend, Lesley McLaughlin, of Cumberland, will be narrating it and will help her with the editing, she said. David Lawlor, a freelance photographer for the Tourism Council, will be assisting with video. Houle said she hopes he can take some cool slow motion videos and really capture the details of the structures as well as take some images with a drone. She said she thinks people from Pawtucket will appreciate the film, adding that it would be great if she could premiere it at the Arts Festival in September. She also plans to put it online and show it to different local groups. Houle is asking the community to share any favorite stories, child- hood memories, or photographs with her for the project. Email her at . CAROUSEL From Page 4 BREEZE PHOTO BY ROBERT EMERSON NOAH, of North Providence, gets to the top of structures used for climbing at the Governor John A. Notte Jr. Park on July 19. Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to:, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865.

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