Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 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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4 PAWTUCKET JULY 29-AUGUST 4, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION "I just did not expect that," she said. Another survey, set to close this Friday, will ask families for more specific information as schools move plans behind concepts into a reality that's now a little more than a month away. As with most districts in the state, Pawtucket is now favoring a hybrid in-person and virtual plan, but Gov. Gina Raimondo will make an announcement on Aug. 17 on what all districts will be doing, so there's a chance those plans could be scrapped. Each district was required to come up with plans for in-person education, continued virtual learn- ing, or a hybrid model. Pawtucket's hybrid plan, which McWilliams acknowledged could be scrapped if Raimondo chooses a different direction, calls for most students to be in school two days each week. The way it would likely work, as hashed out by a school reopening task force, is as follows: • Monday would be a distance learning day for all students, with deep cleanings of all buildings scheduled for that day. • Tuesdays would bring distance learning for half of students. A deep dive on data showed balanced class- rooms if students with last names starting with A through K are in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. • Students with last names start- ing with L through Z would be in school on Wednesdays and Fridays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays func- tioning as distance learning days. • School and district administra- tors will also work to identify spe- cial populations of students who will be in class Tuesday to Friday, a "special class" of students, including those at greater risk of learning loss. Students in self-contained classes and multilingual learners considered most at risk would be included here. • Based on the surprising feedback from the community, local schools are also planning a simultaneous virtual academy for students and staff who can't or won't return to physical buildings, said McWilliams. She said school officials have heard from staff members and a significant number will be unable to return. The survey that went out last week and is due back this week will gauge interest in the virtual academy. McWilliams said hosting such an academy is a wise option. She said there are parents in the commu- nity who need to get back to work. Depending on how many sign up for the virtual academy, it could free up space on buses and in the classrooms. With 1,500 students in grades K-5 choosing virtual, it could potentially free up space for a full in-person return of all other stu- dents in grades K-5. McWilliams said school officials want the economy to function, and they also want to help parents, but the ultimate and most impor- tant goal is safety, and every life involved with local schools matters. Barriers to a full return to in-per- son learning include spacing, social distancing, transportation, and staffing, given guidelines, as well as what would be a significant budget impact, said McWilliams. The Pawtucket district tried to align its plans, now being reviewed by state education officials and set to be approved later this week, to be similar to others, said McWilliams. The idea is not to pit districts against each other and to present a consistent message. Plans were based on core values of safety first, science, and transpar- ency, among others. Plans are to be equitable, based on what's best for everyone, especially those impacted by inequities and the COVID-19 pandemic. Equitable does not mean equal, said McWilliams, and decisions will be based on what's best for every- one. She said school officials are listening to various stakeholders and intend to be flexible and nimble, making decisions based on the best interest of students and the com- munity. School Committee member Kim Grant asked if there will be enough time between classes to get rooms properly disinfected. McWilliams said she'll be meeting with custo- dial staff later this week to work out hours, but there is confidence among everyone that proper sched- uling can be worked out. She called it a "significant task" but one that is doable. According to school staff, the biggest issue for cleaning will be during the day. Circumstances related to the pan- demic are changing every day, said McWilliams, with all sorts of sce- narios and bits of information being shared with families across the state through various channels. She said she's looking forward to the feed- back the schools will receive this week that will allow officials to get more detailed with their plans. SCHOOL From Page One program is basically about "com- missioning people to be able to cite properties in their neigh- borhood that aren't up to par." Arboleda said it's been a very long time since Pawtucket ran such a program. Anyone can be part of this effort, he said, but the hope is to have a process so participants know exactly what they're doing and can know what to look for as they decide whether to send information to zoning offi- cials. Every complaint notice, backed by photos, would also be reviewed in an official capacity, he said. City Council members, at Council President David Moran's request last week, approved a request to the Police Department seeking a more streamlined process for councilors to deliver requests for officers' help in neighborhoods instead of always going to Chief Tina Goncalves. Moran said he'd like to bring back a council liaison or police personnel specifically assigned to certain districts to respond to requests directly. On the code enforcement side, the Department of Zoning and Code Enforcement continues to cite properties not up to code with city requirements, though court cases have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reinstituting the program will allow residents to be certified to anonymously cite any property not adhering to city codes and ordi- nances, helping to improve the envi- ronment and combat the statewide increase of rodents. "Let's all be part of the solution and not allow absentee landlords and troubled properties to negatively impact our neighborhoods. I thank the City Council, Zoning and Code Enforcement Director Bill Vieira, and, most importantly, our residents as this initiative will lead to a cleaner and more produc- tive Pawtucket for all," said Grebien. The city has run a program to identify abandoned and problematic properties to be placed into receivership. The program, start- ed in 2017, identifies properties with numerous outstanding violations left unaddressed and that are vacant to get them cleaned up. Zoning officials this summer have reached out to a number of neighbor- hood associations with an emphasis beginning in Woodlawn. The program is set to start effective immediately and willing residents are encouraged to sign up now. Any resident looking to get involved can email wvieira@ or call 401-728-0500, ext. 449. TASK FORCE From Page One 'Let's all be part of the solution.' MAYOR GREBIEN Pawtucket GREBIEN IN BRIEF Gubala graduates from CAP Staff college PAWTUCKET – Lt. Col. Robert M. Gubala, vice com- mander of Rhode Island Wing, Civil Air Patrol, gradu- ated from CAP's prestigious National Staff College on July 18. National Staff College is taught by senior CAP leaders and USAF instructors from Air University, and the curriculum challenges students in the areas of executive leadership, management, organiza- tional behavior, and policy formu- lation. Graduation from National Staff College is a key requirement for the Gill Robb Wilson Award, CAP's highest professional devel- opment achievement for adult vol- unteers. Gubala, of Pawtucket, was one of 112 senior CAP officers from around the country who made up the National Staff College 2020 graduating class. Civil Air Patrol is the longtime auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a valued member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP oper- ates a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft and 1,550 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. It performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is cred- ited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. Visit www.CAP.News or www. for more information. GUBALA ABOUT US The Valley Breeze is a locally owned newspaper Office location: 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865 Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Closed weekends and holidays. Call us: 401-334-9555 Fax: 401-334-9994 Online: READER SERVICES DO YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA? Contact Managing Editor Ethan Shorey at or call 401-334-9555, ext. 130. 24-hour, 7-day voice mail. ADVERTISING – Call your sales representative, or Director of Sales Jack Birolini at 401-334- 9555, ext. 141 or email: CLASSIFIEDS – Place ads at, or call 401-334-9555 during office hours. NEWS BRIEFS AND CALENDAR EVENTS Let others know about events sponsored by your non-profit organization, church or school. • Deadline: Entertainment news is Friday at noon. All other news is Monday 3 p.m. • Submit: We prefer receiving news via e-mail. Send yours to You may also fax or mail your item. Receipt does not guarantee publication. Event marketing by for- profit businesses requires paid advertising. DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE? Share the good news of your births, engagements, weddings and anniversaries. This is a free service. Pictures will be returned upon request. • Get forms: Visit, click on "Celebrations" at left, and select a form; or call 401-334-9555; or stop by the office during business hours. OBITUARIES – Obituaries cost $90–$125. They are posted online immediately, and placed in the first available paper. Check with your funeral director for details. ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED STORY? All current stories remain free online for one week after print publication. Older stories are now archived online back to July 2001. We're sorry, but we have few back issues of papers in our offices and cannot provide free library services. • Online: Visit, and click on "Search The Breeze Archive." Use keywords to find old stories. Single stories cost $2.95 through our Newsbank partners. Multi-story packages, which provide lower costs per story, are also available. SUBSCRIPTIONS – The Valley Breeze may be delivered anywhere in the United States, in an envelope, by First Class mail only. The cost is $189 per year, or $4 per week. Phone 401-334-9555 for details. COPYRIGHTS – or its content may not be linked to any other Web site without the written permission of the publisher. News aggregators that solicit advertising may not link HARMONY HILL SCHOOL – FORMER STUDENTS NOTICE OF FILE REDUCTION Persons who were students at Harmony Hill School and discharged between 1/1/2011 and 12/31/2012 are herewith notified that effective August 28, 2020, files detailing your placement at Harmony Hill will be reduced. If you wish to review or obtain documentation before your file is reduced, please make contact before August, 21, 2020. Write to Department of Student Records, Harmony Hill School, 63 Harmony Hill Road, Chepachet, RI 02814.

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