Fully vaccinated: 826,592 (of about 1.1 million residents)
New cases: 3,049 (on Thursday)
Test-positive rate: 12.2 percent
Currently hospitalized: 325
Total deaths: 3,066
More stats from the R.I. Department of Health
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Absenteeism soared in schools across Rhode Island Monday as students and teachers returned from holiday break amid a large spike in COVID-19 cases. Some schools shifted to remote learning, while Providence moved to a staggered reopening over the course of three days.
Here’s how four school district leaders from Cranston, Chariho, Barrington, and Central Falls are handling their reopening plans.
Jeannine Nota-Masse, Cranston
We had a significant amount of absenteeism for both students and staff, but we were able to maintain all our buildings on our regular schedule. We are fortunate that our administrators, teachers, and support staff are flexible and willing to all pitch in to help out to keep our schools open for students. Each day has its challenges, but we are trying hard to keep it all afloat.
Gina Picard, Chariho
We were able to open, but it was not without its challenges. We are monitoring staff absences closely. We have seen an increase in positive cases for both students and staff today. However, we have no immediate plans to move any classrooms or schools to distance learning. Of course, we will monitor this closely and make the move to distance learning if needed.
Michael B. Messore III, Barrington
Like everywhere, the number of staff and students testing positive is increasing. This is a result of a long vacation. All our schools are open and we are glad to be returning back to our routines. Historically, when we are in-session, our numbers usually decrease due to students following our procedures and protocols. Our buildings are fully covered by staff; however, we are stretched to the maximum regarding sub coverage. We are continuing to monitor the numbers of positive cases and will make any necessary adjustments as a result.
Meg O’Leary, The Learning Community Charter School (Central Falls)
Located on the main road in the middle of Rhode Island’s hotspot city, Central Falls, we have been very strategic in our approach to COVID safety at The Learning Community. So, our return after break meant a drive-thru rapid-test system with a large COVID testing team, with eight propane heaters and six tables along our driveway. Out of 578 students, we tested 438, and saw approximately 90 positive test results. We test every student, every week, and typically see only 0-4 positive results in a week. So this is a sharp rise for us.
The rest of the students are being asked to test tomorrow before returning – a much more manageable number that we can handle inside, safely. The upside is, we open tomorrow in a much more safe scenario than if those 90 students walked through the front door sans testing. This entire effort and the likelihood of keeping school open would be much bolstered if the governor would make testing mandatory for a safe return to school given the contagious nature of this new variant – because it only takes a few to undermine every strategy we pull out to keep us safe and learning.
The Globe in Rhode Island
⚓ My latest column: There’s a Republican out there who can win the governor’s race this year. But someone needs to call Allan Fung and urge him to rethink his plans to run for treasurer. Read more.
⚓ Rhode Island’s state-run hospital system and a private nursing home have used workers who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, an extraordinary step two years into the pandemic as infections spike and staffing remains critically low. Read more.
⚓ With the General Assembly set to return, faith leaders plan to raise their voices – and blow the shofar (a ram’s horn trumpet) – calling on legislators to use their power and an influx of federal funding to address poverty, inequality, and Rhode Islanders in need. Read more.
Also in the Globe
⚓ With COVID-19 cases on the rise, here’s what to do if you live with someone who tests positive. Read more.
⚓ Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the failed blood testing startup Theranos, was found guilty of four of 11 charges of fraud Monday, in a case that came to symbolize the pitfalls of Silicon Valley’s culture of hustle, hype, and greed. Read more.
⚓ Who would make the best first-round playoff opponent for the Patriots? Read more.
What’s on tap today
E-mail events to us at [email protected]
⚓ The House and Senate will kick off the 2022 legislative session with votes on Governor Dan McKee’s plan to spend some of the federal American Rescue Plan funds. Lawmakers also plan to override two of McKee’s vetoes from the last session.
⚓ The Pawtucket School Committee is scheduled to elect a chairperson at its 6:30 p.m. meeting.
⚓ The Friars take on Marquette at 9 p.m. The game will be on Fox Sports 1.
My previous column
From a governor’s race to the collapse of Rhode Island’s health care system, here’s a look at the five biggest stories to watch in 2022. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.
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