PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Public Schools today announced that as part of a strategy to welcome students back safely for in-person learning after the February break, it is providing families and staff with tools and opportunities to improve vaccination rates and testing over the vacation week, and will have a staggered return schedule the week of February 28.
“We’re going to continue to move our schools in the right direction if we get more Rhode Islanders vaccinated and tested as we head into the school break and beyond,” said Governor Dan McKee. “We urge Providence families to take advantage of these resources and events being offered by PPSD.”
“Everyone is looking forward to a few days off during February vacation, but COVID-19 won’t be taking a break and that’s why we are giving our students, families, and staff many opportunities to get vaccinated, get tested, and to return to school safely the week of February 28,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green.
“We know our students learn best in school, and by giving our community access to vaccination and testing opportunities, including home test kits, we will be able to monitor transmission over the break and keep people safe and healthy as we return to the classroom,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez.
Throughout February vacation week PPSD will be hosting multiple vaccination clinics, many featuring food, giveaways, and community activities. This is an important effort with the current district-wide student vaccination rate standing at about 34%. PPSD has hosted numerous school-based vaccination clinics throughout the school year and will continue to work to expand access for families while promoting that vaccinations are safe, effective, and the best tool available to stop the transmission of the virus.
The District will also provide all students and staff members with a kit of two free at-home COVID-19 tests. As PPSD did for the Winter break, it is implementing a staggered return to school the week of February 28 so that it can conduct rapid testing as students and staff return to school.
Providence Schools will provide all students with free at-home COVID-19 tests. At-home tests will be distributed to students and parents on February 17 and February 18.
Families should follow instructions included in each box to conduct at-home testing the day before their student(s) return to school from vacation. Students who test positive must isolate for five days and parents and guardians should report that information to their child’s school.
Providence Schools have scheduled a series of vaccination clinics during February vacation week:
Tuesday, February 22, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Family clinics (ages 5 and up), with Sodexo student meal giveaways, at Roger Williams Middle School (278 Thurbers Ave) and Nathanael Greene Middle School (721 Chalkstone Ave). Vaccinations and booster shots will be available for all ages.
Sunday, February 27, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Elementary (ages 5-11) clinics, with children’s entertainment and other surprises, at Sackett Recreation Center (159 Sackett St) and Batistini Recreation Center at Pleasant View Elementary School (50 Obadiah Brown Rd).
Families can visit providenceschools.org/vaxboost for a full schedule and to register for vaccination clinics.
Following February vacation, Providence Public Schools will return to in-person classroom learning via the staggered schedule below. Students with parental consent forms will be tested at school as they return. Families who have not submitted a consent form to their school are encouraged to do so. A digital copy can be found on PPSD’s website.
Students should utilize at-home tests the night before their return to the classroom, but as part of a layered mitigation strategy, they will be tested again upon their return. Students who test positive must isolate for five days and parents should report that information to their school.
· Monday, February 28: Staggered return for grades Pre-K, K, 1, 6, 9 and 12
· Tuesday, March 1: Staggered return for grades 2, 3, 7 and 10
· Wednesday, March 2: Staggered return for grades 4, 5, 8 and 11
MASKING IN SCHOOLS
Student and staff safety is the top priority. While the Governor’s executive order requiring masks in schools is set to sunset on March 4, PPSD and RIDE plan to require all staff members and students to wear masks beyond that point.
As always, the District will continue to assess its policies based on guidance and public health conditions and adapt as necessary. In the meantime, PPSD will continue to expand access to vaccinations and boosters for all who are eligible. The District is actively coordinating additional vaccine clinics into the spring and will be issuing further communication.