Elementary School Moves to Full Distance Learning

Elementary School Moves to Full Distance Learning
Posted on 12/09/2020

12/9/2020

Dear NES Community,

Over the past several days we have had an increase in the number of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 at Narragansett Elementary School. The positive cases have been in several grade levels and classrooms. We currently have 4 positive staff cases and 4 positive student cases. Additionally, 12 other staff members and 59 other students have been identified as close contacts and must quarantine for 14 days.

While the sources of infection are varied, there has likely been an instance of in-school transmission despite the numerous safety precautions and cleaning protocols in place. We have been working closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health to conduct contact tracing and to identify further positive cases. If your child was in a class with a positive student or was a close contact of a positive student, we have already specifically notified you.

Because of the numerous staff members and students under quarantine as well as the rise in positive cases, Narragansett Elementary cannot safely remain open for in-person learning at this time. Therefore, NES will move to full distance learning starting tomorrow, Thursday, December 10th and will continue in full distance learning mode until Tuesday, December 15th. We expect that all students and staff who are not under quarantine will return to school on Wednesday December 16th. If we have an increase in positive cases or the number of staff members who must quarantine, it will be necessary to revisit this timeline. This pause in in-school learning will allow completion of contact tracing, Covid-19 testing, and some quarantine periods and allow for additional deep cleaning so we can safely return to school next week.

If your child or someone in your immediate household exhibits symptoms and/or is advised to seek a COVID-19 test, please contact our school nurse, Lisa Ruscito, at 792-9420 or lruscito@nssk12.org. Likewise, please inform our school nurse if your child has a Covid-19 test and share the results of that test. Communication with Mrs. Ruscito will help us to support your child and family through the process of identifying possible cases of COVID-19.

All students will be sent home this afternoon with devices that will allow them to engage in distance learning over the next 4 school days. The school schedule will remain the same and teachers will be providing synchronous and asynchronous lessons through Zoom, Google Classroom, and Seesaw. Preschool will be sending learning directions home today. All students who receive additional services through special education programming will receive their services remotely. Additionally, families who typically are a part of our breakfast/lunch program will be able to pick up breakfast/lunch at Narragansett High School from 9-9:30 on Thursday, Friday, and Monday (which will include Tuesday’s lunch).

We have made every effort to maintain in-person learning for our elementary students, and our intention is that this brief turn to distance learning will enable us to reopen with the necessary staffing in place to ensure a safe and productive learning environment. I fully understand that this places an enormous burden on families, and we did not make this decision lightly. Please contact Lisa Wilson, NES Principal, at lwilson@nssk12.org or me at pcummings@nssk12.org if you have questions or need further information.