COVID-19 Update

Posted on 03/16/2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your support and understanding after the sudden news by the Governor and Department of Health that Rhode Island schools will not be in session this week and perhaps for an extended time. While we have been preparing for this decision, it did occur suddenly and I deeply appreciate your responsiveness and the work of our teachers and administrative team in quickly organizing the support needed to help students. As the Governor and Commissioner of Education indicated, this coming week will take the place of the planned April vacation that was originally scheduled for April 20-24.

We have been planning for the eventuality of virtual/distance learning, and our curriculum and administrative team remains hard at work as we prepare to launch this effort should it be needed, and I suspect that it will. The Governor and Commissioner of Education have indicated that all schools should be prepared to engage in remote learning beginning on Monday, March 23rd, and the Narragansett School System is ready to do so. We will be submitting our final plan for approval to the Department of Education early this week. Teachers, administrators, and other staff are using the vacation time to complete the preparation needed to successfully transition to a fully virtual environment. We are also using this time to deeply clean our schools, offices, and vehicles. We appreciate your support and patience as we develop and implement a system that ensures continuity of instruction while meeting the needs of students at all of our schools.

We will be sending information in the coming days to prepare our students should we need to begin distance learning next week. The design and focus of assignments will vary by age level, and we understand the importance of age appropriateness and the time, effort, and support required to complete an assignment as intended.  We are fortunate to have 1-1 technology and a robust Learning Management System (PSL) in grades 5-12, with grades 3 and 4 also having access to Chromebooks. Grades PK-2 will have a different model and we are designing experiences for our youngest learners who may or may not have access to computers. We will send more direction later this week, including schedules, additional resources, and additional direction.

Recognizing that access to resources varies widely by family, we are creating supports to ensure all students can access assignments and learning experiences. We distributed a survey yesterday afternoon, and if you have not yet completed it, please do so. The link to the survey can be found here.

The strength of our community rests on ensuring that we are able to take care of one another. I can’t emphasize enough the positive impact of social distancing and urge you and your families to put these practices in placeAs the Governor and other officials have repeatedly stated, students and families should not treat this time as a typical “school vacation.” Avoid gathering in numbers, sleepovers, and other opportunities to possibly transmit the virus. Wash your hands often.  While the unfolding events are worrisome, following the advice of the health care community, paying attention to the needs of your family and yourself, and taking time to keep healthy and safe, both physically and mentally is vitally important. We do not know yet how long this crisis will last or how deeply it will continue to impact our lives. The success of this intervention to stop the spread of the virus relies on each of us to do our part.

Many people have asked how to assist families who may experience food insecurity during this crisis. The Johnnycake Center has provided the below information:

We will be launching our school vacation meals program for Jonnycake members beginning Tuesday, March 17th at 12 pm.  Members can pick up items during regular pantry hours.  We ask that everyone follows our health and safety protocols when visiting the pantry.  If you are sick, please make arrangements for someone to pick up your food. If you would like to make a donation of food, you can do so on Sunday, March 15th between 10 am and 12 pm, Tuesday morning, March 17th, beginning at 9:00 am, and during our regular pantry hours.  Items needed include peanut butter and jelly, healthy snacks, soup and crackers, and canned tuna and chicken. 

The Johnnycake Center will provide meals during this vacation week. The main office is 1231 Kingstown Road, Peace Dale, R.I. The website is


I recognize that there are many unanswered questions regarding the school schedule and programs, and we will keep you informed as we learn new information. Unfortunately, we are responding to a quickly developing crisis and we ask for your patience and understanding as we make every effort to support our students and families.

More to come, and please reach out with any concerns or questions.


Peter J. Cummings, Ed.D