Superintendent's Update 10.30.2020

Superintendent's Update 10.30.2020
Posted on 10/30/2020

October 30th, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your families are well and are adjusting to this very unusual school year. I am so very proud of the extraordinary efforts of our students, teachers, and staff to make adjustments to typical routines and practices in order to maintain the necessary health and safety precautions that have helped us to return to in-person learning. As I am sure you know, the spread of COVID-19 has exponentially increased nationally and locally. With the holidays approaching, public health officials are gravely concerned with increased infection caused by local and interstate travel and family gatherings. Unfortunately, this means that for many of us, including my own family, Thanksgiving and the December holidays will be very different this year. We will not be traveling out of state as we typically do, nor will we be seeing extended family in an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible. I know that for many of you, you have already planned to do the same. 

Because we are doing everything we can to keep one another safe on a daily basis, we will be insisting on a 14-day self-quarantine as recommended by RIDOH for all students and staff members who travel out of state to a heavily infected area of the country. The states with a positivity rate of over 5% can be found on the RIDOH site linked here. Although the site states that one may “test out” of a travel-related quarantine, it also states that “Quarantining for 14 days is always preferred over relying on a negative test result as quarantining is the best way to limit the possibility of spreading COVID-19.” In the interests of our students, staff, and community, we will require a 14-day self-quarantine and a negative PCR test before a person who has traveled to one of the listed states can return to school.

While I know that these are difficult decisions for each person and family, we have a collective responsibility to keep one another as safe and healthy as possible. Ensuring that we are not inadvertently exposing our school communities to virus spread through travel as well as enforcing social distancing, mask wearing, and other precautions are all necessary, though difficult, precautions. We are all doing so in our daily routines, and, as the Governor is urging, I encourage you to also do so in your holiday planning so we can prevent further restrictions going forward.

Below are some important reminders and information as we near the end of the 1st quarter and transition into colder weather:

Daly Screening

Our school based prevention efforts are continuing to work well, and I am appreciative of your assistance in screening your children for illness before they attend school. If you have not yet done so, please download the screening app linked here and follow the instructions for installation and daily use.

Narragansett High School Schedule

As we approach the end of the 1st quarter, we have considered several different approaches to scheduling in-person learning for the remainder of the semester. Due to the rapidly increasing positive cases in the state as well as our limited lunchroom capacity to accommodate social distancing requirements, we will continue in hybrid format at NHS with alternating red/white days at least until the end of the first semester in late January.

As I stated in a previous letter, if your child is struggling with distance learning days or has other needs that the above structure may not meet, please reach out to Mr. Warner at NHS and he will work with you to develop a plan to support your child. For some students, attending daily is an option that best meets his or her learning needs.

Air Flow and Colder Weather

We have tested the air flow in every room of each school, and continue to make adjustments to our systems to maximize outside air and meet the recommendations of the RIDOH. We are installing air purifiers with HEPA filters where necessary and making other modifications to our HVAC infrastructure to meet the requirements outlined by RIDOH.

Because we are maximizing outside air, it will be cooler in our schools than would typically be the case in the cold weather months. Please have your children dress accordingly. While we will do everything we can to ensure the temperatures in our schools are in a reasonable range for learning, it will be a bit cooler than in the past!

Inclement Weather

We are approaching the time of year where there may be weather that creates dangerous driving conditions. In these cases, we will have a full-virtual distance learning day for all students. More details will come from each school, but planning at each level will consider age, screen time, access to resources, and family needs.

November/December School Schedule

A reminder that there are several days off in November, as well as a Professional Development day:

Tuesday, November 3rd: Election Day, no school

Wednesday, November 11th: Veterans Day, no school

Monday, November 16th: State-wide Professional Development Day, full virtual day for all students.

Wednesday, November 25th through Friday November 27th: Thanksgiving Recess

Symptoms and COVID-19 Testing

As the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate in Rhode Island, it is inevitable that members of our community (students, staff, parents, etc.) will be exposed. All members of the school community may schedule a test by calling 844-857-1814. PLEASE NOTIFY YOUR SCHOOL NURSE IF MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR CHILD ARE SYMPTOMATIC OR HAVE BEEN TESTED FOR COVID-19.

School nurse numbers are:

NHS: Mrs. Field, 792-9400 ext. 4020

NPS: Mrs. Fair, 792-9430 ext. 3106

NES: Mrs. Ruscito, 792-9420 ext. 2014

As a reminder, please be overly cautious about signs and symptoms and do not send a child to school if that child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Fatigue
  • Recent loss of taste or smell


Finally, I do urge all members of our community to follow best practices in combatting the spread of the virus. Wearing masks, limiting gatherings, and washing hands are all critical aspects of keeping our schools open. As the Governor has stated, if we all follow the “3 W’s” and avoid the “3 I’s” we will be able to stem the spread of Covid-19.


We will continue to notify you should there be a positive case in our schools, and appreciate all of your communication to our nurses and administrators regarding student health and wellness.

Please reach out to me should you have any questions.


Peter J. Cummings, Ed. D