RI gov says she’s considering delaying start of school

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she’s considering delaying the start of school in the state by a few weeks to give administrators and families more time to prepare amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Raimondo told WJAR-TV that it is “pretty likely” she will push back the start of the school year. She’s expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday.

“We’re not opening until we’re ready,” she told the station. “I want schools to open. We need to get these kids back in school. It will be safe to get them back in school if we do it right. We need a little more time. The planning to get this right with the testing, the transportation, the mask wearing, extra space in the classroom.”

Raimondo announced plans in June for schoolchildren and teachers to back in the classroom for face-to-face instruction starting Aug. 31, saying there is “no substitute for in-person learning.”

On Friday, National Education Association Rhode Island President Larry Purtill and Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals President Frank Flynn sent a letter to Raimondo calling for the school year to begin with remote learning and no earlier than Sept. 9.

“The race to re-open schools comes with no prize for first place, but the consequences of failure could be dire. A perfect solution does not exist. A safe one does. We urge you to support this course,” they wrote.

State health officials on Tuesday reported one new death from the coronavirus, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,016. There have been more than 20,000 confirmed cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

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