Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 36th edition of the Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, the source of the spike in cases in Smithfield, sports updates, potential changes for the spring, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
Seven (7) new COVID cases were reported in our school community this past week. Three cases were from OCRS, one each was from McCabe, GMS, SHS and Winsor; and no cases were reported for LaPerche. This brings our total number of cases to 295 since the start of the school year.
Source of Spike in Smithfield
As reported by the Associated Press, COVID-19 cases at Bryant University likely drove up cases per capita in Smithfield. For three weeks, Smithfield had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases per capita in the state. Our schools did not see a corresponding, suggesting that the positive cases were attributed to an isolated group.
Due to the changing guidance from the State of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Principals’ Committee on Athletics unanimously approved elimination of the no spectator policy for on-campus gymnasiums. Effective March 22, member schools are allowed to follow State of Rhode Island school and youth sports guidance for indoor/outdoor athletic facilities as listed on the Reopening RI website and any school policy that may be more restrictive. (Summary of Current R.I. Requirements: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/media/documents/ri-sports-summary.pdf)
Smithfield will be allowing two adults per athlete from each team as well as any siblings and will not be charging an admission for this year's games. We will also be live streaming football and lacrosse games at the Boyle Complex on the NFHS network, providing another option for other family or friends that can't come to the game.
Potential Changes for the Spring
A state task force is examining the bus guidance and CDC guidance on spacing in classrooms is expected to change any day now. We are preparing potential lunch schedule changes, classroom configurations, outdoor spaces for classrooms, and other plans that may enable us to bring our middle and high school hybrid students back to school 5-days-per-week. As changes are made, information will be shared with families through email and social media.
The number of cases in Smithfield decreased to 89 this past week. This latest figure corresponds to a daily rate of 12.7 new cases per 21,650 residents or 58.7 per 100,000 in a day or a 411 per 100,000 weekly rate. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent