Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 39th edition of the Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, hybrid students returning to in-person learning, updated guidance on assemblies, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
Five (5) new COVID cases were reported in our school community this past week. Two cases were from SHS. McCabe, OCRS, and LaPerche each had one new case and no cases were reported at GMS and Winsor. This brings our total number of cases to 315 since the start of the school year.
Hybrid Students to Return to Full, In-Person Learning
As vaccines are becoming more widespread, SHS and GMS will be welcoming back all students to full, in-person learning, 5 days per week, beginning on April 26th. There will no longer be a hybrid schedule though students who are virtual option may remain in the virtual option. Important information specific to SHS or GMS was distributed by the principals.
It is important to note that for all students in Smithfield, students attending in person are expected to be in person daily. Students and families may not choose to go virtual for a day or for a week for travel or any other reason.
April Vacation Precautions
All members of our school community are urged to remain vigilant over the vacation week. Whether you are traveling or visiting with friends and family, some precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The variant is now affecting more and more younger (those in their 30’s and 40’s) people and keeping our parents safe is as important as keeping our students safe! Setting expectations for your family helps keep them, you, and the entire community healthy.
Testing After April Break
In an effort to do what we can to help you and your family stay safe, we are partnering with the RIDOH to provide PCR tests on April 26th - the day we return from vacation. The PCR tests to be performed are medial, just like BiNax test, so students should not feel anything different. We are distributing a special consent form for this testing event (see link). The schools will resume their regular testing schedule following this testing event. We hope to have at least half of our students tested. Please help us achieve this goal by submitting a consent form before April 26th.
Beginning April 19th, all adults, age 16 and older, will be eligible for a vaccine. If our high school upperclassmen can be vaccinated, they will be better able to enjoy the end-of-year festivities safely and, as an added bonus, will be keeping others safe by eliminating a source of spread. Let’s encourage vaccination, which has proven to be both safe and effective.
Updated Guidance on Assembly Expected to Affect End-of-Year Activities
New guidance on assemblies will affect RIDE guidance for school gatherings. The new capacity limit for catered gatherings is 100 people for indoor catered events and 200 people for outdoor catered events. All catered events must have a licensed caterer on-site, pre-event testing for guests, and a designated COVID Event Specialist in attendance. Indoor and outdoor venues of assembly, such as convention centers, concert halls, performance venues, and theaters, may operate at up to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. The link containing this information is: Welcome | RI COVID-19 Information Portal. Specific information about events for our school communities will be forthcoming from principals.
While the statewide figure remained about the same for the past two weeks, the number of cases in Smithfield increased yet again and was reported to be 132 this past week, about 33% higher than last week. Some, though not all of this can be attributed to Bryant University. This latest figure corresponds to a daily rate of 18.9 new cases per 21,650 residents or 87.1 per 100,000 in a day or a 610 per 100,000 weekly rate. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent