Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 2nd edition of the Back to School report (2021-2022) includes our weekly report on COVID cases, information regarding RIDOH guidance for stable groups, Smithfield’s plan, and town data. All Back to School reports will be posted on the COVID page of the district website (scroll down and click on green COVID tab).
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
While we are not sure that we would receive notifications of positive COVID cases among our students and staff during the summer, we are aware of one additional case for a staff member. Official counts and totals will begin once school begins.
Stable Groups (an excerpt from the guidance documents)
Schools are encouraged to continue to use a stable group model (or cohorting) as feasible, especially in grade levels not yet eligible for vaccination. This means students from the same classroom should remain together as much as possible. School staff are allowed to travel between different classrooms. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to consider layering multiple prevention strategies, such as indoor masking, screening testing, stable grouping, improved ventilation, handwashing, and regular cleaning. Students should be reminded to cover coughs and sneezes, and to stay home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness, including COVID-19, to help reduce transmission risk.
Smithfield’s Return to School Plan is available on the COVID page of the district website. See this link: https://www.smithfield-ps.org/page/reopening-updates . For additional information about strategies for schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, see this page: https://www.ride.ri.gov/InsideRIDE/AdditionalInformation/Covid19.aspx.
A Word About Flexibility
As the school year progresses, changing conditions will require that we either tighten up or loosen up restrictions related to COVID-19. We will try to communicate with you as new guidance is released and as conditions change. If our children see us as flexible and resilient, they, too, will be flexible and resilient. Our efforts, ultimately, are in support of the well-being of our entire school community and in keeping our doors open.
In the past four weeks, new COVID cases in Smithfield rose from 12 to 18 to 31 to 34. This corresponds to a daily rate of 4.9 new cases per 22,000 residents, or about 22.1 per 100,000. This is considered substantial transmission. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent