WARWICK, RI — Superintendent Philip Thornton knows when the state wants Warwick Schools to return to in-person fall classes — he just doesn’t know how.
Wednesday, the morning after Thornton told the Warwick School Committee in-person fall classes would start with elementary students, but a secondary plan was uncertain, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced classes will start Aug. 31.
“The Governor’s announcement was a surprise given the weeks of previous conversations with RIDE. At this point, we will wait until June 19 to review the new guidelines and make our plans accordingly,” Thornton said Thursday.
The review date’s in line with his intended plan outlined during Tuesday night’s meeting, where he said he hoped to develop a plan that would address the challenge of managing secondary education classes under pandemic precautions.
“I can’t speak as to why the superintendents’ got such a short notice on this but I’m not surprised,” said Warwick School Committee member David Testa, “In short, the devil is in the details.”
Testa said the state has not divulged those details.
Raimondo’s office did not immediately respond to a question about why Thornton and state officials did not appear to agree on the approach to in-person classes.
“We’ll have more detailed guidance available on reopeningRI.com by the end of next week,” said Audrey Lucas, Deputy Communications Director for Raimondo’s office.
“As of now, we don’t know what the state’s plan actually is. Yesterday the Governor said that the superintendents will have to “lead” through this. Well, the Governor and RIDE are the ones who really have to lead here in terms of laying down clear, unequivocal guidelines. I fear that they’ll issue very broad parameters and tell the districts to ‘figure it out” and we’ll have 36 districts interpreting it 36 different ways,” Testa said.