STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, wants the Department of Education to establish remote learning protocols as Rhode Island develops its COVID-19 strategy.
McNamara wrote a letter to Commissioner of Education Angélica M. Infante-Green to that effect, “With the possibility that the coronavirus (COVID-19) could disrupt school based learning, emergency remote learning approval may allow for the continuation of education for our students. I believe it would also be helpful if the Rhode Island Department of Education could advise local school districts of best practices in remote learning and possible model programs.”
The Health, Education and Welfare Committee met Thursday to hear a presentation on the Department of Health’s efforts to combat and contain the virus. Dr. Philip A. Chan, an infectious disease specialist and consultant medical director for the Department of Health, gave a comprehensive overview of COVID-19, and spoke to the committee about the importance of containing the virus to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed as in China.
“We have not seen confirmed cases in people without risk factors,” said Chan. “In the cases we’ve seen, they’ve either traveled to Italy or had contact with another case. The second we start seeing people without known risks, that elevates it up a notch and we have to have another discussion about everything.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first confirmed case of the virus in Rhode Island on Tuesday.
Coronavirus is known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. CORVID-19 is particularly troubling because it is very transmissible and has a 1 to 2 percent mortality rate. Click here to see a video of the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee meeting.