PROVIDENCE — On Wednesday, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced all school districts are aiming to return to in-person classes Aug. 31, using a statewide 2020-2021 calendar for all public school districts.
Dr., Nicole Alexander-Scott the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and Angélica Infante-Green, the Commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) joined Raimondo during her daily COVID-19 press briefing.
RIDE is working with RIDOH to develop school-reopening scenarios balancing prioritization of health and safety of school communities with providing in-person instruction as soon as possible, according to the RIDOH.
RIDE will be providing guidance to districts, charter schools, and state-run schools next week to help them develop their own individual back-to-school plans. Those plans will be submitted to RIDE for review and implementation support.
Schools will be ready to conduct distance learning throughout the school year if students become sick, are quarantined, or are otherwise unable to attend school for an extended period of time. RIDE will continue to work with local districts, charters, and state-run schools to review statewide plans and coordinate with local education leaders.
The state plans to provide financial support to districts as they implement their individual reopening plans. Resources for communities with higher rates of COVID-19 will take priority, according to the RIDOH. Support will include additional funding from the CARES Act to offset increased costs LEAs will incur, such as increased transportation and cleaning costs. For more information, visit RIDE’s COVID-19 web page.
SNAP allows online shopping
The Governor also announced that, for the first time, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are now able to select and pay for their groceries online using their EBT card at Amazon and participating Walmart stores. For more details, visit dhs.ri.gov.
Emergency family payments
DHS also recently received approval to issue a Rhode Island Works emergency payment to families currently receiving these RI Works benefits. This payment is to help offset expenses that may have occurred during this pandemic. The $1.6M through the CARES Act will help 3,700 Rhode Island Works families and is a one-time payment for families who were eligible in either April or May and are receiving benefits in June. The funds will be put on parents’ EBT cards on June 19. For more details, visit dhs.ri.gov.