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What kids are asking Raimondo about the coronavirus — and the Q that will make you cry

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will take questions about the coronavirus from kids during her daily briefing today. Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Health Department, is in the background.Steven Senne/Associated Press

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I never thought I could possibly be interested in watching others play video games on TV until the NBA announced its 2K tournament for players. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

As we do every day, let’s start with the key facts about the coronavirus in Rhode Island. There were 566 cases among residents as of Wednesday, and 10 people had died. There were 60 people in the hospital, with 14 in intensive care.


Governor Gina Raimondo is changing things up at her daily coronavirus press conference today. Rather than taking questions from reporters, she’s going to answer some of the nearly 14,000 questions that students from across the state have sent in.

I woke up early this morning to read every question (okay, most questions), and here’s a sneak peek.

When can we go back to school?

At least half of the questions are related to when students can return, graduation ceremonies, and spring sports. The best chance of Raimondo making news on this front will be if she answers the question asked by Olivia in Glocester: “How would you describe our chances, percentage wise, of all Rhode Island students returning to school this year?"

Why can’t we go outside and play?

This might be the next most common question that students have asked. Expect Raimondo to use it as an opportunity to explain to young people that while they may not get ill, having close contact with others could get their parents and grandparents sick. On the adorable scale, Lilyahna in Providence wins for this straightforward question: “How long before I can play with my friends at the park? I miss them.”


Will we have to stay back in school?

Another very common question, especially for students who might be transitioning to a new school (going into middle or high school, for example). It would be surprising if Raimondo doesn’t look into the camera and make it clear that students won’t be held back as a result of the coronavirus.

What will happen this summer?

The funny thing about kids is how their questions are almost exactly the same as the ones adults would likely submit. For example, Matthew, a pre-K student, has the exact same question I’ve been asking: “When will it be ok to go to Disney World?”

The question/comment that will make you cry.

Ava, a second grader in Westerly, writes: “Governor Raimondo, my mother is a nurse at Yale New Haven Health at Westerly Hospital. I am worried that she and all of her nurse friends do not have enough safety equipment to help save lives. My mom is a superhero and I really hope you can make sure you get them and all the hospitals in RI plenty of supplies to help everyone.”


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.



Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what's happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • Governor Raimondo’s daily update is at 1 p.m. Channels 6, 10, and 12 will cover it live.
  • Raimondo is also taking questions on Twitter at 9 a.m. You can follow by using #AskGovRaimondo.
  • If you own a small business – especially a restaurant – you might want to log on to this Venture Café virtual event tonight.
  • The Providence City Council will meet tonight to consider a resolution to push the Ward 1 special election from April 7 to May 5.
  • Enjoying Rhode Map? Do us a favor and encourage your friends to sign up here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you this afternoon.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.