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EDUCATION

Governor Raimondo expected to delay the reopening of Rhode Island schools for several weeks

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo with state Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green (background).
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo with state Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green (background).Kris Craig/The Providence Journal/The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE -- Governor Gina M. Raimondo will announce during Wednesday’s news conference that she “will likely” delay the start of the school year by a couple of weeks.

Raimondo’s spokesman Josh Block confirmed Tuesday that the governor will address changes in the school reopening plans during her weekly news conference on the state’s response to the coronavirus. The governor’s decision was first reported in an interview Tuesday with WJAR-TV.

“It’s just a lot of planning,” Raimondo told WJAR. “I promised everybody we’re not going to do it until we’re ready. So I’m spending a little more time today listening to teachers, listening to districts, and such, and I think it’s pretty likely we’re going to give them a little bit more time so we’re ready when we decide to go back.”

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Raimondo and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green have been holding weekly virtual forums on Facebook on Thursdays to address questions and issues around reopening schools. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will join them this Thursday.

The new school semester was supposed to start Aug. 31. The school districts in Rhode Island have submitted plans to tackle how the schools will reopen under four different scenarios, depending on the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the state Department of Health reported that Rhode Island had topped 20,000 positive tests for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic five months ago. There have been 20,053 positive tests, including 99 new cases. There was one new fatality, bringing the death toll to 1,016, and 88 people were hospitalized.



Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.