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Providence will have full in-person learning for elementary schools on Sept. 14

Other reopening plans depend on the grade

Providence, RI - 04/25/19 - The Providence School Department headquarters in Providence, RI. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (for files) Topic: ()Lane Turner/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE – The state won’t allow all 24,000 students in Rhode Island’s largest school district to return to in-person learning on Sept. 14, but plenty of city students will be expected to report to class later this month.

Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters announced Monday that elementary schools will reopen to full in-person learning on Sept. 14, while the back-to-school plan for other students will vary depending on the grade:

  • Students in grades six and nine will switch between in-person learning and distance learning every other day.
  • Students in grades seven and 10 will begin the year with distance learning and then transition to an alternating schedule of in-person and distance learning by Sept. 28.
  • Students in grades eight, 11, and 12 will begin the year with distance learning and transition to an alternating schedule by Oct. 13.
  • Some special populations, like English learners and students with special needs, will have the option to return to school beginning Sept. 14 on a daily or alternating basis.
  • More than 6,500 students will participate in the city’s virtual learning academy through January.

“We prioritized in-person learning because it matters,” Peters said in a brief phone interview on Monday. He said while families have the option to participate in virtual learning, the district believes that the majority of parents want students to return to school.


District officials say they believe that approximately 8,500 of the district’s 24,000 students will be in school on Sept. 14.

Raimondo announced Monday that Providence and Central Falls are the only school districts in the state that cannot fully reopen in-person on Sept. 14, but she said that she expects most districts to begin with a partial reopening and then have all students back in class by Oct. 13.

Providence and Central Falls can’t full reopen because both cities are still seeing more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents each week. The rest of the state falls under that threshold.

Peters said he is “very confident” that Providence’s school buildings will be ready for students to return. He said the district is conducting a “classroom-by-classroom” review, and teachers will be given a checklist to to review their classrooms each day.

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