Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 21st edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, a summary of new RI restrictions, minimizing your quarantine list, and general reminders.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
This past week, 6 individuals, one a virtual option student and two already in quarantine due to family members with the virus, were added to our list of members of our school community who tested positive for the coronavirus. Three cases were from SHS, one from McCabe, and one from GMS (a virtual option student). This brings our total number of cases to 31 over the first eight weeks of school. We wish everyone a speedy recovery and encourage all to strictly adhere to social distancing and mask protocols to reduce the spread of this virus.
New Restrictions in RI
Yesterday, Governor Gina Raimondo announced additional restrictions, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus and in response to a growing number of cases throughout the state. For the next two weeks, a stay at home advisory, in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and 10:30 to 5 a.m. on weekends, will be in place and restaurants and other recreational facilities must close at those hours. Additionally, the capacity limit for indoor venues, including movie theaters and churches, is reduced to 50% with a maximum of 125 people. For outdoor venues, the limit is 66% of capacity with a maximum of 150 people.
Other restrictions include capacity limits at catered events, a social gathering limit of 10, and a capacity limit of one person per 150 square feet at big box stores. Lastly, face coverings are now required when with people you don't live with, both inside and outside. The governor urged Rhode Islanders to consider small Thanksgiving gatherings and to avoid travel during the holidays. After 2 weeks of restrictions, RI health officials will assess the spread rate of the virus and the compliance with restrictions in order to determine if the state will need to go back to Phase 2 of Reopening.
Minimizing Your Quarantine List
As we go about our daily lives we interact with a variety of people at a variety of locations. The CRUSH COVID RI app helps to track your locations and list the contacts you interacted with at these locations. If you contract COVID19, this data will be useful to case investigators charged with determining who should be quarantined in response to your positive test. This data can never be accessed by others unless you transfer it to them. The app is available free on the App Store.
Ideally, our lists should be short, especially our work lists. If we are able to keep our masks on and maintain at least a 6’ distance from one another, we can keep from being on one another’s list. Not only is quarantining disruptive to our work and home lives, but actually contracting the illness can be debilitating. Make keeping your coworkers and friends safe a priority by being conscientious about keeping your list short!
Attestation Forms - After an illness, all staff and students are expected to submit an after-illness attestation form. These forms are available online through the RIDOH website (see link) or through our COVID webpage (see red link on the district website).
Dedicated Testing Centers - See this website - https://health.ri.gov/covid/testing/k-12/ for an overview of when to get a test, what happens on the day of the test, and the locations of the K-12 testing sites. To schedule a test, parents or staff can call: (844) 857 - 1814 - 7 Days a Week: 7:30 AM - 9:30 PM.
School Meals - Both breakfast and lunch are free to ALL students.
The town of Smithfield has seen a steady rise in new cases of COVID-19, from 6 per week in September to 34 new cases last week, dropping from 38 the week before. This corresponds to a daily rate of 4.9 new cases per ~22,000 residents, or 22.3 per 100,000. Let’s work together to keep this number dropping from week to week. This data is available at: https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent