Important Superintendent Update 12-14-20 School Calendar & Inclement Weather

Important School Calendar & Inclement Weather Message 12/14/2020

This afternoon, December 14, 2020, Barrington Public Schools received an important update from Commissioner Infante-Green that we wanted to share with you.

Holiday Break and School Calendar Changes

Commissioner Infante Green wanted to remind us that our behavior over the next two weeks will critically impact a successful and safe return to our classrooms in 2021. As such the following steps will be put in place to allow for staff and student quarantining and to allow administrators to explore on-site COVID testing plans to allow time for quarantining and for school leaders to explore testing:

💫 The District will shift to distance learning the week of December 21, 2020. Instructional Staff will have the option of working from home or the building. 

💫 On January 4, 2021, we return to Distance Learning (synchronous learning on Zoom).

💫 Using a staggered re-entry approach, Distance Learning will continue to allow for a period of quarantine after the December Break, with the latest date of return on January 19, 2021.

💫 The ability to return in person will continue to be evaluated. The earliest return date allowed by the Rhode Island Department of Education will be January 7, 2021. If we are able to stagger return based on staffing and quarantine, priority will go to students identified as 5 day-a-week learners, followed by elementary students. 

💫 Please note, that the change in return date is so that you may quarantine after the holiday break. Travel quarantine continues to be 14 days for anyone traveling back home to Rhode Island from a Red State or out of the country. Please do not use this as an extension of travel, which would require additional quarantine time. Students not present for synchronous learning will not be excused. States with Travel Restrictions upon entry to RI

💫 On January 25, 2021, the District will engage in professional development and students will engage in learning without Zoom

The decision to go to a temporary period of distance learning was a very difficult one that we have tried to avoid. We acknowledge the social-emotional and academic benefits of being in person. As such, during distance learning, our teachers will encourage opportunities for movement breaks and relationship-building, such as social lunchtime on Zoom and outdoor breaks. Importantly, all of our social-emotional staff will be available to any student or family in need. Please reach out to your counselor or building principal for support. Due to safety and staffing, the District has made this decision with all of the data currently available to us. We understand the challenges that the decision brings with it and appreciate the support that you have offered to our school staff and administration throughout this pandemic. 

Inclement Weather Plans

At the same time as we are planning for the holiday break, we are also closely monitoring a potential winter storm. All teachers have developed distance learning work for students in the event of power outages. As such, the following steps should be taken:

💫 All students and staff should bring home their materials and devices on Tuesday and Wednesday

💫 If families have not already picked up their children’s learning materials, they should do so on Tuesday

💫 The inclement weather protocol includes a link to sign up for text messages from the RI Broadcasters Association regarding school closures and delays.

Update on Lengths of Quarantine

As you are aware, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided organizations with some flexibilities on the length of quarantine. In the message from the Rhode Island Department of Education, it is was shared: 

💫 In line with the travel guidance, school leaders maintain the flexibility to adopt more stringent guidance into the school’s current COVID-19 protocols for the safety of the K-12 community. 

💫 The CDC continues to endorse 14-day quarantine as the safest protocol but has released new data and information to allow local public health officials to modify policies based on local conditions and needs.  Learn more at 

💫 After reviewing the guidance, the BPS re-entry committee determined that we would adhere to the 14-day guidance we previously followed if you opt not to test. You may opt to test on Day 8 or Day 9 and return with a negative PCR no sooner than Day 10A test earlier than Day 8 will not be accepted for re-entry. This change will take effect on January 4, 2021. We reserve the right to change this decision if the positive rates increase in January. 

💫 Note that the District will be included in on-site testing in 2021 for all students and staff who are interested. We will work with RIDOH on these logistics for on-site testing over the holiday break. 

The Commissioner will share additional details as they become available so that all students

and teachers can safely return to our classrooms in-person in January. Please see the materials provided by the Rhode Island Department of Education below:

I know the past nine months have not been easy. The recent news of the release of the vaccine has provided us with a glimmer of hope.  We need to continue to rally together and be patient as we work together to ensure our students, staff, and families' health and safety.

Thank you.

Mike Messore