Important Update on Full Distance Learning

Important Update on Full Distance Learning
Posted on 12/11/2020


Dear NSS Community,

Thank you for all you have been doing to support our students and teachers throughout the year. We have had a successful Fall and I am so proud of our students and staff as they have persevered through significant changes and challenges on a daily basis.

As we approach mid-December, I want to update you on the status of Covid-19 cases in our schools and notify you regarding our planned next steps. Since the Thanksgiving holiday break, we have seen a steady increase in positive cases of Covid-19 in both students and staff. To date, while our overall in-school cases have been low (with the exception of Narragansett Elementary this week), we have had numerous students and staff infected in outside of school settings and many more students and staff required to quarantine. The chart below shows our current data:

Based on our experiences in the Narragansett schools after Halloween and after Thanksgiving, we anticipate an increase in infection rates in the days following the Holiday break. We also are currently experiencing a steady increase in infections in our schools that may be rooted in the rate of spread in our local community.

Consequently, we plan to incorporate full district distance learning days immediately prior to and following the Holiday break to allow for current and potential infections to be identified and contained before bringing students back to in-person learning.


Our pre- and post-break schedule is detailed below:

December 21-23: Full distance learning for all students

December 24- January 3: Holiday break

January 4-8: Full distance learning for all students

January 11: Return to in-person learning

This temporary change constitutes a total of eight distance learning days, but allows for three weeks of separation and social distancing. This approach incorporates a 14-day period between Christmas and a return to school that is intended to prevent our students and staff members from becoming widely infected from the positive cases that may result from social and family gatherings or travel over the holiday.

I continue to urge you to follow the recommendations of the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding limiting contact outside of your household, wearing masks, and staying home if there are any signs of illness or after potential exposure. I also ask that you keep your holiday gatherings small and local. Even with all of these precautions, we expect a significant spike in cases following the holidays and are taking a proactive approach so that we can resume and maintain in-person learning throughout the following weeks and months.

Each principal will communicate specific schedule accommodations and information for each school early next week. All students will be engaged in full school days. We have aligned the schedules so all schools will have a common lunch time to help support families. All students who receive additional support through special education programming will receive their services remotely. Additionally, families who typically are a part of our breakfast/lunch program will be able to pick up breakfast/lunch at Narragansett High School from 9-9:30 and we will share additional information in our school messages.

I truly understand that for many families, this temporary switch to distance learning is a significant challenge. We are making this decision in the hope that it will help reduce the current rate of spread and minimize further infections that endanger the health of our students and staff and reduce the associated quarantine orders that disrupt families and caregivers.

Please contact your school principal or me if you have questions.


Peter J. Cummings, Ed.D