Expert says schools will need help from state to reopen

Dr. Sten Vermund, an epidemiologist, pediatrician and Dean of the Yale School of Public Health advised Gov. Gina Raimondo during a Facebook forum on reopening schools on July 30, 2020 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — School districts across Rhode Island will need help from the state of they are to make classrooms coronavirus-safe for the return of students this fall, an expert said during an online forum hosted by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The most effective way to protect students, faculty and staff is to provide hand sanitizer and masks to everyone, install plexiglass where appropriate, and ensure all schools have enough cleaning supplies to frequently sanitize classrooms, Yale School of Public Health epidemiologist and pediatrician Dr. Sten Vermund said during Thursday’s forum.

Vermund said children handle the coronavirus well, but the danger is that they can pass it on to teachers and other adults who are at greater risk.

The Democratic governor promised that schools will get the help they need, including temperature-screening devices, masks and upgraded air filtration systems, among other supplies.

“We are not going to say ‘good luck’ and go back to school the way it was,’” she said.

Raimondo has said that her goal resume in-person classes on Aug. 31.