Raimondo: Most schools cleared to resume in-person classes

RI Governor Gina Raimondo addresses Rhode Islanders on the coronavirus pandemic at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium July 10, 2020. Listening at back is RI Department of Health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. Pool photo by Sandor Bodo / The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Every public school district in Rhode Island except two have been given the go-ahead to resume in-person classes when schools reopen next month, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday.

Children are scheduled to return to school on Sept. 14 and “our expectation is that’s what you will do,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference.

To be ready, five metrics had to be met, including low hospitalization and spread rate statewide; an ability to return coronavirus test results within 48 to 72 hours; and enough protective supplies.

Only Providence and Central Falls have not met the metrics. Those cities have had the highest coronavirus rates in the state.

Raimondo said she understands that reopening schools is not risk free.

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COVID RESPONSE FUND GRANTS

The Rhode Island Foundation has distributed another $1 million from its COVID-19 Response Fund to 19 nonprofits to help ensure that residents can pay for food, rent, utilities and other essential expenses during the coronavirus pandemic, the organization announced Monday.

The fund has now distributed more than $7 million.

The Blackstone Valley Community Action Program in Pawtucket will use most of its grant to help clients with rental assistance and to stock its food pantry.

“While no one knows how long the crisis will continue, we’re doing everything we can to continue helping people who are struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19,” Vin Ceglie, executive director, said in a statement.

Commericial Fisheries of R.I. in South Kingstown; the Refugee Dream Center in Providence; the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in Providence; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport; and Westbay Community Action in Warwick are among the organizations receiving grants in the latest round of funding.

“These grants will help backbone community service organizations around the state fill the gaps as people deal with having even fewer resources,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.