October 1, 2021


Dear Students, Parents and Staff,

As we continue to navigate the pandemic this fall, we will continue to follow practices that are in place to keep everyone safe.

Adopting the new guidance outlined below will allow the district to keep more students in school. Additionally, as the vaccine becomes available for our younger students, I am encouraged that we will turn the corner on what has been a challenging time for everyone.

  • The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has given updated guidance regarding how to respond to symptoms, testing, and isolation and quarantine. These updates are intended to help Districts to maximize safe, in-person learning. The updates are based on data, as well as feedback from schools and families about the disruption caused by test turnaround times and quarantine during the first weeks of the 2021-22 academic year.

Cumberlands schools will be going by the Following Recommendation Option:

  • People with one (1) major symptom or two (2) minor symptoms of COVID-19 need

to isolate, go home, and get tested.

Any ONE symptom: •Cough (new) •Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or smell

Any TWO symptoms: PROBABLE •Fever or Chills •Muscle or body aches •Headaches

  • Sore throat •Fatigue •Congestion or runny nose (new)

Also we will: Allow asymptomatic siblings/household members (both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated) to remain in school pending test results for the symptomatic individuals.

School Lunch Period

I am understanding that some in the community have expressed concerns on how our elementary schools are conducting lunch this year in the pandemic.

The protocol for lunch is to space students as the footprint of the lunch room allows. Students eat their lunch and are asked to use their indoor voices and mask up when talking with friends. Having been at the 5 elementary schools during the lunch period, I can say that each school is following this approach. Knowing that no system is perfect, each school is striving to keep everyone safe.

When I think back to last year with distance learning and hybrid schedules, I am encouraged that we are able to be in school 5 days a week. The practices we are now following at lunch and in the classroom, are in large part keeping us at school. 


In order to keep students safe and provide the best testing environment for the high school students, we will follow similar protocols to last year. The PSAT 9 will be administered to all students in grade 9 on Wednesday, October 13th at Cumberland High School.  Students will gain important insight to the design of College Board assessments, while providing the school with important student performance data. Testing time for this assessment will be approximately 3 hours long with breaks and lunch scheduled as a part of the day. Concurrently, the PSAT/NMSQT will be administered to 11th grade students that registered for the assessment in the Spring of 2021.  Approximately 140 students will take part in this National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

Durham Bus Tracker

We are pleased to announce that there is now an app available for monitoring your child’s school bus. 

Durham Bus Tracker® allows you to view your student’s current school bus location. Information about the route, in near real time, including the scheduled and estimated arrival times to your stop. 

Your child’s LASID is your student’s ID number which is the same number used for their lunch ID.

If you do not know it, you can log in to Aspen and look at the student detail page. If you cannot find it or need further assistance in Aspen, please email aspenhelp@cumberlandschools.org 

Please be advised, there may be a change in bus schedules on a day-to-day basis due to scheduling changes if the bus company is experiencing numerous drivers unable to report to work. 

Please see the attached documents including the Durham Bus Tracker FAQ; Durham Bus Tracker Informational Sheet-English; Durham Bus Tracker Informational Sheet-Spanish

Positive Covid-19 Cases

The Positive Covid-19 Cases in the Schools spreadsheet is provided for your review and will be updated on a weekly basis. It is also available on the District’s website under Quick Links.

Flu Vaccination Clinics

Flu Vaccination Clinics have been scheduled for Tuesday, October 12; Monday, October 25 and Wednesday, November 17 at the Cumberland High School Cafeteria from 4:00 – 7:00pm. Please see RI Department of Health-Flu (Influenza). You will need to register online to schedule an appointment: schoolflu.com. Limited walk-in availability will be accepted as resources allow. Additional information is provided in the Flu Vaccination Clinics Folder.

TIK TOK Challenge

It has come to our attention that there are challenges on the social media platform called Tik Tok.  These challenges are set for each month of the school year.  The challenges involve activity involving the destruction of and/or theft of property, unwanted touching of other persons and other behavior that may result in serious disciplinary action or, in some instances, criminal proceedings. We ask that you please speak with your child about this subject. 

Should you have any questions regarding Tik Tok, you are encouraged to contact your building administrator.  Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

I ask for your continued patience as we work through this challenging time.



Philip D. Thornton, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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