October 22, 2021


Dear Students, Parents and Staff,

October is National School Principals’ Month

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our School Principals for their continued hard work and dedication to our students, teachers, support staff and school community in providing a safe and creative learning environment that allows our students to be successful.  


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 following the recommended option as follows:

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

to isolate, go home, and get tested.

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

•New loss of taste or smell

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

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

Effective immediately, per RI Department of Health Guidance, we are now allowing asymptomatic siblings/household members (both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated) to remain in school pending test results for the symptomatic individuals.


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 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.


RICAS Scores

The Assistant Superintendent’s Office is engaged in a full calendar of providing professional development in a number of areas as well as curriculum implementation research.  In addition, we received raw-preliminary data-on RICAS results from this past spring.  There are many stages to such analysis and we do not have all of the information necessary to get a full sense of performance levels at this time. 

The coordinators and I will begin the initial stages of unpacking some of this raw data in the coming week.

When scores are released and embargoed to districts, that is when we engage in a full-scale analysis that has several stages. 


  1.  Initial overview of district performance
  2.  School-based and grade level performance 
  3. Seek patterns of performance district-wide vs. school-based areas of improvement/strengths
  4. Comparative analysis of our performance vs. the remainder of the state
  5. Comparative analysis of our performance relative to Massachusetts and similar districts
  6. We draw conclusions that may be indicative of why we are where we are.
  7. We create a narrative on our findings 
  8. We create a response plan for both the district and the schools. (strategic plan)


School Construction Update

  • The new Transitional Building Elementary School Main Office Area will be opening next week
  • The Transitional Building Elementary School Playground is currently being installed. The poured rubberized surface will be put in place in the coming weeks
  • The JJM Cumberland Hill Elementary School new wing foundation is near completion
  • All other work at JJM Cumberland Hill Elementary School is progressing on schedule

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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