February 26, 2021

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoyed their February vacation week.  Listed below are a number of items for your review.

  • At last night’s School Committee, I presented our plan for bringing students in for more in-person learning.  The plan to bring students in for four days of in-person learning is provided for your review.  Please reach out to your child’s principal for school specific questions.

   Cumberland School Department In-Person Return to School Presentation 

  • As I mentioned in last night’s presentation on transitioning to 4 day in-person learning, there may be some minor changes to the pickup and drop off times for students riding the buses.  We have been assured that there will not be a significant change.  However, we wanted to make parents and students aware of this possibility.  We will post the changes on the district website when we receive the schedule from the bus company.

  • Laura Canavan, our point of contact with the Education Operations Center, and other members of her team, will be visiting all of our elementary schools to assess our return to the four days of in-person learning.  

  • After consulting with the Education Operations Center, Cumberland’s Reopening of School Task Force agreed to reduce the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 for students who have traveled to states with a high positivity rate and those students and staff who are quarantined as a close contact.  A negative test is not required for the 10 day return if the student or staff member is asymptomatic during the quarantine period.

  • Like every other school district in the state of Rhode Island, Cumberland is having difficulty finding substitute teachers.  We believe that there may be parents interested in helping.  If you are interested and have questions, please contact our Human Resource Department at 401.658.1600 ext. 320.  We would appreciate your help.

  • COVID-19 vaccines will soon be available for youth ages 16 to 21 who have underlying medical conditions. The RI Department of Health’s Office of Special Needs and the RI Parent Information Network are hosting a virtual presentation. RIDOH Town Hall: Covid-19 Vaccines for Youth with Underlying Medical Conditions on Wednesday, March 3rd from 4:00 – 5:00pm.  Please join this virtual presentation to learn about the vaccine. Dr. Philip Chan from the Rhode Island Department of Health will answer questions from youth, parents, and caregivers.  Register here: https://tinyurl.com/rpjk74eb

  • The updated COVID-19 spreadsheet is provided for your review.

  • I received this email from Paul Bowser, the middle school band director.  Congratulations to Mr. Bowser and the middle school students for an impressive performance under challenging circumstances:  

The Middle School Bands have been working hard to prepare music for our second Virtual Concert of the 2020-2021 School year.  We are proud to present our first ever “Black History Month Concert,”  featuring performances of two historical compositions by African American composers: “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (sometimes known as the “Black National Anthem”) by James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosemond Johnson , and “St. Louis Blues” by “The Father of the Blues,” W.C. Handy. https://youtu.be/yR8c9S2t3OE

  • Just a reminder that all high school athletic events in the Wellness Center and at Tucker Field are being streamed via the NFHS Network System that was installed in December.  Contests that are not taking place in those venues are being streamed on other platforms such as the Cumberland Schools YouTube account.  If you have any questions on how to view our athletic contests please contact our Athletic Director: eric.blanchard@cumberlandschools.org

  • Congratulations to high school students Heather Bliss and Harry Kenyon for being selected to participate in the National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Ensembles and Riley Trudeau and Juliette Vemmer for being named to the Female All-State Soccer Team.  Congratulations to you, your coaches, and your families on this impressive achievement.

There may be a few bumps along the way as we bring students back for more in-person learning.  However, this will bring us one step closer to a more normal routine.


Robert A. Mitchell

Superintendent of Schools


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