April 9, 2021

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope everyone is doing well.  As you may have heard, a third of the country has received at least one vaccination with more vaccinations happening every day.  This is a reason for optimism.  However, we still have a responsibility to stay vigilant especially with concerns about the variants.

Listed below are a number of items for your review:

  • I am pleased to report that all grades, kindergarten through grade 12 are back in school for 4 days of in-person learning.  Grades 10 and 11 started this week.  Our goal is to get all students back into school for 5 days a week.  That will happen after the RICAS testing.

  • As I have mentioned at our recent School Committee meetings, our biggest challenge  to getting students back for 5 days is scheduling RICAS for all students including distance learners.  We need to use Mondays to accommodate the testing of those students.  We will be sure to keep you informed of the schedule moving forward.

  • As a reminder, the Reopening of School Task Force agreed to allow students and staff to return to school on day 8 after quarantining for 7 days with proof of a negative PCR or BINAX test on or after day 5.  The test can not be done before day 5.  This is for students and staff who have traveled or are planning to travel out of state and for students and staff who have been identified as close contacts.  This is important information since a much needed April vacation is rapidly approaching.

  • We have learned that the number of students allowed to ride the bus will increase to 75% of capacity after April vacation.  This will be a big help to families who have been very supportive in getting their children to and from school every day.  The increase in bus ridership will take that burden away from parents.  

  • As I have stated in previous communications and again at last night’s School Committee meeting, despite the ramifications of the pandemic, the federal government and RIDE expects every student in the state to take RICAS.  We have been told repeatedly that there are no exemptions except for medical reasons.  There are no opt-outs.  Please know that we have a responsibility to carry out this directive.  As a result, all students, including distance learners, will be required to come to school and take this assessment. 

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

  • After today, all Cumberland School Department employees will have had an opportunity to receive both vaccinations.

  • As you know, Cumberland Hill elementary school will be the first school to undergo extensive renovation work beginning this summer and continuing through the next school year.  Cumberland Hill students and staff will be housed in the Trans Building while the renovations are taking place.  As soon as the school year ends, work will begin on the Trans Building in preparation for Cumberland Hill’s students and staff.  The Trans Building will be referred to as the “Swing Space” while the facilities work is taking place.  There is a lot of planning underway and we will be sure to keep everyone informed as soon as the plans are solidified.

  • I received this request from a student at the high school.  Please consider supporting this cause.  

Hello! My name is Sarah Leduc and I am a senior at Cumberland High School. I just wanted to let you know that I am doing a fundraiser for sexual assault awareness month. All proceeds go directly to Day One, the Rhode Island rape crisis center. I would greatly appreciate it if you could share or donate to my fundraiser! Day One provides therapies, workshops, trauma based yoga, educational classes, hotlines, law enforcement advocacy, and so much more. Day One is a nonprofit and relies solely on donations and grants so this fundraiser is very important! I put the go fund me link in this email. Thank you so much! -Sarah Leduc  https://gofund.me/12805512

As always, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work our way back to a more normal routine.  Have a good weekend.


Robert A. Mitchell

Superintendent of Schools

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