May 14, 2021
Dear Students, Staff, and Families,
Happy Friday everyone. I hope this is a happier Friday given the news we heard yesterday about mask wearing. The good news is that vaccinated individuals don’t have to wear masks in most situations. However, since we are a school system with students that are not yet vaccinated, we need to maintain the status quo until we hear from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). I spoke with our Education Operations Center (EDOC) representative, Laura Canavan, this morning. She confirmed that we need to continue with the mask wearing procedure that we have in place until we hear from RIDOH. I will be sure to pass along any information related to this issue as soon as I hear from RIDOH.
Families should have received information yesterday on the opportunity for students ages 12 to 15 to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Here is the registration information we shared yesterday: Cumberland Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) will be conducting two vaccination clinics targeting students in this age group. The clinics will be held on May 21st from 4:00-8:00 pm and on May 22nd from 9:00-3:00 pm. Both clinics will be held at the Ann & Hope building located at 1 Ann & Hope Way. Access to the clinic will be the old main retail entrance on the “railroad track” side of the building. Second dose clinics will be held on June 11th from 4:00-8:00 pm and on June 12th from 9:00-3:00 pm. Registration links for second dose clinics will be provided at the first dose clinics. Registration links for these first dose clinics may be found here (links will be deactivated at 4:00 pm on May 19, 2021):
As a reminder, you may have heard that distance learning will not be an option next year per Governor McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Education. The expectation is that we will be back to full in-person when students return to school in August.
Planning for the move of Cumberland Hill School to the Trans Building continues on a weekly basis. There are a lot of things to consider in a move of this magnitude including furniture, technology, supplies, etc. Meetings have been held with Cumberland Hill staff and a meeting is being planned for the high school staff that will be impacted by Cumberland Hill’s move to the Trans Building. We will also be planning meetings for parents impacted by the move at some point in the near future.
Given all that we’ve been through over the past 14 months, this information may be of help to anyone struggling with mental health issues. The National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering a free program at NAMI-RI called Ending the Silence. It’s intended for students, teachers or parents to observe warning signs of mental illness and suicide in young people in order to get them the help they need as early as possible.
Please refer to our website for more information. In the “News” section you can register for classes during May. May is Mental Health Month. Given all that we have been through in dealing with the pandemic, this is something many of us would benefit from at no cost.
I received this information from the United States Department of Education this week on Confronting COVID-19-Related Harassment in Schools. This is important information that we all need to be aware of. Please take the time to read it and go to the provided links:
The Department of Education and the Department of Justice released Confronting COVID-19-Related Harassment in Schools, a fact sheet for students and families. You may find this resource on the Office for Civil Rights website in English, Chinese-simplified, Chinese-traditional, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, with additional translations expected later this month.
Please share this widely with your networks. This will help ensure that students and families are aware of their rights in school settings and of how to access help if needed, including from the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice.
As President Biden wrote at the start of his presidency, in his Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, “The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity.”
This resource is one part of our work to counter racism and ensure equity and equal opportunity for all. We hope you find it useful and are able to share it with students, educators and communities throughout the country.
Hopefully, the news about mask wearing will give us more hope that we are returning to our customary routines. However, we still need to be mindful of the precautionary measures we can take to keep ourselves and others safe. Let’s keep up the good work. It is making a difference.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Have a good weekend.
Robert A. Mitchell
Superintendent of Schools