Getting to a New Normal for Our Kids
A Message from Governor Gina Raimondo:
This crisis has been tough for all of us, but it's been especially hard for our kids. I'm proud of the way they've adapted to our new circumstances and made distance learning a success, but there's no sugarcoating the fact that they've had to miss out on important milestones and time with friends. Technology is amazing, but it can’t completely replace the value of in-person interactions and collaboration.
Today, I want to talk about how we can preserve some of the activities our kids are looking forward to - graduation, summer camp, and sports - while keeping them safe from COVID-19.
To stay up to date with Rhode Island's latest COVID-19 statistics, please check the Department of Health's new data dashboard for all the information you need about the spread of coronavirus in Rhode Island. I want to start by addressing the Class of 2020 directly. I know this isn’t the senior year you had hoped to have, and I know it’s hard to not be able to go to prom and enjoy these last few weeks of the year with friends. I promise we’re going to make this a special time for you. On June 15, we’ll be airing our statewide graduation ceremony, ‘Your Year 2020,' on Rhode Island PBS. The deadline to submit videos to be featured in the special is next Friday, May 22. If you're a member of the Class of 2020, we want to see you! Go to www.ripbs.org/YourYear2020 for more details.
I also want to take some time today to talk about our plan for summer camps. We plan to allow summer camps and other youth summer programs to operate in person—under new, strict regulations—starting June 29. Now, I want to set expectations: this year, summer camp is going to look and feel different than usual. Later next week, I will have more to share about the specific regulations we’ll be requiring summer camps to follow. It will look a little different depending on the size and type of the camp. But we know some things will be necessary: stable groups of ten kids of less, frequent deep cleaning and hand-sanitization and ensuring that groups are keeping appropriate social distancing. As with all our reopening guidance, that information will be posted in full on ReopeningRI.com when it’s ready next week.
I know these are less than ideal circumstances, and some of these regulations will change the day-to-day experience of beloved Rhode Island summer camps that have relied on large group gatherings. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. But I know how important these activities are for our kids—they have been for my own kids through the years, just like they were for me when I was child. I want our kids to have some semblance of normalcy this summer. But safety will always come first.
We’ve also been getting a lot of questions about libraries. All library buildings are closed, but libraries are finding creative ways to get books to the community. Right now, during Phase 1, about half of our libraries are offering curbside pickup of preordered library books. Services at local public libraries may vary, so you should contact your local public library for more information.
As we move into Phase 2, many libraries will start offering limited, touchless browsing in designated areas of the library, while curbside pickup will continue. Some libraries will start offering limited access to public computers. All-in-library services will be provided in accordance with our regulations for social distancing, mask-wearing, and cleaning. More information is available on OLIS.ri.gov
We’re all in this together.
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