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Snow Days 'Are Gone,' Rhode Island Education Commissioner Says, Replaced By Virtual Learning

PROVIDENCE (CBS/AP) -- Sorry, kids - it looks like old-fashioned snow days are a thing of the past in Rhode Island. State Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green said Wednesday that there will be no more snow days when students go back to school.

Instead, students will return to remote learning on days when the weather forces them to stay home.

"The snow days the way we did them before are gone. We can do virtual distance learning," Infante-Green said, acknowledging there might be some "disappointed children."

Gov. Gina Raimondo said the state's remote learning plan during the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most successful in the nation. Rhode Island plans to have schoolchildren and teachers back in the classroom for face-to-face instruction starting Aug. 31.

The date was set based on current data trends regarding the virus that indicate reopening schools will be safe then, but there will be some flexibility.

Schools will look different she said, with desks spaced farther apart, more frequent cleaning, fewer kids on buses, and children and teachers likely wearing masks.

Kids who are sick, even with a minor sniffle, will be required to stay home.

"We pride ourselves on a perfect attendance culture, and that's going to have to change," Raimondo said.

The Rhode Island Department of Education will on June 19 post its minimum safety requirements that all public and private schools must meet. Each district must then submit a reopening plan to the state based on those minimum standards by July 17, she said.

To help schools offset anticipated increased costs, the state will provide at least $42 million in federal coronavirus aid, she said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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