Reading, Writing and ‘Rona

Nicole Casey and her husband are teachers in Massachusetts who have a daughter entering kindergarten in Lincoln this fall. Out of concern for their daughter, they anxiously awaited RIDE plans for a safe school reopening. “When they came out, I was horrified,” she said. “There were no statewide safety requirements. Everything was worded in a way that didn’t specifically require anything or left room for not requiring anything. [The plans] didn’t come near the CDC guidelines or even Massachusetts guidelines, which are still far too weak.”

In response, she organized a Facebook group called RI Parents/Educators for Safe Schools, which is nearing a membership 15,000 strong. “I formed the group for parents, educators, really any stakeholders in this situation who are concerned about these plans,” Casey said. “We want plans put in place that ensure every student and every teacher and every staff member are safe. If that means that schools cannot reopen in person, I think it’s very important that we look at creative funded solutions for what families need. I believe in our state and I believe they can do that without opening school buildings.”

Casey believes RI’s small size allows for statewide creative solutions to a safe school reopening, but also makes school reopenings particularly challenging. “People live in one district and teach in another. They don’t stay in their cities, so small local outbreaks can cause a statewide outbreak as people live, work and do things all around the state and then come back together. This needs to be a statewide decision.” 

Join RI Parents/Educators for Safe Schools here: The group live tweets the governor’s Thursday afternoon school opening Facebook live sessions and regularly posts calls to action.