EAST GREENWICH- After a year of battling the pandemic there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as people across the state and country are being vaccinated.
Last week it was announced by the Town of East Greenwich and the East Greenwich School District, that teachers, faculty and staff will be able to be vaccinated through the town’s regional site at the Swift Community Center.
In an announcement, East Greenwich Town Manager Andy Nota explained that they will be temporarily pausing its normal vaccine rollout plan to help vaccinate staff and teachers in the school district.
“As the Town continues its focus on vaccinating all community members age 65+, and in supporting the State in moving to large-scale state-wide clinics, the Town’s EMA Vaccination Team is pausing to address an important need within our School District,” Nota stated. “We will be working with #EGSD School Administration, #RIDOH and the #RIGOV to vaccinate all school district personnel in the coming weeks. We are coordinating with RIDOH and the Governor’s office in planning for this logistical rollout, and are in the process of scheduling a 1st dose clinic this week and a 2nd dose clinic for the first week of April.”
East Greenwich Superintendent Alexis Meyer in her weekly field memo last week stated that she is grateful for the partnership between the school district and the town to get them vaccinated.
“I am thrilled to report that in partnership with the Town of East Greenwich, the District will offer a Vaccination Clinic for our faculty and staff. The vaccine being used requires two doses and the clinics are scheduled for March 11, 2021 and April 1, 2021,” Meyer stated. “ I am incredibly grateful to Town Manager, Andy Nota, Special Projects Manager Fred Gomes and the East Greenwich Vaccination Team for their partnership in this effort. This is another important step in our forward movement.”
Nota explained in the announcement that the town is looking forward to making the process of vaccinating school staff work.
“This is a tight and efficient timeline established for the States School Districts that I know our Rhode Island Cities/Towns working with our School Administrations can make work. I’d like to extend thanks to the Governor’s Office, RIDOH, and our Town Council for their confidence and partnership in helping to make this important step possible,” Nota stated. “E.G. is happy to be part of a statewide initiative, that is efficient, successful and has galvanized all state and community resources in moving our communities forward.”
In the announcement Nota thanked the town’s team that has helped them throughout the process from doing COVID-19 testing to putting shots in the arms of its residents.
“A special thank you to the core members of our vaccination team that has been operating since December, including Fred Gomes Deputy EMA Director, Jim Fogel, EMA Specialist, Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude, Medical Director Dr. Hub Brennan, Pharmacist, Tara Higgins, Andy Wade and members of the the Community Services Dept., (Recreation, Senior Center and Parks Dept. staffs), Fire/EMS Department members, DPW (parking and building staff) E.G. Police Department, and so many other members of the Towns staff (Finance Dept. Town Clerk’s Office, Planning Office), and others that registered patients, assisted our seniors and supported clinic operations,” Nota stated. “ It has taken a good working team to generate a positive outcome for our community. Thank you for your efforts and commitment.”
East Greenwich High School begins in person events
When Kenneth Hopkins Jr. took over as the principal of East Greenwich High School in September, the idea that they would be able to have larger scale in person events was unlikely.
With that said it was announced during the Feb.23 East Greenwich School Committee Meeting that they would have some type of in person graduation this year.
“We’re going to be having an in person graduation,” Hopkins Jr. said. “It’s just the question of venue, it’s the question of indoor versus outdoor, and it’s a question of what precautions we need to take to do it.”
Aside from graduation Hopkins Jr. explained that they have been having conversations with staff and the senior class officers centered around in person events, with more substantive conversations taking place after February vacation.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to try to provide some sense of normalcy especially as the numbers come down,” Hopkins Jr. said.
Last Sunday one of the first of the events took place when students were able to watch their Avengers in the boys basketball playoff game.
Hopkins Jr. explained that due to restrictions they weren’t able to have students in the gym for the game they wanted to have a way for students to be able to cheer on the team.
He explained that they had a food truck and an outdoor projector outside at the school so they could cheer them on in a socially distanced way.
“Although the students couldn’t be inside for the game 70 students were outside cheering them on,” Hopkins Jr. said.
While it’s still unsure whether or not there will be a “traditional prom” this year Hopkins Jr. is confidendent that they will be able to have some type of senior event this year.
“We will have a full senior in person type event during memorial day weekend,” Hopkins jr. said.
While details continue to be sorted out he explained that he wants to see as many in person events they can safely do.
“I want to see as many events as we possibly can do for our students especially for our seniors to have as much resemblance of normalcy as possible,” Hopkins Jr. said.