NORTH KINGSTOWN–For the past 11 months since Covid-19 was first detected in Rhode Island there have been very few things that have been considered “normal.”
For North Kingstown students, teachers, parents and guardians there was a little bit of normalcy on Monday as the school district made the decision to have an official snow day instead of having a distance learning day.
During the Jan.12 North Kingstown School Committee meeting it was announced that the next inclement weather day would be a traditional snow day instead of a distance learning one. At that meeting North Kingstown Schools Superintendent Phil Auger explained that because of the way the schedule worked out and the difficulties that can come with inclement weather like power outages Auger announced that the next snow day would likely be a “traditional one.” On Monday he decided to do just that by canceling school.
“We found that our first distance learning snow day was not nearly as good an experience as an in-person day for many of our students. After that experience, we made the decision to use traditional snow days and make up the day in person at the end of the year,” Auger stated in an email. “For this year, because we started the year so late, we can only do this so much before the school year enters the last week of June, which we would like to avoid. Hopefully this won’t occur, but if it does we would be prepared to use distance learning snow days again if we have to.”
Auger noted as of now they expect that next year they will stay with the traditional snow day format based on when they are expected to end in June. He said that he expects the 2021-22 calendar to be published sometime in mid-February after it is approved by the school committee.
The snow day came as Rhode Islanders across the state and region kept their eyes on the weather as a northeaster was expected to bring severe weather everywhere in the state. In North Kingstown the storm produced heavy snow and high wind gusts.
North Kingstown Town Manager Ralph Mollis said after the storm that he is happy with how well North Kingstown Public Works was able to handle the storm.
“The North Kingstown Public Works did a great job in preparing for and handling this storm. The parking ban, along with significantly reduced traffic, provided for adequate conditions for the department to clear our roads well before early this morning,” Mollis stated on Tuesday. “The Municipal Office Building was open Monday morning. We closed the building at 1:30 p.m. on Monday when dangerous travel conditions were forecast for mid to late afternoon.”
As of Tuesday morning Mollis said that the roads were in good condition.
Aside from school closures and the usual city services like trash collection being delayed a day this week the storm also caused a new logistical dilemma across the Ocean State. With Covid-19 vaccines continuing to be distributed across the state and testing taking place now more than ever, cities and towns scrambled with informing those who were supposed to get vaccinated and tested that they would be postponed due to the weather.
For North Kingstown they were fortunate in the fact that the 130 vaccinations that they received this week came on Sunday and Wednesday meaning they weren’t impacted due to the weather.