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Editorial & Opinion

Casey Fredette: The lives of students and educators should not be gambled on

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Until the safe return to school can be achieved, my kids and my wife are a risk to every Rhode Islander. Until we have a safe return plan, we cannot guarantee that my comprised family members will not spread COVID-19 to your compromised or at-risk family members.


My name is Casey Fredette. I live in East Providence and I am the father to three school-aged children. That, however, is not the driving force in speaking out today. As a Rhode Islander, I believe that in-person schooling is a risk to all Rhode Islanders until, and unless, it can be carried out safely. My 12-year-old, Roe, attends Ferri Middle School in Johnston. Leo, my 11-year-old, finished at Winsor Hill in Johnston this year. My youngest, Darwin, is scheduled to begin kindergarten at The Hennessey School this fall. My two older children were born prematurely. My wife lives with enough health concerns that she has been virtually housebound since March 13th.

Until the safe return to school can be achieved, my kids and my wife are a risk to every Rhode Islander. Until we have a safe return plan, we cannot guarantee that my comprised family members will not spread COVID-19 to your compromised or at-risk family members. That uncertainty and concern should remind all Rhode Islanders, with or without school-aged children, educators, or support-staff in their homes, that we need a plan that is science driven and approved above all else.

Governor Raimondo, you have worked hard to safeguard this state through this crisis. Nevertheless, successfully minimizing the impact does not mean that the virus and the concerns that existed in March, when you took every school in the state to distance learning, are gone.

Governor Raimondo, I believe it is time that you take your own advice and “knock it off”. We need you and we need you to work with us. Stop allowing this level of fear and anxiety to exist and grow in Rhode Islanders, especially our students and educators. Their lives and safety should not be gambled on.

Governor Raimondo, we need you and the Commissioner to come together and work for a safe and equitable option for all of Rhode Island. We have lost far too much time already. This time should not be spent fighting. It should instead be spent educating the educators, parents, guardians, caretakers, and students for educational alternatives that could keep us all safe. We needed this time to prepare an adequate system that supports students and teachers, and that would give families time to prepare.


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Governor Raimondo, you asked us some months make to “be brave.” We put our health on the line for the economy and we went back out into the world. Today, I am asking you to “be brave.” Please stand up for our children. Please work with us to ensure that children in 02863 are given the same safe access to education as to my child in 02914 is. Listen to the scientists on a safe return to school because if we fail our youth on this, we fail all of Rhode Island.

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