Executive Order 20-44

Fortieth Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Uniform Statewide School Calendar

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I declared a state of emergency due to the dangers to health and life posed by COVID-19 and that declaration has been extended to at least June 5, 2020;

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 public health emergency required the closure of all school buildings in Rhode Island for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, with distance learning for all students taking place while school buildings were closed;

WHEREAS, the strategy of adopting a uniform statewide school calendar for the months of April, May, and June in 2020 proved successful in supporting the COVID-19 public health emergency response;

WHEREAS, the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ("RIDE") and the Rhode Island Department of Health have been collaborating to provide guidance to local school districts and other local educational agencies throughout the State (collectively, "LEAs"1 ) on reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year;

WHEREAS, R.I. Gen. Laws§ 16-2-2 and the Regulations Governing the School Calendar and Length of the School Day promulgated by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education set forth the procedures for the adoption of school calendars in the State;

WHEREAS, the adoption of a uniform statewide school calendar would support families in balancing unpredictable work schedules necessitated by the COVID-19 emergency with child-care responsibilities; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of a uniform, statewide school calendar would allow the LEAs to pool resources and better coordinate their operations, such as the design and participation in joint professional development days.

NOW THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, pursuant to Article IX of the Rhode Island Constitution and the Rhode Island General Laws, including, but not limited to, Title 30, Chapter 15, do hereby find, order and direct the following:

  1. R.I. Gen. Laws§ 16-2-2(a)(l) and 200-RICR-20-05-1.1.4, which require each LEA to establish a calendar for the school year, are hereby suspended. RIDE shall issue a uniform, statewide school calendar covering the period of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 and thereafter shall amend the calendar as it deems necessary to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

  2. All LEAs shall adopt and follow the uniform, statewide school calendar, and any amendments thereof, to be issued by RIDE.

This Order shall take effect immediately and remain in full force and effect until July 10, 2020, unless renewed, modified or terminated by subsequent Executive Order.

1 As used herein, LEA has the same meaning as used in 34 C.F.R. § 300.28, and thus includes a public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for a combination of school districts or counties as are recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools." id.

So Ordered,

Gina M. Raimondo