Governor Gina M Raimondo has opened an Emergency Operations Center focused on education. Called the Education Operations Center, (EdOC), this center will be staffed by people across state agencies – RIDE, RIDOH, DOT, RIPTA, EMA, and others – and will be entirely focused on providing real-time support to schools, drawing on the operational expertise of the National Guard. The slide below illustrates the approach they’re taking, both to getting schools open safely and to providing support to school districts once they’ve opened:
This operations center will be ready and able to assist with anything our schools need, according to a press release from the Governor’s office. If a school is running low on hand sanitizer or masks, this team will immediately arrange for the supplies they need. If a school needs logistical support to ensure strong in-person learning, this team will be able to provide assistance. When a school has a student or staff member who tests positive, this team will be on the ground to test, isolate and quarantine, to prevent a large outbreak just as they have done with child care and congregate care settings over the past few months.
Every school district will have a designated point-of-contact, and the Governor’s office says they will ensure frequent lines of communication between districts and the EdOC.
The EdOC will ramp up over the next few weeks with recognition of several milestones, including the return of teachers on the 9th and the return of students on the 14th (the plan at the time of this writing). Once schools are open, the leaders at the EdOC will be prepared to deploy assistance teams to any school – in any city or town – on a moment’s notice.