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‘Awesome’: RI Governor Praises Children for Learning at Home Amid Crisis

In a departure from her daily updates, Raimondo used the appearance to answer questions from children across the state.

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In a special news conference focused on children, Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo on Thursday praised students for their efforts to learn at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"You guys are hitting the cover off the ball," Raimondo told students, calling them "awesome" for participating in distance learning.

Raimondo last month ordered schools to shut down their buildings and transition to distance learning. The state has also issued a stay-at-home order amid the outbreak.

In a departure from her daily updates about the state's response to the coronavirus, Raimondo used the appearance to answer questions from children across the state.

Responding to Ethan, a kindergartner from Smithfield who wanted to know how to help, Raimondo said young people should wash their hands constantly for 30 seconds and "try extra hard" to listen to their parents and teachers.

Caroline, a sixth grader from Providence, said she missed her bus driver, Ruth, and asked if she would okay and be paid while schools were shut down.

"A lot of people are out of work... We're taking care of them," Raimondo said, citing measures such as unemployment insurance and expanded food stamp services.

Thomas, a kindergartner from Cumberland, asked if the Easter Bunny would be quarantined.

Raimondo replied, "The Easter Bunny is an essential worker."

Raimondo scuttled rumors that students would have to repeat their current grade, promising students such a measure would not be necessary.

Raimondo said Monday the state would continue to close schools and implement distance learning for at least another month amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Raimondo said schools would be required to provide distance learning to students until at least April 30, adding the hard work of educators, students and parents had made the system an early success.

Raimondo said she would reassess later whether to extend distance learning beyond April 30.

As of Wednesday, the state had reported 566 cases of the coronavirus, including 10 fatal cases.

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