RI Schools to Maintain Distance Learning Until at Least April 30

The announcement came as health officials announced the state's fourth COVID-19 death

Gov. Gina Raimondo

Rhode Island Gov. Gina 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.

"It's only because of the incredible work of everyone that I have the confidence to say, "Let's keep going," she said.

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

In a bid to help lower-income students, Raimondo announced any household with a smartphone with a Wi-Fi hotspot and cell phone service from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint would receive free hotspot coverage.

The move came as Raimondo announced the state's fourth death from the coronavirus outbreak. The victim was a man in his 70s, health officials said. It wasn't immediately clear if he had underlying conditions.

As of Monday, there were 408 cases of COVID-19 in the state, up 114 from the previous day.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announces the state's first two deaths in the coronavirus pandemic and announces a sweeping set of new measures aimed at stopping its spread, including a stay-at-home order.

Raimondo earlier this month announced all schools would move to distance learning as coronavirus cases in the state began to mount.

The governor predicted she would be announcing more cases and deaths in the coming days.

"We're in a fast spread of the virus in Rhode Island," she said.

Raimondo has issued sweeping measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The moves include a stay-at-home order and banning gatherings of more than five people.

Under the stay-at-home order, which extends through April 13, anyone not leaving the house for food, medical supplies, gas or other essential items must stay home, unless they are essential workers or are taking a walk while social distancing.

Additionally, all non-critical retail stores must close through April 13, including clothing stores and gift shops. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to stay open for takeout and delivery only. The full list of critical and non-critical businesses is available here.

Raimondo has also announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling to Rhode Island for non-work related purposes. The restriction does not apply to public health, public safety or healthcare workers.

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