Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday Rhode Island students will be able to take part in expanded online learning over the summer and have the opportunity to attend camps.
During a news conference, Raimondo said education officials would be working hard all summer to make sure students were ready to return to in-person classes on Aug. 31.
In the meantime, any student who feels they fell behind in the last couple of months due to online learning because of the coronavirus pandemic, can sign up for Summer Academy for Integrated Learning (SAIL) with PrepareRI.
The free program, for Pre-K through Grade 12, will provide project-based learning, student-led seminars and other learning opportunities.
Students will also be able to attend summer camps beginning June 29. Previously, the governor had said only sports camps could reopen.
Some of the rules summer camps must follow include keeping children in groups of 15 or less, screening for illness and requiring adults to wear cloth face masks.
Because camp operators have had to add staffing and cleaning supplies to their budget to comply with new COVID-19 protocols, Raimondo said some of the funds from the federal CARES Act will be distributed to camps.
Another initiative Raimondo announced Monday was summer jobs for youth through the Governor's Workforce Board. The new program, funded by the board, will allow youth ages 16 through 24 to "contribute to the COVID-19 recovery, serve their community, build workplace skills and earn money."
The Rhode Island Department of Health reported six additional fatalities Monday related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The death toll has now reached 851. The number of positive cases in the state is 16,093.
As of Monday, Rhode Island entered its second full week of Phase 2 of reopening the economy and Raimondo said she was looking forward to Phase 3.
"None of it has been easy. We are where we are today because of your hard work," adding that residents have been adhering to social distancing guidelines, hand washing and wearing masks.
More on the Coronavirus in Rhode Island
Despite the number of cases on the downward slope, the governor said the virus is still out there and wants residents to continue following the rules to avoid a potential outbreak.
"We don't want to be one of those states that sees a spike," Raimondo said.
She once again urged people who work in close-contacts jobs, such as salons, barbershops, gyms and child care facilities to go and get a free test.
On Friday she said the asymptomatic testing program will be expanded to include restaurant workers and bus drivers as many residents have expressed fear in going out.
Workers who wish to schedule the free test can do so on the Rhode Island Department of Health website.