Many public and private schools across Rhode Island cancelled classes for today, as the snow storm gathered steam on Tuesday afternoon. In a rare move, many colleges and universities also shut down, including the Rhode Island School of Design and Rhode Island College. One notable exception, Brown University, cancelled only those classes scheduled before 10 a.m.
Providence school officials plan to start classes as scheduled Thursday, despite the first flakes of a major winter snowstorm. Like many public schools, Providence reopens for the first time Thursday after winter vacation.
District officials say they will watch for an afternoon weather update before finalizing a decision about Friday. Families and employees will likely receive notifications from the district on Thursday afternoon.
Rhode Islanders are digging out of the first snow storm of 2014. Six to 10 inches of snow fell Thursday into Friday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a winter chill advisory for the region as wind chills are expected to reach -15, with a high around 14 degrees. Forecasters predict the snow will taper off around 10:00am, winds will pick up reaching 20 mph.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he’s pleased with how the state handled the first snow storm of the year. With crews out keeping roads clear, his concern now is the bitter cold that’s gripped the state.
Students plan to testify at the Providence School Board on Tuesday against a proposal to shut down Alvarez High School. The board is considering converting the South Providence building into a middle school, as the city braces for a jump in middle school enrollment.
As a high school, Alvarez has struggled with a history of low test scores and is currently undergoing a state-ordered school overhaul. Still, senior Ruth Presendieu says closing it down would damage the one thing the small school has going for it, a strong sense of community.
Citing dropping student enrollment, Warwick public school officials are recommending the closure of Veterans High School and two junior high schools, Gorton and Aldrich. If approved, the Providence Journal reports the plan would leave the district with two high schools and two middle schools.
Warwick Superintendent Richard D’Agostino says Warwick has seen student population fall from a peak of 19,500 in the late 1960s to just 9,300 students today. The numbers are expected to continue dropping by about 1 percent each year.