Cranston, R.I. (December 8, 2020) – The National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI) executive committee yesterday voted unanimously for Governor Raimondo to close all Rhode Island school buildings by Friday, December 11 and for a statewide move to distance learning for all students through the end of the common calendar winter break on January 4. Additionally, the committee calls for a coordinated effort by RIDE and RIDOH to ensure all students and staff are tested prior to returning to school buildings in 2021. The Governor at her weekly press conferences urges Rhode Islanders to get tested and frequently indicates that testing is key to the state’s overall strategy. Because public schools are an integral component woven into the fabric of our cities and towns, the NEARI executive committee insists that students, education professionals, and staff must be tested for COVID-19 to further safeguard our communities and curb the spread of this rampant disease. The committee thanks all the superintendents who put the health and safety of our students, educators, and staff first and made the decision to close buildings. The committee encourages other administrators to take this crucial step in keeping the Ocean State safe through the holiday season. The NEARI executive committee is comprised of elected officers and local union presidents representing the 12,000 NEARI members across Rhode Island’s K-12 districts, higher education institutions, state and municipal workers, and retired members.