- For the upcoming academic year, eligibility for school-based child nutrition programs will return to pre-pandemic processes.
- RIPTA has resumed bus service for Providence school district students.
- State-wide school calendar here.
- Federal student debt relief is available to certain borrowers
- The Federal Department of Education extended the pause on federal student loan payments and collections through December 31, 2022.
Elementary and Secondary Schools:
- To be eligible for school-based nutrition programs, like free or reduced school lunch, some families will have to complete applications to enroll their children. RIDE has this outreach toolkit that explains program types, eligibility requirements, and outreach strategies.
- National School Lunch program information here.
- COVID-19 Outbreak Response protocols here (last updated August 24, 2022)
- New guidance incudes:
- Quarantine guidance that is limited to those in in high-risk congregate and healthcare settings
- Extra precautions schools can take for faculty and students who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19
- Requests that schools to ask staff and students with COVID-19 symptoms to wear masks and to test,
- Recommendations that sports programs implement testing for higher risk sports such as wrestling, hockey, soccer and football
- Requirements for symptomatic individuals to isolate for 5 days
- New guidance incudes:
- K-12 COVID-19 Data Dashboard available here.
Resources for Students and Parents:
- RIDE has this resource page for special education
- Early childhood resources
- Home visiting resources
- US DOE Factsheet about resources for students with Long COVID-19
- Rebates are currently being issued to those who filed their taxes before August 31, 2022. To find out if someone is eligible, care teams can share this child tax rebate status check. FAQ here.
- Income limits for the Child Care Assistance Program increased from 180% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and ineligibility for enrolled families increased from 225% to 300%. Read more here.
- RI implemented increased reimbursement rates for childcare center providers. More information here.
- Child-care assistance program and Head Start information.
University and Federal Student Loans:
- Rhode Island guarantees in-state tuition for all Rhode Islanders regardless of immigration status. Conditions apply. Conditions apply. More information here.
- Federal student loan repayments are paused through December 31, 2022. More information here. During this time, the loans will have a 0% interest rate and qualifying non-payments will count toward the income-driven repayment plan. The suspension does not apply to private loans, and it will not reduce the overall balance owed.
- The Biden Administration announced on August 24,2022 that it would cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for people who make less than $125,000 and an additional $20,000 of debt forgiveness for those students who received Pell grants.
- Eligible borrowers will automatically have their debt relief applied so long as the US Department of Education has the borrower’s income information.
- If the DOE does not have a persons’ income information, then the borrower can use an application to request the relief. The application is set to open in October and people can sign-up here to receive notifications.
- The US government is encouraging all people to apply, but an estimated 8 million people are expected to receive their relief automatically. Federal Student Aid suggests that borrowers take these steps to prepare for the relief.
- More information here.
The Bottom Line
- Most K-12 schools and childcare programs have returned to normal operating procedures. The pause on federal student debt repayment is not expected to be extended again. New student debt relief is available to eligible borrowers.
Spotlight on non-discrimination:
- Care teams working with children, youths and their families can help uplift key anti-discrimination rights to help protect against discrimination in publicly funded schools.
- Under federal law, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color and national origin, sex, disability, or age. RI also prohibits discrimination based on a student’s (perceived or actual) sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Schools are required to maintain anti-discrimination polices that set out procedures to report discrimination (can be more protective).
- You can help a student who believes they’ve been discriminated against in their school by:
- Helping a student to access their school’s anti-discrimination policy
- Sharing the RI Department of Education’s Civil Rights webpage
- Connecting families to the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights to file a complaint or to the RI American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).