Above: Gov. Gina Raimondo, with her husband Andrew Moffit, takes questions from children from around the state Thursday. Pool photo: David DelPoio / Providence Journal
By Elizabeth F. McNamara
Gov. Gina Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit were back for their second press conference for kids at the State House Thursday, offering answers, doling out advice and urging kids to ask for help if they were struggling.
They ticked through a number of questions, including whether or not summer camp would happen, posed by a Providence 4th grader.
“I’m not sure how camps will be different, but they will be different,” Raimondo said. “We are only going to be able to get together in small groups this summer, 10 kids, 15 kids. And we’re looking at more virtual camps.”
She said any real gatherings of people would involve lots of hand washing, taking temperatures, and face masks, but added, “I hear you that you’re going to want your camps and we’re going to do our best.”
A Providence 7th grader asked about school in September, whether it would be “normal.”
“It depends on what you think is normal. You’ll be going back to school, I hope,” said Raimondo. “But we will have to be washing our hands a lot more. We might need to make changes to the way we have lunch and breakfast.”
There will be masks and lots more cleaning, too, she said. “It’s not going to be the same old school…. We have to be flexible.”
In answer to a Pawtucket 12th grader’s question about graduation, Raimondo said, “This is not the senior year anybody wanted. Unfortunately, most of the end of year activities are not going to happen. Here’s the good news: we’re going to come up with new ways to celebrate you.”
Those will include things like virtual proms and a televised graduation event June 15 for the whole state.
While big events won’t be possible, she did say by June maybe it will be possible to meet in groups of 20 or fewer, “so you can be together with your friends.”
An 8th grader from Central Falls asked when we will have a vaccine. “The best guess is that’s about one year away,” Raimondo said. “But it’s not going to be like this for a year. We’re not going to be stuck in our houses for a year.”
A preschooler from South Kingstown asked why she has to wear a mask.
The governor acknowledged “it’s a little weird to wear them,” but said they were an important tool in stopping the spread of the virus.
To the Warwick 2nd grader’s question about if it was OK to make signs to cheer people up, Raimondo responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” She invited the second grader to make and send a sign to her so she could put it in her window at the State House. Then she encouraged everyone, children and adults alike, to do one thing a day to cheer someone up.