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The Board of Canvassers in Narragansett has concluded that the way mail-in ballot applications for the primary election were provided through the Maury Loontjens Library wouldn’t change the election’s outcome.

The board voted Oct. 13 to end an informal inquiry it began after Town Council primary candidate Steven Ferrandi questioned the validity of mail-in ballot applications from the library. Ferrandi took his complaint first to the state Board of Elections, which directed that the local board look into the matter.

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Although Election Day is still weeks away, voting begins this week as unprecedented numbers of mail ballots arrive in mailboxes and Oct. 14 starts early in-person voting.

Local elections officials say they are swamped with many tasks to ensure orderly voting while the fear-laced atmosphere of COVID-19 has produced greater demand for mail ballots and the threat of long lines to vote in person.

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Narragansett Elementary School and Kingston Hill Academy are among the tops in the country, both being named as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education selected the schools, along with Charlestown Elementary School, as three of just 367 schools nationwide for the honor, which measures each school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

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South County schools opened this week, but with increased preparations, and a delayed start among many changes educators, parents and students are confronting.

Apprehension combined with excitement and commitment are some of the feelings parents, students, teachers, school staff and administrators talked about to The Independent as school doors opened and students filled hallways.

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Throughout South County, another squad in the community COVID-response team has popped up: organizations that reach out to community members facing financial or mental health hardships.

The Independent has provided periodic stories about groups, organizations and businesses filling needs in the community. Their sponsors often say the motto “We’re in this together” is what draws supporters and volunteers into action.