St. Catherine of Siena details students return to school Monday

Published 12:15 am Thursday, August 13, 2020

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Students of St. Catherine of Siena’s are returning to school Monday with in-person and distance learning options.

Principal Renee Tolin said in a letter to parents and students while she believes in-person learning is the best option academically, it’s also important to give a virtual option to parents.

“We want to be mindful and supportive of all of our families,” the letter stated. “Many have circumstances and concerns that prevent an in-person return, we understand this.”

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Tolin said students who chose to attend in-person will adhere to a 7:15 a.m. morning drop off, using only the circle drive.

Students will need to pass a routine temperature check and mandatory COVID-19 screening before entering.

All students and staff are required to wear a face covering with authorized “mask breaks” throughout the day. Teachers will wear a combination of a mask and face shields when appropriate.

“Masks, gaiters and face coverings do not need to follow any particular dress code guidelines as far as color or pattern, but should be free of any inappropriate images or wording,” Tolin said. “Parents need or provide a mask for their students, however the school will have disposable ones when needed to assist a student.”

The school is also preparing for social distancing by spacing desks out four to six feet apart and having teacher’s transition from room to room as opposed to students.

It is also noted that middle school students will temporarily move to a block schedule having four classes per a day.

As a Catholic school, Tolin noted a few changes will also be made to religious proceedings such as mass and daily prayer.

Students will attend mass biweekly for social distancing. The mass will be closed to the public to minimize contact.

“Announcement and prayer will be led over the school intercom by school administration and or student council officers each morning,” Tolin said.

St. Catherine’s is also deploying advanced cleaning and health protocols.

The school has purchased electrostatic sprayers to use daily in all school areas along with sanitizing high-risk areas.

“Students will be trained the first week of school in proper hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, distancing, covering sneezes and coughs,” Tolin noted. “We will also have scheduled school-wide self-desk cleaning and hand-washing for students.”

The plan wrapped up by explaining the instruction model of the distance learning options. Students participating virtual will experience a combination of live class participation and independent study.

Those students who chose the distance learning option will be tied to the commitment for the full nine-week grading period.

Tolin said she believes this plan will ensure the safety of all students and staff as well as provide the academic and community experience.

“That is what makes being a St. Catherine Wildcat so special.”