As students arrived back to St. John School this week on Tuesday, September 1st, even with masks on, it was evidently clear that they couldn’t hide the enthusiasm and happiness to return. St. John School, like most schools, was closed for over 5 months from March 13th, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
The school is holding in-person learning only this academic year. Principal, Mother Elaine Moorcroft, the school administration and faculty have worked tirelessly over the Summer on COVID-19 mitigation plans, preparing the school for the student’s and staff’s safe return. A detailed re-opening plan was devised and now will be implemented, with recommendations included from the Diocese of Norwich, state guidelines, CT. Department of Education and Connecticut River Area Health District. “Today was a wonderful day – far more than we ever anticipated. The students and teachers were so happy to be back in the classrooms again”, said Mother Elaine.
The school welcomed several new families who chose the school for the in-person model as opposed to a hybrid lesson plan. St. John School’s small class sizes (average of 10 students), allows for ease of social distancing, administering of temperature checks, frequent hand sanitizing and maintainance of the new strict safety standards. Each class remains in it’s cohort for the school day.
Technology, of course, plays a big part in the school day as the morning prayer assembly, held previously in the gymnasium, now takes place via Zoom on the smartboard in each classroom. St. John School detailed in the re-opening plan that they will use a new learning management system (Google Suite). Students will also use Chromebooks from the outset, and in the event, the school needed to transition to a distance learning program, the transition will be seamless. If this were to occur, the school day will continue “as normal” with faculty present in the school, streaming classes to students at home. Mother Elaine Moorcroft, however is quick to point out that the most important goal this year is for safety and to maintain the in-person model for the entire 177 days this year. Day one is now over and the count begins. One thing for sure though, everyone is glad to be back, in person!