Excitement and anticipation were in the air as more than 340 Saint Bernard School students returned to campus. After several months of planning and preparation by the administration and faculty, students resumed in-person learning for the first time since March.
To make students and parents feel comfortable, Head of School Don Macrino, and Communications Coordinator Shari Marderness created an informational video showing families what to expect when they arrived at school.
Enhanced safety procedures start before students enter the building with a new drop-off protocol and two entrances to alleviate congestion. Inside, everyone is required to stop at one of the automated temperature scanning stations for a temperature check before going to their first period class. One-way foot and stairwell traffic, signs reminding of the need for social distancing, hand sanitizer stations (many donated by the Class of 2020), socially distanced classrooms, block scheduling and additional lunch waves were among the changes that greeted students on their first day.
“Saint Bernard School feels like the safest school in the area,” junior Markum Puhlick said. “Every precaution is being taken but none of it sacrifices what makes SB’s great.”
We believe that the richest experience happens when students receive in-person instruction and interact with their peers. When that is not possible, families can choose the virtual, synchronous learning option and login to their classes remotely. All classrooms are equipped with a camera and microphone. Distance learners have access to the teacher by e-mail and are encouraged to direct questions or concerns to the teacher at any time. Students can discontinue virtual learning and return to the classroom with prior notification to the school counseling department.
“Great first week. The kids look so happy and I know my son is,” parent Michelle Kirk said.
Mr. Macrino offered words of encouragement to the Saint Bernard community.
“We are proud of how our teachers, students and staff are adapting to this very unprecedented time in education,” he said. “The start of this school year certainly looks and feels a bit different, but we will continue to get through this together.”
By Kim Hodges