Prairie Catholic announces fall classes will be face-to-face, five days a week

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By Correne Martin

 

Prairie Catholic School announced July 15, its intentions to offer in-person classes five days a week this fall—in contrast to the hybrid of virtual and face-to-face education that local public schools are considering in light of COVID-19.

Two days after the official reopening plan was released, Principal Brenda Spindler  had already heard from 15 potentially new students transferring from public school, due to the full-time, in-person setup.

She said classes will be capped once full, so interested parents should inquire as soon as possible.

Classes will begin Aug. 24.

Spindler said the reopening plan was arranged after careful consideration from La Crosse Diocese, Department of Public Instruction and health department regulations and guidelines.

“We will be taking temperatures of staff and students. Classrooms are socially distanced and hallways will be running in one direction,” she explained. “Students in middle school will be wearing masks around the building. Staff will be wearing a mask or shield at all times.”

Teachers will be equipped with bleach to spray in between classes, and playgrounds will be bleached once a day. Teachers will re-teach handwashing, hygiene and healthy practices. An isolation room will be available if someone exhibits COVID-19 symptoms and needs a place to be until they can go home.

The morning routine at Prairie Catholic will look different, as the front two doors of the school will now be turned into an entry and exit. Drop-off for the breakfast program and homework central can begin as early as 7:30 a.m. 

In the afternoon, staff will bring the children outside, as parents and guardians are asked not to enter the building unless picking up for an appointment or because of an ill child.

The school will not have volunteers this year, Spindler noted. The library, which was run by volunteers previously, will be used sparingly.

“Field trips have all been canceled until further notice,” she said. 

Also, there will be no tables used in the kindergarten and older classrooms this year. These have been changed to individual desks for all these students. All supplies will be used individually, as sharing will not be encouraged. 

Mass will be part of the Tuesday/Thursday school day routine for students in first grade and up from the beginning of the year, while the younger students will start attending Mass in October.

This fall, Prairie Catholic’s 3K will attend class five mornings a week, and 4K will be split into two parts with each attending four half days. Kindergarten will go five full days a week, just like their older counterparts.  

Spindler acknowledged that, because of the unstable nature of the coronavirus pandemic, things could change. However, she said, the school will continue to be diligent about its plans, ensuring the safety of everyone at Prairie Catholic.

“It’s going to be a different year,” she stated, “but we’re looking forward to getting back to school in-person as best as we possibly can.”

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