St. John Catholic School is one of the few Kentucky schools holding in-person classes, and so far everything is going well, said Principal Dan Mardell.
St. John’s success is a tribute to the school, church and staff having a plan in place for in-person learning as far back as few months ago, before anyone really knew if school was going to take place, Mardell said.
“We had a committee that had positions, physicians, nurses, teachers, parents, and we did a whole healthy at school based on what the governor and CDC recommended,” said Mardell.
St. John is a small school, housing K-8 grades with only 135 total students, which is one reason Mardell says that they have had success staying open so far.
To limit any potential spread of COVID-19, St. John has taken it’s middle school aged students, grades 6-8, and taken them off-campus completely and have them attending their classes at Cardome, which is owned by St. John.
On the St. John main campus, students are broken into pods of grades K-2, 3-4, and then grade 5 all on its own. Each pod group is housed in a different building on campus and do not intermingle with each other, even during recess, he said.
During recess, each pod group has a designated area to play in, limiting any potential or unwarranted spread, the principal said.
St. John does offer a virtual learning option, but Mardell said that’s only if it is necessary, such as children with pre-exisiting conditions or contact tracing quarantine.
St. John does not have a nurse on campus, but the school does regular temperature checks before students exit their vehicles, Mardell said.
“When they come in, in the morning, they are not even allowed to get out of their car. We check them in car,” Mardell said.
On top of isolating students, St. John has taken preemptive cleaning measures to make sure that everything that comes into contact with students is sterilized.
“Bathrooms have to be sprayed down three times a day, desks washed before and after lunch, teachers squirt them (with hand sanitizer),” said Mardell.
Everyone is on board with the plan and helpful to make sure that in-person learning is successful, Mardell said. Parents, especially, have been helpful in making sure their child gets the proper healthcare as needed, he said.
“A lot of our parents, we’re lucky, that a lot of them want them here,” he said. “They have been very supportive of what we ask.”
Ian Teasley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.