CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Five days of instruction in school was the plan for the upcoming school year in West Virginia’s 24 Catholic schools with most student returns scheduled for Sept. 8, the same day for public school starts.
“It’s going to be an interesting year for sure,” said Dr. Carol Templeton, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic High School in Huntington.
“We’re ready for it.”
At St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic High School, families have been weighing whether to go with the five days of in-person instruction or a blended model utilizing online options.
“I would say the vast majority of our school community wants to come back in person,” Dr. Templeton told MetroNews.
“There are some families, for whatever reason, maybe it’s underlying health concerns or they’re just apprehensive to return, there are some families that would like an option of a virtual learning environment.”
The Department of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced school plans last week which were sent to families and students for review.
The plans were designed, said Mary Ann Deschaine, Catholic School superintendent, to meet local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines while addressing the holistic needs of students.
“Because we are Christ-centered, every choice we make and plans we develop are prayerfully made with our students’ success and well-being in mind,” Deschaine said in a statement.
“Our learning environment will always focus on the social, emotional, physical, spiritual and mental well-being of each child.”
Plans were subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions locally throughout the school year.
“We do have the ability to be in person and virtual, if needed, but our curriculum standards will still be maintained,” Dr. Templeton said.
At times during the academic year, some students may be required to quarantine.
“When these circumstances occur, they will have to have that option to switch to virtual so that their education can continue seamlessly without any disruption,” she said.
When schools closed in March, St. Joseph students started using Google’s G Suite tools for their classes. High school students have also utilized Zoom. Plans for the fall are similar, if necessary.
“Students are very familiar with our remote learning system,” Templeton said.
Some St. Joseph students, those enrolled in Advanced Placement or dual credit courses, will be getting going before Sept. 8. The start date for those students in those classes is Aug. 24, the same day the fall semester begins at Marshall University.