By DSJ Catholic Schools
It is safe to say that the rapid spread of COVID-19 caught us all by surprise. Never could we have imagined the wide-ranging repercussions we would face due to a pandemic.
Each of us has had to change our daily lives to reduce the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of loved ones and those in our community.
The Diocese of San José and its schools have been nimble in adjusting to distance learning in March 2020 and then in the fall of the same year to providing its student and families the option of either in-person distance learning. Under the guidance of the Department of Catholic Schools and their partnership with local health officials, our schools have welcomed students onto campus while abiding by the needed health and safety protocols.
All schools in the Diocese of San José school system have implemented the following health and safety measures:
- Healthy screening upon entry to the school
- Drive through drop-off
- Directional signage to avoid students being in close proximity of each other
- Separated desks to ensure social distancing
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Assigned lunch and recess areas
- Limited amount of students allowed in the restroom at one time
- Assigned cohorts
St. Leo Classroom – St. Victor Sanitation Station – St. Leo Hallway
Before stepping foot onto school grounds, students were shown the new hallway signs, hand sanitizing stations, and separated workspaces via video calls. When it was time to welcome back the students, students returned slowly, a few classes at a time. This allowed our schools to thoroughly walk through the new guidelines and protocols with each class, and explain why these actions needed to be taken.
Aside from the school atmosphere looking different, the way classes and school events are hosted have had to change as well. Everything is now being hosted virtually, and many students and parents are missing the day-to-day interactions.
Our Diocesan schools are putting in extra efforts to maintain community engagement. Parents have expressed how much they miss socializing with one another before and after school. School staff members have put efforts into maintaining that engagement with their beloved parents by sending weekly updates, holding virtual talks with parents, and sending instructional videos as needed.
Our schools have an average of over 50% percent of their students and families wanting to do in-person learning. We attribute this to the strong connection the schools have with their families.
The Diocese, schools, students, and parents remain hopeful for the future, as everyone continues to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 while, standing together in hope as a family in Christ.