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Back to school: in person

Here's a look at how some archdiocesan schools are welcoming back their students

MIAMI | Daily health checks, temperature-taking, physical distancing and mask-wearing: That's how Archdiocese of Miami schools are living the "new normal" of in-person back-to-school.

In keeping with Archbishop Thomas Wenski's statement, issued Sept. 16, 2020, students in Miami-Dade and Broward County Catholic schools began a phased return to class Sept. 23, 2020. The dates and ways of returning have been left to each individual school as long as all students who choose to do so are back in the classroom by Friday, Oct. 2.

Most schools are phasing students back grade by grade, adding more grades in subsequent days. Students in pre-school — grades pre-K2, pre-K3 and pre-K4 —returned to in-person instruction Aug. 19. So did all those attending the Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West.

Parents still have the option of keeping their children home. Teachers will continue to teach in their classrooms and those students who remain at home will continue to view their lessons online, at the same time as their in-school classmates.

Below is a sampling of the phase-in plans of some archdiocesan schools, as well as the percentage of parents in those schools whose children will continue learning from home.

Less than a handful of schools will pursue a hybrid model, where students come to school and stay home on alternate days. For the majority of students, in-school learning will take place five days a week.

Above is a gallery of the first day of in-person classes at some of the archdiocese's Catholic schools. Below is a video from Msgr. Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens outlining some of their safety protocols, many of which are being implemented in all archdiocesan schools. And check out these creative videos from St. Hugh School in Coconut Grove.

This story will be updated in the next few days, as more pictures and information arrive.

Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School, Miami

  • Freshmen (grade 9) returned Sept. 23; sophomores (grade 10) will do so Monday, Sept. 28; juniors (grade 11) will do so Wednesday, Sept. 30; and seniors (grade 12) will return Oct. 2.
  • About 40% of Archbishop Carroll's parents have chosen to continue online-only learning.
  • All students who choose on-campus learning will be doing so five days a week.

Blessed Trinity School, Virginia Gardens

  • Grades K-2 returned Sept. 23; grades 3-5 will do so Sept. 28; and grades 6-8 on Sept. 30.
  • About 25% of Blessed Trinity's parents have opted for online learning.

Little Flower School, Hollywood

  • Grades K-2 started Sept. 23, grades 3-5 will begin Sept. 28, and grades 6-8 will begin Sept. 30.
  • The school will be celebrating the feast of its patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, Oct. 1 with a livestream Mass, with St. Therese "herself" visiting the school during the Mass.
  • About 70% of Little Flower's parents will be sending their students to campus. Parents were given the choice between brick-and-mortar and online instruction five days a week.

Mary Help of Christians, Parkland

  • Grades K-2 returned Sept. 23; grades 3-5 will do so Sept. 28; and grades 6-8 on Sept. 30.
  • Approximately 75% of students will be on campus and 25% will be learning online.

Nativity School, Hollywood

  • Grades K-2 started Sept. 23; grades 3-5 will start Sept. 28; and grades 6-8 on Oct 1.
  • About 30% of parents have chosen to remain with virtual instruction, 70% on site.

Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, Miami

  • Freshmen with last names A-J returned Sept. 23. As part of the transition, half of each grade is coming to the school each day through Oct. 2, while virtual instruction is offered concurrently to other students.
  • When fully implemented Oct. 5, this hybrid learning model will mean the school is divided into two cohorts. Because Our Lady of Lourdes works on a rotating block schedule, the Blue cohort (last names A-J) will report to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the other students learn virtually (and concurrently) from home. The White Cohort (last names K-Z) will report to school on Thursdays and Fridays, while other students learn virtually (and concurrently) from home. All students will engage in virtual instruction on Wednesdays.

Our Lady of Lourdes School, Miami

  • The school is phasing in one team at a time, oldest to youngest. Each group comes to school for a half day, so that parents, staff and students can practice the new arrival/dismissal procedures and so the students can familiarize themselves with the safety guidelines. While each group is on campus, the other groups continue to follow a fully virtual class schedule.
  • Grades 6-8 started Sept. 23; grades 3-5 return Thursday, Sept. 24; and grades K-2 return Sept. 28, with all grades back on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
  • About 67% of parents have chosen in campus instruction, and 23% online. All students who have opted to return to campus will attend school five days a week.

Our Lady of the Lakes School, Miami Lakes

  • Grades K-2 started Sept. 23, grades 3-5 on Sept. 28, and grades 6-8 on Oct. 1.
  • About 80% of parents selected on campus learning, and 20% online.

St. Andrew School, Coral Springs

  • St. Andrew welcomed students back in two phases, first grades K- 4 on Sept. 24 then grades 5-8 on Sept. 30. "It is great to see our kids again, to see how they have grown, how they have changed and to see their excitement when they saw their friends face to face and their teachers," said the school's guidance counselor, Francheska Greene.

St. Brendan High School, Miami

  • Freshmen (grade 9) are returning to campus Sept. 23-Sept. 25. On Sept. 23, only students with last names A-L reported to school. On Sept. 24, it will be M-Z and on Sept. 25, it will be A-L again, while the rest of the grade levels continue with virtual learning.
  • On Sept. 28, all students (grades 9-12) with last names ending in A-L will return. On Sept. 29, all students with last names ending in M-Z will return.
  • All students will alternate blended learning, one day virtual and one day physical. Those students that selected to only participate in virtual learning will continue to learn from home.
  • St. Brendan is using this hybrid or blended model in order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
  • About a quarter of the students have opted to continue with online-only learning.

St. Gregory, Plantation

  • Grades K-2 returned Sept. 23; grades 3 and 4 will do so Sept. 28; grades 5 and 6 will return Sept. 30; and grades 7 and 8 will return Oct. 2.
  • About 30% of St. Gregory's students have opted to continue learning from home.
  • The school's K-8 classrooms have been equipped with the latest technology. We have updated our Internet cabling has been updated and electrical outlets have been installed in order to ceiling-mount state-of-the-art Poly Studio X50 all-in-one video bars. These video cameras allow the students at home to see and hear their teacher in the classroom. Teachers will be able to broadcast their Clear Touch board to their students, allowing them to visually engage in lessons as they would physically in the classroom.   

St. Mark School, Southwest Ranches

  • Grades K–2 returned Sept. 23; grades 3–5 return Sept. 28; and grades 6–8 return Sept. 30.
  • About 55% of students will be on-campus Monday through Friday and 45% will continue learning from home.

St. Mary's Cathedral School, Miami

  • Grades K-2 are back Sept. 23; grades 3-5 return Sept. 28; and grades 6-8 on Thursday, Oct. 1.
  • About 39% of St. Mary's Cathedral School students will continue with virtual instruction.
  • The students participating via virtual learning will be following the same schedule as the on-campus students with some opportunity for independent learning where appropriate. The school is using Google Meet as its virtual conferencing platform since it uses the G-Suite for Education including Google Classroom, Email, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Jamboard.

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