HTC showcases distancing efforts at elementary

Holy Trinity Catholic Elementary showcased what the classrooms and cafeteria will look like when school resumes next month. Photos by Katie Scoville/PCC

Pen City Current

WEST POINT – They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

With COVID-19 continuing to alter the upcoming school year, many families may be wondering what classrooms will look like. Will schools rearrange classrooms to maintain social distancing? For Holy Trinity Elementary, the answer is “yes.” The new elementary school is spacious and equipped for social distancing so students can return to school safely.

All classrooms at the elementary have been arranged for social distancing.

On each floor, signs will direct students in and out of the classroom to avoid them running into one another. Distance between desks meets the recommended six-foot distance, and students will be able to keep their materials in their desk drawer to prevent the class from retrieving their supplies numerous times.

Textbooks will be available both in paperback and on iPads. Smart boards, used to enhance the learning experience and display materials on a large screen, are also in every classroom. For a larger class, there are two boards on either side of the classroom, ensuring that the entire class can be taught in one room.

Additionally, all teachers will be required to wear masks unless medically exempt. Mass will be held in the classroom every Wednesday, and only the designated class that recites the readings will be allowed in the church.

During lunch, the periods will be divided into four groups. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten will eat first. The lunch order will then progress by age with fifth and sixth grade eating last. The main cafeteria will seat approximately 40 kids all distanced six feet apart. Larger tables will seat two, and signs will designate where kids can sit at the table. Another smaller cafeteria can fit an additional 15 students. However, this inside configuration isn’t the only option.

“We want them to eat outside as much as possible, weather permitting,” Michael Sheerin, Principal of HTC Elementary, said.

There will be designated areas for students to eat, and each class will come out in staggered intervals. There will also be a trash can and tray drop-off station.

“We will be asking for parent volunteers to monitor the kids to make sure that they are keeping safe in their designated areas,” Sheerin said.

Even with all the protective measures, some families may want to keep their kids home due to additional health concerns. For those families, the option to learn completely online is available.

Because Holy Trinity is utilizing the same programs from last spring (Google Classroom and See Saw), kids will already know how to use them. Parents will be able to watch a live tutorial of the lesson being taught and can learn how to use the program, too.

“Holy Trinity is dedicated to reaching every student, whether in the classroom or online,” Sheerin said.

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