With their masks on and temperatures checked, the students at Saint Joseph Catholic School made their ways toward the doors for the first day of school Wednesday morning.
Principal Autumn Helland was excited to have her kids back in the building.
"I’m really looking forward to having the kids back and I just feel like this community is so supportive and we all want our kids in school," Helland stated on the first day. "I’m looking forward to seeing that our plan is successful, and I want to prove that we can do this, if we do the right things and we follow our guidelines. I think that it’s totally possible for us to be successful and not have a corona(virus) outbreak or any major illness that will cause an outbreak."
The school currently has 103 students enrolled, and four students have chosen to take the route of virtual learning.
"Everyone, getting out of the car was excited. Jumping out with their new shoes and getting ready for their temperatures. We’ve been communicating with parents all summer. I think that parents in turn have been telling their kids what to expect," Helland said. "I really think that they’re just happy to be here and get on with their lives in a normal way with friends and support and teachers. I feel like we need them as much as they need us. I was getting kids out of cars this morning, and I started feeling a little bit emotional because it’s just been so long and they’ve changed so much."
The last day students were in the building was March 4. Now, SJCS is taking precautions and sanitizing the building to combat COVID-19.
"What we’re gonna do is, they all have to wear masks inside the building, but outside where air is circulating, they can wear the face shields. The face shields were added like last week. We decided let’s do face shields outside just so that the students can interact just a little bit more," Helland explained as fourth grade participated in P.E.
SJCS is attempting to take any precaution that will keep the kids learning in school.
"We’re being very restrictive right now just to see what happens and just to kind of see what our success rate is. I told parents in March we were scared to walk out of our houses, but now we know that we can if we take the proper safety precautions. I feel like if things go well, maybe we can take step forward. We would never jeopardize anyone's safety," Helland said. "Right now our specials teachers are coming to classrooms ... If we’re successful, then maybe into the nine weeks, the next semester then we’ll can say okay, we can take them to those classes. We’ve just been urging everybody. It takes the entire community. We’re just asking families to be careful about where they go. Just so we can keep the building open because that’s what we all want. We all want our kids to be in school."
Additionally, the Daily Light was not allowed inside of the school building due to COVID-19 safety precautions.