St. John Paul II Catholic High School resumes in person classes Monday

Catholic schools in Huntsville welcoming students back

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In Madison County public school students will be learning virtually the first nine weeks.

The 2020/2021 school year starts Monday for St. John Paul II Catholic High School, and all but 10 percent of students chose to learn in person.
The 2020/2021 school year starts Monday for St. John Paul II Catholic High School, and all but 10 percent of students chose to learn in person. (Source: WAFF)

But what about the private schools? Since the start of the pandemic more than 140 catholic schools nationwide have shut their doors.

However, students and staff at St. John Paul II Catholic High School will be walking through the doors on Monday.

Temperature checks, arrows on the ground for walking and of course face coverings, like everywhere else, school life will be different at St. John Paul II Catholic High School this year.

AP World History teacher, and dean of student life, Michelle Whetstone showed us her classroom.

Normally students can sit on bean bags and at group tables. But they will be starting off the year in traditional desks- six feet a part.

“They will be picking their seat and they will be in a seating chart and the reason for that is to help us with contact tracing with cohorts,” Whetstone said.

Headmaster Jeremiah Russell tells us having in person classes is critical since they are a private school. If they just offered virtual learning…

“Parents would have a hard time with their work, but they would also have to decide if they want to pay the tuition with just an online option,” Russell said.

Russell tells us he’s grateful the virus has not had a major impact on enrollment.

“When the public schools in the county decided to start the year remote, we did have quite a bit of inquiry into our school since they knew we were offering in person option,” he explained.

Whetstone says she’s excited to welcome her students back, but not with open arms.

“It’s going to look a little different, but what makes us a falcon is the same. We’re still here to learn, we’re still here to really make sure they get the high school experience,” she said.

Russell tells us only about three dozen students have chosen the virtual option. And they are still accepting new students.

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