HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Unlike every public school in Madison County, St. John Paul II Catholic High School will not be starting the school year with entirely remote learning.
Students were welcomed back to classes for the first time since March on Monday.
But, not the entire student body will be back on campus until next week. Monday will be used as an orientation day for new students, then 25% of the student body will come each day for the rest of the week, leading up to everybody being back to start the second week of school.
Headmaster Jeremiah Russell says masks will be required all day for JPII students and everyone will have their temperature checked and screened for symptoms as they walk in the doors.
Russell said over the summer they formed a reopening committee made up of various school stakeholders and rebuilt the school day from the ground up, including how they do Mass.
In the past, mass would happen every Wednesday for the whole student body. Now, each grade will go to mass once a month to ensure social distancing.
Even though the public schools in Madison County did opt for the all virtual option, Russell said it is important for JPII to focus on an in-person Catholic education
“It’s better academically, you cant replace face to face instruction and I think the social and emotional well being of students is achieved in person,” he said. “It’s hard to replace that brick and mortar school.”
JPII also offered a virtual learning option to families, Russell said about 10% of students did decide to take that option.
With all of the precautions being taken, Russell said he is confident this is a safe learning environment for students.