Back in session: St. John’s Jesuit begins classes Monday

Students head back to the building for in-person classes for the first time since March.
Published: Aug. 2, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This school year comes with a long list of new school rules for students at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy.

As public schools in Toledo will begin the year virtually, St. John’s plan allowed students and parents to choose a real-time online attendance option or in-person classes. Chris Knight, the school’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer says 12% of the student body will begin classes online, with the possibility of all students returning to virtual learning as needed.

“We heard overwhelmingly from parents and students that they really want to be together in the building, and we feel that is where our experience is at its best,” says Knight.

Among the new health guidelines, all students will have their temperature taken every day before entering the building, and will not be permitted inside if it exceeds 100 degrees.

Social distancing is a priority in the classrooms, chapel, hallways, and the cafeteria. Masks will be worn at all times by students and staff, except when eating lunch.

The school’s medical advisor, Dr. Kris Brickman, says any spread of the virus would most likely come from outside the school, and the safest place for students during the year will be in the building.

“It won’t be if they test positive, they will test positive, that’s going to occur, we’ve had it during the summer, we have a very strict set of guidelines,” says Brickman, who mentions that if students were not in a controlled environment like the school, they’d be visiting friends and others outside the home.

If a student does test positive for COVID-19, officials say families of other students sitting in the immediate six-foot radius of that student will be notified, with their child also required to quarantine and attend classes online for 14 days.

“We have created protocols and processes in how they distance themselves in classes, what they wear in classes, how they navigate the hallways, etcetera,” explains Dr. Brickman. “So that we can minimize any of that exposure, and as long as we minimize that exposure, we’ve kept the rest of the students safe, and the faculty.”

The school’s campus also allows for outdoor socially distanced classes and school masses when weather permitting.

The chapel has been spaced to limit the number of students down to 171 per mass, instead of the regular 900 at maximum capacity.

Father Brian Lehane, J.S., says the campus ministry and community service is an integral part of the school’s faith-based learning. All communion distributions and other religious events will also follow protocols set by the Catholic Diocese.

“In a religious school especially we’re able to pray together and to process our experiences in light of the scriptures, in light of prayer,” says Lehane.

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