East Boston Central Catholic School (EBCCS) has began with ‘in-person’ learning for some students and ‘remote’ learning for others.
EBCCS Principal Robert Casaletto said Eastie’s remaining Parochial School has two reopening plans that are based on multiple meetings with City of Boston Health and Safety Chief Marty Martinez after constant review of the COVID-19 numbers in Eastie and the surrounding communities.
“Ninety percent of our student body currently reside in a “Red Zone” community,” said Casaletto. “The safety and well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff is our first priority and with that in mind we decided to reopen our Early Learning Center (ELC) and Kindergarten classrooms serving 3-5 year olds, for ‘in-person’ learning all five days. We will limit the class sizes to 9 students per room with one teacher. Families can elect to have their children remain home and independent work will be sent to them.”
Casaletto said the school purchased portable sinks and hand sanitizers, room air purifiers, table sneeze guards, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and an electrostatic sprayer.
“We have created individual supply boxes for student activities, purchased PPE, and added reminder signage all over our building to promote social distancing, mask wearing and proper hygiene,” he said. “We will require that parents complete a self-screening web form each morning before their children arrive.”
The school also created a “Care Room” in the event a student or faculty member becomes sick while in the building with disposable gowns, safety glasses, gloves, and KN-95 masks.
While ELC and Kindergarten students will be in the building for in-person learning, grades 1-8 will start the school year with a ‘Remote Learning Model’.
“Students will ZOOM into daily lessons Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.to 2:00 p.m.,” said Casaletto. “We purchased classroom cameras with microphones and speakers, webcams, interactive digital display boards, chrome books for students, and a ZOOM license to facilitate remote learning. This technology will also allow us to switch from remote learning to a ‘Hybrid’ learning option as soon as the numbers come down. Parents will also have the option to remain remote if and when we switch to Hybrid.”
Casaletto added that he and his staff hope to be able to eventually offer an in-person learning option for all EBCCS students when it is safe to do so. “Our staff has been working all summer preparing for this,” said Casaletto. “We held weekly COVID Response Team meetings, offered weekly check-in zoom meetings for every grade that consisted of wellness checks, socializing time, academic support, and provided regular updates to families.”