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Face-to-face classes will commence in the fall at Father Marquette

Staff at Father Marquette feel confident about safely opening their classrooms on September 8
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 3:50 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) -

While the summer season never lasts long enough, local students and teachers have much to look forward to as they get back to school and beyond. Principal, Jessica Betz at Father Marquette Catholic Academy says guidelines for reopening are being finalized and will be sent out at the beginning of August.

"The teachers and I and the Diocese of Marquette have been working diligently putting those together and using other resources of course like the roadmap to reopening Michigan schools," Mrs. Betz declared.

Betz says she and the staff at Father Marquette feel confident about safely opening their classrooms on September 8 for face-to-face instruction five days a week.

"Each student can be here every day. We've capped out class sizes at 15 and this allows all of our students to be inside of the classroom and still be 6 feet apart," Betz announced.

If we can maintain our current phase, teachers and students could even remove their masks in certain situations, according to FMCA Middle School Language Arts Teacher, June Link.

"If they're far enough away from the students during phase 5 we'll be able to remove our masks to talk to them at the front of our classroom. Right now I have my desks arranged where my spacing is far enough away to allow for the CDC guidelines. So that will give the chance for the kids to see me and to interact a little bit more fully than with a mask," Mrs. Link asserted.

Of course there are many other facets of the school day to consider. There's the matter of recess, lunchtime, bathroom breaks, trips to the water fountain and more.

“There’s a lot to think about. And we’re going to be ready. We’re prepared. For example at lunchtime, students are going to eat in their classrooms, at their desks in their own space. Just to ensure that safety. When they go out to recess, the individual teacher will be taking that individual class out to recess. We want to keep the classes separate so that they’re not intermingling in case anybody does get sick,” Betz reasoned.

Students will wear masks for restroom breaks and there'll be a limited number of students allowed in those restrooms.

“One big aspect that we will focus on too is teaching our students what to do and what practices are necessary to keep ourselves safe. So that’s hand-washing and distancing. We love to hug each other but we just can’t hug right now. So it’s those types of things that we’ll have to teach and remind our students as well,” Betz stated.

In the end, the school year may look a little different but at least at Father Marquette, the curriculum will still go on and students will still engage in valuable interpersonal interaction and experiences.

If for some reason students are sent home for online learning, Father Marquette has a one-to-one Chromebook program, which means each student is assigned their own device.

“A lot of us feel very comfortable with that online platform and we can easily move into that format as needed from the health department as we go forward,” Link said. By the way, despite the smaller classrooms, there’s still time to enroll your student. “If you’re interested in Father Marquette I encourage you to reach out to our office. We can give tours and of course we’re welcoming to all families, all denominations, all faiths and our doors are wide open. So come and check us out and see who we are,” Betz boasted.

However, Betz advised if you’re considering FMCA, you should act fast.

“We do have room in some of our classes. Our kindergarten class is currently full. One of our pre-K classes is full. Our eighth grade class is full. And some of our other classes are getting close to full,” Betz warned.

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