Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School students in PreKindergarten to Grade 5 are back on campus.
The students returned for in-person learning after the school received approval from the California Department of Public Health and the Monterey County Health Department. Students returned in a phased approach, starting with Kindergarten on October 16 and concluding with Grade 5 on November 2. PreK has been learning on campus since September after getting the OK from state and local officials.
When students arrived on campus, the first order of business was to check their temperatures. Then students were escorted one by one to their classrooms, where they were shown how to use the touchless handwashing stations just outside the doors. Inside, students found their desks and began unpacking their school supplies, joyfully said hi to their friends and teachers, and started turning in work to be posted on the walls.
The phased reopening gave the school time to "ensure that our carefully developed protocols are effectively put into daily practice," Head of School Meg Bradley said in a letter to parents. You can review Catalina's comprehensive "Returning to Campus" plan for a full list of health and safety measures taken.
Some measures are most evident in the classrooms, where desks are arranged 6 feet apart, and each one has a tall, clear plastic shield. Classes are divided into two cohorts, blue and yellow, each in different rooms. TV-like DTEN boards beam one cohort into the classroom of the other, along with students who opted to continue learning from home—ensuring everyone feels connected to their class.
"I cannot begin to tell you the joy I feel to have PreK–Grade 5 back on campus for in-person learning," Head of Lower and Middle School Christy Pollacci said. "I smile on lunch duty, as I have the privilege of watching Grade 4 eat and socialize on their yoga mats with physical distancing. They never stop talking. I must say, no one seems to mind masks or physical distancing—everyone is just so happy to be at school."
Grades 6-8 remain in distance learning. To stay on top of developments, bookmark our Fall 2020 page.