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Archdiocese of Cincinnati releases back-to-school guidelines for Catholic schools

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 19:55:23-04

CINCINNATI — Students at Cincinnati-area Catholic schools will spend the 2020-’21 school year observing the same safety precautions as their public school counterparts — masking, temperature screening, social distancing and more.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati on Friday released its first set of guidelines for nearby schools, including St. Xavier and Archbishop Moeller high schools.

Administrators at both said they’d been working with experts and church leaders for much of the summer, hoping to develop plans that would cover any eventuality by the time August arrived.

RELATED: Here's what 54 local school districts are planning for back-to-school safety this fall

“That’s the challenge,” St. Xavier principal Terry Tyrell said. “None of us can predict the future.”

His school will allow students’ families to decide whether they go back to school in person or remain at home, where they can continue to learn remotely. Students who attend face-to-face classes will be required to wear masks at all times, as will teachers.

According to St. Xavier’s complete back-to-school plan, the school “cannot guarantee that six feet of distance will always be able to be maintained,” but will space out desks, assign seats and enforce reduced capacity in common areas such as the cafeteria.

At Archbishop Moeller, president Marshall Hydzu plans for all students to return in person, five days a week, but will provide a virtual option for families that have reservations about face-to-face classes. Moeller students will also wear masks at all times, and staff members will take their temperatures as they enter the school building.

“We created a playbook,” Hydzu said. “We used experts in everything from medicine to law to education to really be a part of those task forces. We’re really excited about how we’re going back to school.”

Both school heads said they planned to closely monitor state and local health guidelines throughout the year. The plans they work on all summer could still change.

“We’re going to have to live it out as well,” Tyrell said. “One of the big messages I’m giving to our entire community is, ‘We’re going to need to be flexible.’”

Read the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's complete set of guidelines for Catholic school leaders:
Principals COVID Guidance.pdf by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

It's hard to know what to expect this year as kids, families and teachers prepare to go back to school. Nothing is certain in a pandemic, but hopefully we can make going back to school a little bit easier.

Click here to find the back-to-school safety plan for 54 school districts in our area.

If you need to contact your local school district, find phone numbers and websites here.

Find out more here about what is being done to keep your kids safe at school.