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At St. Xavier High School, it's (almost) business as usual

Posted at 5:16 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 18:58:31-05

CINCINNATI — Life is almost normal in Ron Weisbrod’s American history classroom at St. Xavier High School. His students come to class masked and wipe down their desks at regular intervals, but they learn in person five days a week.

Even more remarkable: They’ve been doing it without interruption since the school year started on Aug. 17.

“If you had told me that in August, I wouldn’t have believed you,” principal Terry Tyrrell said Friday afternoon. “I’m very proud of our community, starting with our students.”

Some cases of COVID-19 have materialized among students and staff during the fall semester, but Tyrrell said none of them had come from inside the building. The school got a summer makeover to reduce the risk of anyone inside transmitting COVID-19.

To start: St. Xavier requires all students and staff to wear masks inside the building, which received an air filtration update to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Signs in the hallways mark six-foot spaces, and the cafeteria is decked out in plexiglass.

It’s been a lot of work, but Tyrrell said he believes his students stay happier, healthier and more engaged with their education when they attend classes in person.

If he has a choice and the student body stays healthy, he hopes not to go back to the remote-learning model of the spring.

“We still supported our students but it was over a phone call or a Zoom call versus that in-person connection,” he said. “That's just a huge difference in supporting our kids."