Class is back in session at St. John Paul II High School in Hyannis. The private catholic school just reopened with in-person learning.
Administrators said it was crucial to get students up to speed on expectations and guidelines on social distancing so there were no surprises on day one.
“We did a lot of communications with our families, a lot of communication with our students so they knew coming in what to expect. They understood, yes they’d be back at school, but it would be very different,” said Mona Lisa Valentino, principal at St. John Paul II High School.
That different look consists of one-way hallways, staggered lockers and everyone wearing a mask, unless inside the cafeteria where they have built partitions so students can take them off to have lunch. Students are also spaced at least five feet apart in all classrooms.
“We have hand sanitizer in every hallway, in every classroom; wiping down every desk every time a student leaves and a new student comes in. Hands sanitized before they come into school, minimizing the number students, for example, in the main office, in boys’ and girls’ rooms,” Valentino said.
Christopher Keavy is the president of St. John Paul and its sister school, St. Francis Xavier Prep. He said nearly all 465 students are back on campus in their two buildings to start the school year.
“We felt as though maybe 5% of our families would choose the remote option. What happened is virtually no one, only a small handful of students and families, are in the remote model. 98-to-99% of our students are back on campus,” Keavy said.
Related: Back to school: Districts release plans for reopening schools
Part of the new normal for St. John Paul II is also allowing mask breaks. Students can go outside with teachers at the beginning or end of a class to give them a few minutes to take their masks off as long as they’re socially distancing.