Saint John’s Catholic Prep announces hybrid learning model for fall reopening

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FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — After two months of planning, Saint John’s Catholic Prep has outlined plans to reopen classrooms in the fall with a hybrid learning model. 

“You don’t lose that first day of school butterflies,” explained Principal Will Knotek, “I can imagine they’re going to be even greater this time around.”

Recently, Knotek and President Dr. Thomas Powell released the reopening plan for the private high school developed by a task force of administrators, teachers, consultants and one student parent. 

“There are many students who really did struggle with the home instruction. We feel that students learn best when they’re here in school. Unfortunately, given this situation, we can’t bring them back all at once,” Knotek said. 

The school’s nearly 300 students will be divided into two cohorts and learn in the classroom on alternating days. 

Desks will be spaced apart for no more than eight to 10 students.

“I’ll have students with me in person but we’ll also be able to look at a screen and not only I, but the students, will be able to see their classmates at home,” Knotek explained inside a classroom with a newly installed monitor and camera, “Essentially,[students will] be able to hear, they’ll be able to see and they’ll even be able to have a class discussion.”

The plan outlines that Fridays will be reserved for online learning. Occasionally, an entire grade of students will meet for special instruction, like college preparedness or class bonding. 

Under the reopening plan, additional staff members will be stationed at the school entrance to ensure arriving students and staff are wearing a face masks. Facial masks will be required throughout the day, unless during lunch hours. 

Coaches are hopeful to resume high school athletics.

Faculty is awaiting guidance from the Maryland Independent Athletic Association and the Independent Athletic Association of Maryland. 

So far, the school does plan to hold practices with precautions.

“Right now during our voluntary summer workouts, there is not one-versus-one contact. It is all skill work. Coaches are keeping kids socially distant,” explained head girls lacrosse coach, Kara Phoubandit. 

Parents who wish to have their child opt out of in-school learning is able to do so.

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