In accordance with the ever-changing guidelines set by NYS and Erie County concerning the standards to offer in-person instruction to students, St. Mary’s High School opened its doors to students, faculty, and staff to resume in-person learning on Monday, November 30th.
A mass testing plan was implemented on November 28th and 29th of over 600 students, faculty, and staff members in conjunction with St. Mary’s Elementary School. All students who tested negative were welcomed back to school on Monday, November 30th. Students who opted out of testing or received a positive result were able to switch to the school’s remote learning model for the time being.
St. Mary’s knows the importance of in-person learning and has been as proactive to ensure students can attend school in a safe environment: “We have been closely monitoring the increasing COVID-19 cases in our area over the past several weeks, just like every other school,” said Kevin Kelleher, St. Mary’s Head of School. “We strongly believe that there is no substitution for in-person learning and have been able to provide that to our students since the beginning of the school year due in part to the policies we have put into place.” He continued to say that, “the proof that our safe practices are working can be seen in the testing results. After testing the entire population, we had a less than a 2% positivity rate.”
Providing a safe environment is just one piece of the puzzle, as Kelleher went on to say, “…Our faculty has been leading the charge to support best practices amongst our students. Realizing that for various reasons some families may not feel comfortable with in-person learning, our faculty has been very accommodating, and we currently have every class available online in real-time. This way, students who are learning remotely can maintain their individual schedules.” Mr. Kelleher also stated that “the second piece of the puzzle has been the support we have received from our families. They make sure our students continue safe practices while away from the school, which has been a great help to all of us.” Mr. Kelleher closed by stating that “Going forward, St. Mary’s High School will continue our best practices, we will continue to test, and most importantly, we will continue to provide in-person learning in accordance with the guidelines provided.“