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First day back to in-person learning for Diocese of Grand Rapids

Over 95% of students chose to return to class at West Catholic High School in person.
Posted at 6:41 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 11:24:31-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Wednesday is the first day back to school for students attending Catholic school in the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Faculty at the schools say they’ve been preparing for this moment every day since last March, and it has been an “avalanche of work.”

At West Catholic High School, students have the option to return to class in-person or attend online with live and recorded teaching.

Over 95 percent of students chose to return to class in person at West Catholic.

“We are very firm believers in the human element in education," says West Catholic High School Principal and CEO Cynthia Kneibel.

“It is that relationship building that helps provide safety and security to our students," she adds. "So they understand that they can ask the answer any questions, and I just am thrilled to have the kids back in the classroom.”

For students who are returning to the classroom, they will be required to wear their face masks at all times, aside from when they are eating at lunch.

Classrooms will have a cap of 24 students, as all desks are at least six feet apart.

The school has also added hand sanitizers and new filters to the school ventilation.

Principal Kneibel tells us they even knocked down a wall between two classrooms to make their technology room larger and more adequate for social distancing.

Planning for all of this was done with data and instruction from the Kent County Health Department, the CDC, and the Michigan Safe Start Plan.

The school has done their homework. This week they will be put to the test.

“I can't wait to have the kids in the building. All this planning, all this work,” says Principal Kneibel. "We do it because we love kids. We love teaching kids, and I can't wait to have the students in the building."

“One of the things that COVID has taught us is roll with the punches. Things are gonna change and that's okay.”

West Catholic High School provides their students three meals a day. Meals will now be pre-packaged in a program partnership with the state.