When Governor Wolf shut down schools across the country back in March, Catholic schools like Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown were ready.
“Our parents, teachers and students have had to adapt to this new type of learning, on-line and I’m going to be honest with you, they’ve really taken to it,” said Tom Smith, who is the Principal and CAO of Bishop McCort High School and Divine Mercy Middle School. “We’ve put out some tutorials (for parents) that they’ve had to look at and follow along with and they’ve been able to do that in helping their children at home.”
Smith said they key part is the teachers, who he says have been working much longer hours than usual.
“For the teaching staff here, it’s been a major adjustment but one that they’ve been willing to take on and one that they’ve taken great pride in,” Smith said. “It’s how you adapt to things and they’ve done a tremendous job.”
McCort got the jump on things way back in October when they started looking at virtual classrooms in preparation for snow days.
“We didn’t want to take any snow days this year and the state is allowing us to take five virtual days instead of snow days'” Smith said. “We thought that would have been a really great thing for our school…So this is not something new to them but we figured back in January when we saw in the national news what was happening in China and when it started moving this way we thought hey, this would be a great tool. Let’s get ready in case this happens.”
Smith said the school is keeping its options open for graduation, including looking at a drive-in theater for a possible venue.
“We’re trying to think outside the box, using that venue for graduation.”