It has been seven months or so that have made life difficult for all of us. Schools are no different. Theirs is a job that is a challenge even during the best of times. But to paraphrase half of Charles Dickens’ most famous line, ‘these have been the worst of times.’
Still, our Catholic schools have pressed on. Very nicely.
“I would say we’re doing pretty darn good, given some of the adversity we’ve faced,” said Tom Smith, the Principal at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown. Many schools have adopted a hybrid model, combining in-person and online learning. McCort, however, has been completely in-person from the start of the school year.
“We worked and worked all summer long and prepared for this school year that we would be in-person,” Smith continued. “We feel that it’s vital to our kids in keeping them on grade level moving forward. We came up with a plan here. Our teachers were one-hundred percent on board. We have teachers doing screenings as students are coming into the building here in the morning and then everybody moves to class.”
Smith says they have about 400 students in the building and only seven chose to go with on-line learning, which they were easily able to accommodate after making a smooth transition from in-person to online learning last March.
McCort has also been able to conduct a full slate of extra-curricular activities as well. But Smith knows that could all change in a hurry.
“We need to have an understanding, and I know the kids understand this…we are day to day, with the way things are in our country regarding the pandemic. We feel very fortunate to actually be playing. Last spring things were cut off abruptly for a lot of the kids and they felt that pain. They remember what that was like so they feel very fortunate to be out on our playing fields and running around on our courts, so we are savoring every minute of it and enjoying every minute of it in the hopes that we can continue to be able to play but we know that any second things could change.”