GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Central Catholic High School teachers returned to work Monday for two intensive days of training in coronavirus procedures and new technology. Students will start on Wednesday with a regular seven period schedule.
Central Catholic typically has a student population around 160. This year, student capacity is reduced - about 100 students will attend the high school for in person classes.
Anyone who enters the building will have their temperature and symptoms checked.
In order to accommodate all students, Central Catholic staff had to get creative. Class sizes have been reduced, some class sessions have been added and some study halls have been eliminated. To allow for social distancing, stickers have been placed on the floor to make where chairs should be placed.
HEPA filters will exchanges air in each classroom every hour. Masks are required, but students will be able to take them off once seated in the classroom. The school will also provide clean masks for students. Teachers will wear N95 masks and will also be equipped with microphones to help students hear.
“The most vulnerable people in the school are the teachers. They are the most vulnerable to getting sick. If they get sick we are in the worst kind of trouble. We can’t replace what the teachers do in the classroom,” said principal Angel Turoski.
A handful of teens will attend school remotely this year. They will be taught using the same curriculum as in-person students and will attend classes via a live stream. If students are sick or need to stay home, they can still attend class using the live stream. Some elective classes will also be available online.
“I've been in education for 26 years, but nothing prepares you for this kind of change in the way we do business. Nothing. You could be a veteran principal, and I'm on principal groups, and those veterans are feeling the same way I am. Nothing gives you the experience to do this transition with a feeling of confidence,” explained Turoski.
Turoski added that part of the challenge of this year is simply trying to get supplies to the school. Items like sanitation supplies and technology are on backorder because they are in such high demand across the country.