MINNEAPOLIS — More than 26,000 students are enrolled in the catholic school system across the metro and while many public schools are still waiting to hear if they'll re-open, leaders with the catholic school system say they have plans in place to keep kids safe.
"Those students add so much joy to every single day so they are truly missed, yeah," said Dr. Connie Krocak, Principal at Holy Cross Catholic School in Weber.
The decision made by the Archdiocesan School System to resume in-person classes this fall, is being welcomed with open arms.
"We don't have to do as much sorting of space as other schools need to do," said Dr. Krocak.
Catholic schools across the metro closed their doors March 16th following the governor's orders, and leaders have been working ever since to figure out a way to safely bring students back.
They've created a task force that outlined various protocols putting both student and teacher safety first.
"This has been our concern that we wanted to make sure we were able to reopen and invite our children back into that in-person setting where we really believe they learn the best," said Jane Bona, one of five members of the Catholic School Task Force, and Principal at Immaculate Conception School.
With smaller class sizes than the average public school, leaders say social distancing will be practiced, along with sanitizing common areas both in and out of the classroom.
They'll also require masks in the classroom, if it's still recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health.
"The archdiocesan schools, the non public schools are allowed to make their own decisions in terms of reopening," said Bona.
When asked if there were any sort of worries when it comes to the fact that we're seeing surging numbers in other states, Bona said, "that's why I would think it's really important to continue to pay attention to what the experts are telling us, put a really solid plan in place and know that there is that possibility that we can still plan three different avenues to educate our kids."
While it may not be a decision supported by all parents, it's those three different avenues of learning giving parents like Rachel Schwankl peace of mind.
"I think the catholic schools are doing a great job of offering something that can work for everyone to make sure that they're going to be learning period end of story," said Schwankl.
For parents and students who don't feel comfortable with in-class learning, they'll still be able to take advantage of distance learning or a hybrid model providing a combination of in-person learning and distance learning on certain days of the week.
Students in the catholic school system will return to the classroom Tuesday, September 8th.