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St. Peter Claver Catholic School leaders prepare for in-person return and what may come after

Principal Cheryl Hillig says they have all of their safety guidelines and protocols in place for in-person return and if someone shows symptoms after the first day.
Credit: Pepper Baker

MACON, Ga. — St. Peter Claver Catholic School Principal Cheryl Hillig feels confident in their safety plans for when students return to school for the first time since the spring COVID-19 closings.

"What is the best decision knowing that no decision is going to be perfect? You know, and I think it was giving the parents the choice and a lot of praying has gone on," she said.

She says nearly three-quarters of their nearly 180 students will return to in-person instruction.

"49 students will be online and then the rest of the students will be in person," she said.

They have signs around campus with safety reminders. In-person students will be asked to wear masks, but they are not required.

"We're going to be taking everyone's temperature before they get out of the car, so we're sure that everyone is safe to enter the building," Hillig said.

They've set up three-fold Plexiglas shields around each desk. Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms instead of a cafeteria.

"Instead of students moving to different classes, the teachers will move. So they'll stay in their own classroom so that they're kind of just a homogeneous group that don't get in contact," Hillig said.

Limiting students' movement around the building will make contact tracing easier if a case does breakout.

"If someone is starting to show symptoms, that child immediately comes to the office. There's a designated place for them in the office. We call the parent to immediately come and get the child and get the child seen by a physician," Hillig said.

If an employee started showing symptoms, they would make sure they saw a physician the same day as well. Hillig wants to assure parents they'd keep them informed every step of the way.

"The best information that we have at the time is being followed and be flexible enough to change as the situation changes," Hillig said.

Parents made appointments to meet their child's teacher and see how the classrooms are set up ahead of time before the first day of classes on Monday.

Principal Hillig says they did meet with St. Joseph's Catholic School, Mount de Sales and Warner Robins Sacred Heart to discuss back to school plans.