Mount Carmel School welcomed its students back to campus this week to a hybrid learning approach.
To accommodate over 600 students, MCS launched a hybrid system where only specific classes or “cohorts” are on campus on a given day. Those who are not on campus for face-to-face synchronous learning are participating in asynchronous online course work.
Leading up to the start of face-to-face classes on Sept. 8, 2020, Mount Carmel School worked to exceed the expectations of the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force. The school divided its primary areas of focus on safety and learning.
To ensure that students, employees, and community members are safe on campus, MCS invested in many resources to reconfigure the school appropriately. Throughout the campus are place markers spread out every 6 feet. Areas like the playground and canteen have been shut down to avoid a congregation of students. Throughout the campus are new washbasins to promote good sanitation practices. In each classroom, desks are spread out every 6 feet and, where possible, plexiglass cubicles are attached to each desk. To ensure the circulated air in each classroom is sanitized, MCS also invested in a UVC lighting fixture in each classroom. Lastly, Mount Carmel School revised its handbook to include new policies and procedures regarding the COVID-19 virus. Many of the school’s procedures are guided by the guidelines from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and were adopted in Mount Carmel School’s policies and procedures.
“Our team has worked hard for the past six months to make face-to-face classes possible again for our students,” said MCS president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero. “We understand the importance of reopening face-to-face classes as parents are also returning back to work and can’t be home with their children. More importantly, we understand the expectation to keep all our students safe during this pandemic. I can assure you, we have been committed to going above and beyond to keep everyone safe.”
Mount Carmel School principal Frances Taimanao said, “This experience has been challenging but eye-opening. We have had to approach almost every event or circumstance with a new perspective, but I think this experience has also made us stronger as a school.”
MCS senior John San Nicolas said the first week of face-to-face classes “is a bit challenging to get used to but I’m also happy just being able to see my friends again. …When it comes to online classes, it can be difficult because I’m having to work harder to pay attention and motivate myself to keep up with the course work, but I’m also grateful to be learning again.”
Mount Carmel School’s Parent Council president Tina Crisostimo Tudela said, “So far, the beginning of face-to-face classes are going well. My two sons shared with me that the [6-foot] social distancing is being practiced and the teachers are doing their best to keep them safe in their classrooms. Although afternoon pick-up takes a little longer, both the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up have been smooth. If our community continues to prioritize safety with regards to the pandemic, I truly hope that school’s will be allowed to operate like before, but at this moment, I’m happy with Mount Carmel’s efforts to keep our students safe.” (PR)