Updated: September 13, 2020 11:47 PM
Created: September 13, 2020 09:19 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Starting Monday, students at Aquinas Institute are one of the few in the Finger Lakes region that will attend in-person classes five days a week. News10NBC talked to the school's principal, who says this is exactly what students and their parents wanted.
The school, which has a student body of about 720 students, is prepared to be a model for other schools to follow when it comes to in-person learning while following all COVID safety measures and protocols.
While many schools in our region are taking a hybrid or 100-percent remote learning platform, Aquinas Institute is moving forward with full in-person classes for its students. Principal Ted Mancini says he's ready to put months of preparation to work for one reason.
"There's nothing that compares to that contact between teacher, and student," says Mancini. "That opportunity for the rapport that exists when things are in real-time, and the opportunity for there to be real conversation in the classroom."
Mancini says 8-percent of students and their families have opted for remote learning.
"For our distance students, even their day is synchronous in real-time, and in-person with their fellow students who are in the classroom live," said Mancini.
The school did have a soft opening last week testing out their safety protocols. Mancini tells News10NBC the school has been creative with its available space.
"We're using parts of our field house for a cafeteria, and some for learning space. We're using our gymnasium for learning space in a different way than we ever have before," says Mancini.
So far feedback from students have been positive.
"The word that most of the kids used is, it's a little weird, but that they're actually already after a couple days starting to get used to it," says the Principal.
Mancini says the entire school is committed to making this work.
"We’ve created an environment that was designed to keep our teachers safe, and if we're keeping our teachers safe, we know that we're going to be keeping our students safe," says Mancini.
According to the school's website, Monday isn't only the first official week of school. It is also picture day for the students..
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