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Vicksburg Catholic Schools are ready for Monday’s first day of school

The Vicksburg Catholic School faculty and staff are gearing up for the first day of school. After postponing the start of school until Monday, the school reported all of its personal protective equipment has arrived and they are ready to begin.

The school has ordered masks and hand sanitizer and has also taken several extra layers of precaution.

Each teacher and student will also receive a face shield, and the students at St. Francis Xavier Elementary will each be given a sneeze guard for their desk. Sneeze guards are large acrylic screens designed to protect others from exposure. Outside the classrooms, sanitation stations are already set up and ready.

At the start of each day, students will be greeted with a temperature check as they exit their car. Procedures have already been put in place in case a student’s temperature is high.

Students in third through sixth grade normally switch classes once each day, but not this year. This year, teachers will move among classrooms to minimize exposure.

St. Aloysius High School has changed its daily schedule to a block schedule in order to reduce students’ movement between classrooms. They will now have four 100-minute classes each day, which is a change compared to their usual seven 50-minute classes per day.

Director of Development Kristi Smith spoke of how the school has planned a fun first day for all students despite all the changes.

“We wanted to do something positive and to give parents peace of mind that this is still gonna be a happy day,” Smith said.

Overall, Smith expects the students will handle the changes well. She said students are ready to have structure again and to see their friends every day.

“Kids are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for,” Smith said.

Parents have also been a fundamental part of making decisions and preparing for the start of school. Smith said 90 percent of parents responded to a survey saying they support in-person learning. For those who felt the need, the schools also coordinated a virtual-learning option.

New guidelines require desks to be placed a certain distance apart, and with little space in the classrooms, extra furniture filled the hallways. That furniture was moved to storage units with the help of parents who volunteered.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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