Entire St. Aloysius student body moved to virtual learning beginning Friday

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020

In a letter to parents Thursday evening, officials at St. Aloysius High School announced all students — grades 7 through 12 — will move to virtual learning.

The move was effective Friday.

The move is in response to what the school called an “increased number of St. Aloysius High School students identified as having been exposed to COVID-19.”

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Thursday night, St. Aloysius’ Director of Development and Alumni Affairs Kristi Smith told The Post the number of students, combined with the contact tracing, forced the school’s leadership to make the quick change.

“Five students in the school have tested positive for COVID-19, but because of the close-knit nature of these students, the potential exposure numbers are high. We felt the temporary transition to distance learning was the most cautious and safest measure at this point,” Smith said. “We are very proud to have nearly concluded the fall semester in-person.

“The entire Vicksburg Catholic School family has worked diligently to keep our students in school,” she said. “Having made it to the week before exams should be deemed a success in itself.

Smith said the school plans to return to normal in-person instruction in January. The school said the decision involves only those in grades 7 through 12.

Students at St. Francis Xavier will continue a “normal in-person schedule.”

As for St. Aloysius students, school officials said a plan for semester exams “is being made and will be communicated via (Learning Management System) and email.”

Earlier this week, the school announced that the entire senior class — a total of 36 students — had been quarantined immediately and moved to virtual learning after a number of seniors had reported positive COVID-19 cases. The move was also necessitated after contact tracing had shown a large number of the class had been exposed.

“We want our students, faculty and staff to return to a safe and healthy learning environment, but we need your help in doing so,” the letter to parents read. “We have overcome the obstacles put in our way by COVID-19 before and we will overcome them again.”

Smith said the move to virtual learning, while a disruption, is made easier by the experience the school went through last spring. 

“When we had to transition to distance learning this spring, it was literally an overnight transition for everyone involved. The learning curve was steep for students, faculty and parents,” Smith said. “However, since that time, our faculty and students have trained on the Learning Management System, implementing it into the daily curriculum. Our students can navigate the online system as well as our teachers. Nothing can take the place of in-person instruction but now that that has been interrupted we stand ready.”

In addition to classes moving online, the school also announced it had canceled all of its basketball and soccer games through the end of December. The next basketball games that could be played would be on Jan. 2 at Cathedral in Natchez.

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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