Combatting the Coronavirus at SHA

Though significantly lower than the rates mid-April, Connecticut Coronavirus cases begin another slow climb this autumn season. Between the colder climate and increase in less guideline-patrolled events, case growth was bound to happen. Among these factors is also the re-opening of schools nationwide, breeding grounds for germs as students use multiple desks a day and are unable to always attain a six-feet social distance. School districts struggled to formulate reliable plans to combat the spread of this deadly disease as children returned to school in August and September. Sacred Heart Academy stood among those prepared to take on the challenge of back-to-school, with a variety of tentative plans and procedures.

Sacred Heart Academy began the academic year in a cautious way with four half days, one grade coming in each day. This staggered start helped in the transition of the new way of school life as students learned the rules and guidelines put in place by the SHA Reopening team. For the month of September, students could choose whether or not they wanted to come to school in person or utilize the virtual learning option for a four-day school week, Wednesday being a designated study day for students, and deep clean for the school. While the majority of students chose to return to school, several stayed home and learned remotely, via Microsoft Teams software. During this month, in-person students enjoyed some classes outside, taking masks off only at this time. The lunch scene looked quite different this year as well, with a new way to order hot lunch online rather than standing in line, four lunch waves, and a new limit of four people per lunch table. Additionally, there are staggered bell times to limit hallway interaction amongst students.

For a week in October, Sacred Heart Academy decided to try out the hybrid learning system. Students with last names beginning with letters A-L do in-person learning at SHA on Monday and Tuesday, still maintaining school-mandated guidelines as listed above. During these two days, students with last names beginning with M-Z will utilize online learning. Wednesday remains an off, study, and cleaning day. The next two days, Thursday and Friday, the student’s learning platform switches- with A-L last names now doing remote learning, while names M-Z return to SHA.

Although this new form of learning may have interrupted some events at SHA, fall sports (and, presumably, other seasons of athletics) are a go. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Southern Connecticut Conference both agreed for the continuation of practices and contests of fall sports (with the exception of football, which is rumored to have been moved to the early spring). With season extended and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines maintained, SHA girls clutch their opportunities to dominate not only in their studies, but on the field, in the pool, and on the course.

“Learning amid a pandemic has definitely been a different experience, but we have learned to make it work. I do, though, feel safe at SHA.” – Karly Martino, SHA ‘22