By Emily Drooby
Safety was the top priority as the school year kicked off on the morning of September 9 in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Schools performed temperature checks, helped students maintain social distance and had new rules in place. This was all to keep students safe.
“While this is probably the weirdest back-to-school day I have experienced in 28 years of education, it’s probably also the most exciting back to school day too,” said Lynn Alaimo, the principal of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy. The school is located in Bellerose, Queens.
She further added that she’s proud of the hard work her staff did over the summer to ensure the school opened. Parents have also noticed that extra effort.
Melvin Torres has two children at the school. “I commend the school so much,” he said. “They were sent home on Friday and then on Monday, right away kids are online. They are quick to respond, and I commend them for that. And I’m very thankful.”
Schools throughout the diocese are staggering their first days based on grade, so students can get used to new safety rules with fewer people in the building.
Ninety percent of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s 66 Catholic schools and academies are offering 100 percent in person instruction. Ten percent are doing a hybrid model because of capacity.
Over at Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy in Astoria, Queens, the older grades had their orientation. New principal and alumnus, Brother Joseph Rocco has worked in schools for over 20 years.
“I have to say the preparation for this school year, I have never experienced in all those years,” he told Currents News.
The preparation included safe conduct reminders on walls and floors, temperature checks and socially distanced classrooms. Parents will also have to fill out daily health screening questionnaires.
“So far, I was very impressed this morning, everybody had a task and it was done. It was efficient,” said Brother Rocco.
Staff at both schools were proud of the way their first days went.
Many students were thrilled to be back, especially eighth graders like Olivia and Gabrielle Mills, who were afraid they would miss the important milestones that make up their final year.
“Being here since nursery, I want to make the best moments, for the last of it,” said Gabrielle.